pass it on

Is it raining where you are? It certainly is lashing it down here. It’s the sort of day where I like to say to myself

‘Rain, rain, here to stay, it must be a knitting day.’

Well, there was a little bit of knitting today, but more tinking*, really. I’ve also been delving into lots of online archives, finding out the catalogue numbers of exciting objects and papers to go and look at up in London as part of my book research.

One of the most interesting was the V&A‘s newly revamped online catalogue. As well as looking for knitting patterns in the National Art Library (which is housed there), I took a mosey around their own archives. The Utility Wear collection was eye-candy for the 20th century textile historian, and of course, now I feel that I must have a modern-day equivalent one of these beautiful red wool coats.

Designed for the autumn of 1942 by couturier, Digby Morton, it features the Utility mark ‘CC41’, standing for Civilian Clothing 1941. The Utility scheme designers worked with government rulings for saving materials that included no turn-ups for men’s trousers, using plastic buttons and omitting pockets unless absolutely necessary. Utility clothes were affordable and given the designers commissioned, were also well proportioned and made in good quality materials.

Having expounded on Twitter about the delights of the red coat, the lovely Mim, or as you might know her alias, Crinoline Robot, pointed me in the direction of this! It’s the Waiting at the Station Coat from Puttin on the Ritz which is absolutely gorgeous. Although it doesn’t come in the red of the original, there is a gorgeous olive twill.

Of course, I would be wearing my coat, waiting at the station whilst reading my copy of  ‘Good Evening, Mrs Craven‘  from the publishers, Persephone Books, a company that I discoved this past week, thanks to @AspidistraBlues whilst searching in for a copy of ‘The Provincial Lady in Wartime’ by E. M. Delafield.

Ah, wartime novels. Do you have any you’d recommend?

*’to tink’ is to knit backwards, or undo what went wrong. Get it?
Pass It On: The Utility Coat edition
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