Last weekend, we joined the rest of the country as doors on secret histories were flung open for Heritage Open Weekend! Of course, at Stardust Years Vintage we like to think that every day is a Heritage Open Day but, especially for the weekend, we focussed on the 1940s with a Make Do & Mend theme. Historical costumier, Helen McArdle, joined us with demonstrations and tips on how to save your precious garments. I have to confess, at times, I felt a little left out as visitors to the shop swapped stories of “Model 102” and the tensions of different machines but it was lovely to hear so many people say “You inspired me to get out my sewing machine” I even tinkered with buying one, myself, even though I still suffer nightmares of my needlework teachers shouting at me for tacking in my zip the wrong way (they each had a different approach and I was piggy in the middle!) Now, I even face the prospect of putting on a button with trepidation!
on both days,we had some special nibbles on offer – Gary had baked carrot scones and almond biscuits to 1940s’ wartime recipes. In honour of Poochy, our housebunny, he baked the biscuits in the shape of a rabbit. (I think some visitors thought it was a reference to the old song, “Run, Rabbit, Run!”).
Around the shop, we included information about everyday fashions of the time, Utility Clothing and the restrictions placed on the industry – and the public – due to the war. Helen brought along a copy of the “Make Do and Mend” pamphlet, issued by the Ministry of Information, 1943 and I included a few quotes here and there.
I also found Jonathan Walford’s book, “Forties Fashion – From Siren Suits To The New Look” (Thames & Hudson) really helpful and a fascinating read. I borrowed it from Winchester Library; heavy hints have already been made to Gary regarding Christmas!
We’re already plotting for next year’s event. Hope you’ll be able to join us! In the meantime, a huge thanks to Nicky and Becky who organised Winchester’s Heritage Open Weekend. Big thanks, too, must go to Helen who was brilliant all weekend – and managed to fit in some lovely repairs to my own vintage wardrobe! Finally, of course, thanks to all the lovely visitors who not only discovered Stardust Years but also caught a glimpse into just some of the social history of the 1940s and brought their own knowledge and memories to our Heritage Open Days’ event.