USO lounges often had a ‘mending’ corner, where soldiers could get a button sewn back onto their uniforms, or a tear in the fabric mended. Though it was quite common in earlier wars for men to have these minor sewing skills themselves, with the rise of “ready to wear” clothing in the 1920s, sewing skills declined in regular households even among women. During the war, women were enticed and encouraged through ads and booklets such as the one here to save fabric, make their own clothes, and mend the ones they already owned. At the USO lounges, volunteers would sit at these mending corners, ready to help the men who needed it.
Doing this sewing was “doing your part” for the war, and a way to feel patriotic and helpful on the home front. In 1942, the War Production Board rationed all natural fibers because every resource was needed for supplies and military uniforms. Due to this, styles suddenly changed, as color choices became limited, and skirts and pants became less full. Dresses for women were limited to 1 and 3/4 yards of fabric, and men’s trouser cuffs were prohibited. Hemlines rose for ladies and most men opted for single breasted, non-pleated suits, if they could find them at all.
“Sewing for victory” in the United States only lasted through the end of the war, and many women stopped sewing as the fighting ended and the boys returned home.