Toddler’s Hooded Siren Suit

1940s Toddler's Hooded Siren Suit pattern Weldons 33
Weldons 33 (ca. 1940) Toddler’s hooded siren suit.

From Weldons’ wartime So-Easy line, an air raid suit for toddlers. One child appears to be carrying a gas mask case.

Other siren suit patterns were available for children, girls, and women, plus a “ten-second” siren wrap.

More on Weldons’ So-Easy patterns: There’s a War On | What to Wear in an Emergency

What to Wear in an Emergency

Weldons So-Easy 20 hooded wrap housecoat detail
Detail, Weldons So-Easy 20 (ca. 1940).

From Weldons’ 1940s So-Easy line, this “Ten-Second” Siren Wrap features a cozy hood and chic contrast binding:

Ten-second siren wrap dressing gown pattern - Weldons So-Easy 20, circa 1940. A Weldon Production.
Weldons So-Easy 20 (ca. 1940) Siren wrap.

Other So-Easy air raid patterns included a women’s two-way siren suit (no. 19), child’s hooded siren suit (no. 17), and girl’s hooded siren suit (no. 18).

Back of Weldons So-Easy 20, showing other 1940s designs in the So-Easy pattern range
Back of Weldons So-Easy 20, showing other designs in the So-Easy pattern range.

The pattern tissue is printed with an advertisement for Dewhurst’s Sylko machine twist.

Weldons So-Easy 20 pattern tissue advertising Dewhurst's Sylko machine twist
Weldons So-Easy 20 pattern tissue advertising Dewhurst’s Sylko machine twist.

For knitters, Weldons also had a special knitting book called Quick-Change Siren Woollies (click to view an Etsy download):

Weldon Knitting no. 29 1940: Quick-Change Siren Woollies - 14 garments including jackets, pullovers, children's siren suits, mittens, shawls, socks, etc.
Quick-Change Siren Woollies – Weldon Knitting no. 29 (Nov. 1940) Image: Etsy.

For more on Weldons’ wartime So-Easy patterns, see There’s a War On.

Rosie the Riveter, 1942

Rosie the Riveter on the cover of McCall's magazine, September 1942
McCall’s magazine, September 1942. Image: Envisioning the American Dream.

During World War 2, women engaged in wartime work could choose from a variety of sewing patterns for work wear. The array of coveralls available included the mechanic suit, a close cousin to the siren suit or air raid suit (see my earlier post here). This 1942 pattern from Simplicity shows a khaki version paired with a garrison cap:

1940s WW2 military coverall pattern - Simplicity 4104 (1942)
Simplicity 4104 (1942) Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

(You can see a contemporary photo of View 1 at Unsung Sewing Patterns.)

Happy Labour Day, everyone!

There’s a War On: Weldons So-Easy Patterns

Bomb with lipstick kiss in Bomb Girls' munitions factory - Jumping Tracks

Bomb Girls is back. For me, much of the show’s interest lies in its portrayal of women’s wartime fashions, both on and off the factory floor. One line of sewing patterns that I associate specifically with the Second World War is Weldons So-Easy patterns.

1940s English coat pattern - Weldon's So-Easy 34
Weldons So-Easy 34 (c. 1940) Two smart coats. Image: Vera Venus.

Founded in 1879, Weldon’s was England’s first major pattern company. The So-Easy line seems to have been introduced during World War 2. Weldons So-Easy patterns included a range of designs, from day wear to toys; the earlier women’s So-Easy designs tended to be available in only three sizes. Update: At least one was plus-sized: So-Easy 35 is a pattern for “Outsize Slip and Knicker Sets.”

So-Easy patterns don’t bear copyright dates, but some include the war rationing notice, “Professional dressmakers are reminded that they must comply with the Making of Civilian Clothing (Restriction) Orders.” These measures were passed in 1942-43. (For the text and discussion see Cargo Cult Craft’s posts.) According to U.K. vintage dealer Tracy of Wickedlady Collectables, Weldons did not promote So-Easy patterns in their magazine, but the mention of purchase tax, introduced in late 1940, can also help with dating.

One thing that distinguishes wartime So-Easy patterns is their pinup-style illustrations straight out of Mrs Henderson Presents. Here is a selection of World War 2 Weldons So-Easy patterns, with an emphasis on lingerie.

This ‘Pretty Undies’ set includes a brassiere, full slip, and knickers with pointed yoke:

1940s British lingerie pattern, Weldons So-Easy 50
Weldons So-Easy 50 (c. 1942) Pretty undies. Image: Vintage British Style.

These ‘Slim Line Undies’—a full slip and knickers—are held in the National Trust Collections:

1940s British lingerie pattern for slips and knickers, Weldons So-Easy 64
Weldons So-Easy 64 (c. 1942) Slim-line undies. Image: eBay.

These ‘Simple Undies’ include a nightgown and slip with seam interest:

Weldons So-Easy 72 (c. 1942) Simple undies
Weldons So-Easy 72 (c. 1942) Simple undies. Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

This pattern includes a bra and knickers in two styles, French and Directoire (bloomers), the last with interesting details:

Weldons So-Easy 85
Weldons So-Easy 85 (c. 1942) Brassière and two knickers.

This two-piece bathing suit with skirt was available in four sizes:

Weldons So-Easy 154
Weldons So-Easy 154 (c. 1943) Two-piece bathing suit and skirt. Image: eBay.

My personal favourite must be the Two-Way Siren Suit, an air raid coverall with options for a hood and gathered ankles:

1940s English siren suit pattern - Weldons So-Easy 19
Weldons So-Easy 19 (c. 1940) Two-way siren suit. Image: Vintage Patterns Wiki.

For fans of Bomb Girls, which films in the Toronto area, it’s possible to visit some of the locations for the show. Victory Munitions and other sets were built in an old furniture factory in Etobicoke, while street scenes were shot in Hamilton. The Witham mansion is Oshawa’s Parkwood estate, the former home of General Motors founder R.S. McLaughlin.

(Read an interview with the cinematographer here; download production notes here.)