The 1941 clothing ration was 66 coupons, which had to cover everything: underwear, stockings, socks, hats, shoes, skirts, jackets, shirts, trousers, coats, knitting yarn, etc. The idea behind the ration was that it would enable everyone to buy one new complete outfit per year, nothing more, nothing less. Second hand items were exempt.
Government announcement in the Times, June 3, 1941
In larger print:
|Item Of Clothing||Women||Girls|
|Lined mackintosh or coat over 28"||14||11|
|Under 28" short coat or jacket||11||8|
|Frock, gown or dress of wool||11||8|
|Frock, gown or dress of other fabric||7||5|
|Bodice with girls skirt or gym tunic||8||6|
|Divided skirt or skirt||7||5|
|Dungarees or overalls||6||4|
|Blouse, shirt, sports top, cardigan or jumper||5||3|
|Pair of slippers, boots or shoes||5||3|
|Other under garments including corsets||3||2|
|Petticoat or slip, cami knickers or combinations||4||3|
|Apron or pinafore||3||2|
|Scarf, gloves, mittens or muff||2||2|
|Stockings per pair||2||1|
|Ankle socks per pair||1||1|
|1 yard wool cloth 36"wide||3||3|
|2 ounces of wool knitting yarn||1||1|
Assumptions for the challenge:-
- 1 metre of fabric equals 1 yard. No penalty for width.
- 2 ounces of wool knitting yarn equals 50g of any knitting yarn.
- Based on the quantity of fabic and work involved, a "corset" is the equivalent of two bras.
- Ditto one pair of Cami-knickers would equal two pairs of modern bikini-style knickers or thongs.
- Bodice with skirt = shirt/blouse/t-shirt purchased at the same time as a matching or co-ordinating skirt or trousers = 8 coupons.
- Dungarees = jeans = 6 coupons.
- Divided skirt = trousers = 7 coupons.
Examining my wardrobe-crystal-ball for 2013, I know that I'll need to acquire at least the following:-
- Underwear. At 4 coupons a pair of cami-knickers, new underwear will be very expensive. However, I will argue that one pair of 1940's cami-knickers uses the same fabric as two pairs of modern bikini-style knickers, giving the equivalency of 2 coupons per pair of knickers. So, lets say I'll buy 5 new pairs at a cost of 10 coupons.
- A navy blue suit. Currently, this is the one thing my work-wardrobe is missing. The question is: do I make or do I buy? I reckon I could make an entire suit: jacket, trousers and skirt with 5 metres of woollen cloth and 3 metres of lining fabric, if I line it. Purchased is 25 coupons while home-made is 24 coupons. Of course, if I find one in a charity shop, that will be coupons saved.
- New loafers. I get through a pair a year so that's 5 coupons gone.
- Ditto another pair of trainers. Another 5 coupons spent.