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Everyday Life - Why did people have to make do and mend? Main page

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The war caused a shortage of clothes and high prices for those that could be found in the shops. It was no longer possible to get supplies of clothes from abroad, and clothes manufacturers in Britain had to make things needed for the war such as uniforms and parachutes.

Clothes rationing was introduced in May 1941. This made sure that everyone had a fair share of what was available. Everybody was given a ration book with 66 clothing coupons that had to last for a year. Each item of clothing that was rationed was worth a certain number of coupons, for example one dress was worth eleven coupons. People still had to pay for clothes, but they had to hand over the right number of coupons each time they bought something.

The 'Make do and Mend' campaign was introduced by the government to encourage people to get as much wear as possible out of the clothes they already had. Posters and information leaflets gave people advice and ideas about how to do this. Evening classes were set up to teach people how to make new clothes out of bits of worn out old ones, rather than throw them away.

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