Saturday, 23 December 2017

Women’s Land Army shirt


Haberdasheries: 9 white plastic buttons and 1.5 m white cotton twill tape

Here’s another addition to my WLA uniform in the making – the shirt. This was worn with the breeches and often the tie and wool sweater:

A Women’s Land Army girl wearing the uniform shirt, tie, sweater and hat
These shirts were fawn-coloured, made of cotton, and had the pointy collars also typical of men’s shirts of the period, but unlike most modern ‘reproduction’ WLA shirts, they had the female style closure. Here are two examples of these shirts:

WLAblouse, Imperial War Museum
WLA shirt used 1942-50, Museum of East Anglian Life
I definitely wanted a female closure, so I couldn’t buy a reproduction shirt. The originals are hard to come by, but I found that contemporary ladies’ British Army shirts are the correct colour and still have rather pointy collars, as well as the same collar stitching. So I bought one on eBay and customised it to look as much like an original WLA shirt as possible!
 

The contemporary shirt came with epaulets and breast pockets, which the originals did not seem to have, so I removed those. I also removed the semi-transparent buttons and replaced them by opaque white plastic buttons with four holes, like those on the originals shirts I studied.

The IWM shirt has a “length of white tape, enabling the garment to be tightened for comfort around the body and into a bow”. I decided to do this as well, because, although I hardly think tying a tape around the waist adds comfort, it probably makes it easier to neatly tuck the shirt into the breeches.

Et voilà, my WLA shirt!



You can find more photos of the land girls on my WLA Pinterest board!

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