Housedress, Utility Scheme

Housedress, Utility Scheme

Housedress
Utility Scheme
1942
London
Printed cotton
Museum no. T.55-1979
Given by Miss Pennie Smith

In 1942, the British Government established the Utility Scheme to ration materials and regulate the production of civilian clothing during the war.  Utility Scheme clothes bear a printed stamp reading 'CC41', an abbreviation of the Civilian Clothing Act of 1941.

This overall, or housedress, was designed to Utility standards. It has no more than two pockets, five buttons, six seams, 160 inches of stitching and no superfluous decoration. It is made of a floral printed fabric, an area of textile production in which Britain has long excelled.  It is typical of the 1940s, when shoulder pads and full puffed sleeves were fashionable.  Skirts were typically narrow, giving dresses a rather top-heavy look.