Girl's Party Dress thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Girl's Party Dress

1944 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

No Sleep for Mother, or How Jane Got her Party Dress

One day in 1944 Jane received a surprise invitation to a party. She was only four years old, and very much wanted to go to it – parties happened very seldom because of the war – but she had grown a lot recently and her party dress was too small for her. Her mother, Elizabeth, couldn’t buy her a new one, or even enough fabric to make one, because she would have to pay for it with coupons as well as money. This was the wartime rationing scheme: each person had only a limited number of coupons, and the family had none left at that time. But Elizabeth had thought of an idea, although by now it was the night before the party. When Jane had gone to bed, she got out her sewing things and every scrap of spare fabric she could find in the house. She sat up all night cutting and stitching, and in the morning, there was Jane’s new party dress – cleverly made out of all the different pieces stitched together into patchwork.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Girl's Dress
  • Party Dress
  • Photograph
  • Photograph
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Girl's patchwork party dress, with two photographs of her; UK, 1944
Physical Description
Patchwork of silks and cottons of a variety of colours
Dimensions
  • Height: 810mm (Note: Measured flat)
  • Width: 650mm (Note: Measured flat)
  • Depth: 110mm (Note: Measured flat)
Object history
Made for Mhairi Elizabeth Jane Irving Draper, known as Jane (b. 1940) by her mother Elizabeth
Summary
No Sleep for Mother, or How Jane Got her Party Dress



One day in 1944 Jane received a surprise invitation to a party. She was only four years old, and very much wanted to go to it – parties happened very seldom because of the war – but she had grown a lot recently and her party dress was too small for her. Her mother, Elizabeth, couldn’t buy her a new one, or even enough fabric to make one, because she would have to pay for it with coupons as well as money. This was the wartime rationing scheme: each person had only a limited number of coupons, and the family had none left at that time. But Elizabeth had thought of an idea, although by now it was the night before the party. When Jane had gone to bed, she got out her sewing things and every scrap of spare fabric she could find in the house. She sat up all night cutting and stitching, and in the morning, there was Jane’s new party dress – cleverly made out of all the different pieces stitched together into patchwork.

Collection
Accession Number
MISC.265-1983

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record createdApril 26, 2004
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