Shelf Appeal would have been a make do and mender in the Second World War. I like a challenge – make a skirt out of a trouser, a dress out of a parachute. I also like darning and mending things. But mainly because the make do and mend leaflets and campaigns were great. And the illustrations in them were, too.
The rather surprised looking lady here is Mrs Sew and Sew, queen of make do and mend. She was strewn across countless wartime leaflets detailing what you could do with a needle and thread to help the war effort.
According to Advertiser’s Weekly, 4th April 1944 Mrs Sew and Sew was an invention of our old friends, advertising agency W.S.Crawford, Ltd:
“Mrs Sew-and-Sew is a pleasant figure, rather like a ventriloquist’s dummy, with a cherubic smile. A wooden figure of her will be placed at the door of advice centres, inviting people to come in, and she will also appear in window displays and exhibitions. Copy for the first advert describes her as a ‘designing woman’.
Not only was she a star of paper and window but I found a film of her, made by war time animators extraordinaire Halas and Batchelor for the Ministry of Information, in November 1944. It is a plummy voice-overed joy to behold.
And here is the cleverly patched overall in all it’s spotted utilitarian glory.