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  • Writer's pictureLonda

WW2 Museum Textiles/Clothing

The WW2 Museum here in New Orleans is not to be missed!

Following up on my posts of a few weeks ago, here are some REAL garments and relics from WW2 interesting to us sewers.

This jumpsuit is an example of what women wore to work in the ordnance plants.  ‘Ordnance’ was a new word to me, so in case it is to you as well, here is a definition:  ord·nance (ôrd′nəns) n. 1. Military material, such as weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles, and equipment. 2. The branch of an armed force that procures ...

What I find interesting here is the hidden front button closing, but also the buttons at the pockets (see red, lower left). I guess a covering over buttons helps them not catch on anything – perhaps for safety?


 ‘Sweetheart Souvenirs’

I have a precious heart locket of my mom’s that has her and Daddy’s pictures in them that she told me she wore while he was gone to the war.  I figured out that the war began when they were 16 years old.

Eisenhower ‘IKE’ Service Dress Jacket

The description says the original was tailored in Italy.  Check out the waist finish.  There were also ones with a longer torso.  Just the design and actual stitching of all the uniforms worn in WW2 boggles my mind.  I do know – and could see – that the majority were wool, which repels dirt.

Now I know what the jacket of Daddy’s that I’ve kept is called.  His jacket fit me  – around the waist – at least the last time I tried it on.  I can’t decide if I want to cut into it to create something I WOULD wear – or not.  What do you think?

Here is one of the longer versions of the Eisenhower Jacket.  I notice that the breast cargo pockets are longer and a difference in the closure mechanism of the waist.  Just like on the women’s jumpsuit:  hidden front button closing.


Leather Flight Jacket.

We learned that it could be as cold as 30 degrees below zero up in those flighter planes.  They also wore similar leather pants.


German Winter Uniform

I find it interesting that it was lined with wool and SILK.  Smart Germans.  (I am all German myself, and found it interesting that Eisenhower is also a German name – background.)


Sewing Kits

Kits for sewing/mending were necessities as well. Here is one that a soldier carried. 

Victory Quilt

V for Victory Quilt

I was struck and inspired regarding the huge turn of sentiment regarding the involvement of the U.S. in the world war.  It was becoming progressively stronger in support but then when Pearl Harbor was attacked, the country TRULY BOUND TOGETHER to put everything into winning the war.  Above is an example of a V for Victory quilt.  The cause was more important than the individual’s own personal desires.

My Thoughts

I fear – to the depth of my being – that when (and I do truly believe it is ‘when’, not ‘if’) troubled times like these come to our country – our world in such a manner again, that we have become too ‘soft’, too self-involved to rise to the level of dedication that my parents and their generation did in this war.  It absolutely AMAZES both my husband and I did not receive hardly ANY education regarding World Wars in our education.  I have my B.S. and he has his M.B.A.  World War 2 was part and parcel of our parent’s lives.  Perhaps it was just too awful for them to talk about.  It was hard for me to get my Dad to talk much about it at all – and the same for my husband’s father.  My Dad played the saxophone in an officer’s dance band, and was a typist in hospital admitting.  I know he was in Africa – Morocco, I believe.  My husband’s father was in surveying – but he’s not even sure what country.  This is truly, truly sad.  I kept doing the math on the dates as we watched things at the museum to discern how old my parents were at those events.  But – again to our absolute lack of education about these days – what a failure of the ‘system’!!!

And…I kept thinking, what if all that had happened when I was that age?  My husband escaped the Vietnam experience only because he could pop his shoulder out of place, because he had draft number of 63.  THAT, I remember sitting and watching on TV.

My prayer is that we can all start to be less self-involved, and more other-involved so that we don’t fall away from God and everything that is true and right and good.  That we don’t have to go through the hell that this war was in order to pull us back.Alas, I fear this is what is coming.  I hope I am wrong………

I have promised myself that I will do all I can to help my grandchildren understand WW2 at a much younger age than I have come to understand and learn about it.    The WW2 Museum here in New Orleans is a national treasure, and one I highly highy recommend.  I do hope you can make it a point to come and visit.   We spent half a day, but knew when we paid that we’d be back, so paid the additional $6 each for a 2nd day – which I HIGHLY recommend.  Tomorrow is Sunday, and our ‘worship’ will be in part going back to the museum to complete our visit and to honor the amazing part our country did to bring the world back to peace.

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