1944 Handmade Handbags

Collectin' The 1940's

In 1944 Fashion designers knew that the influence of Glitzy Hollywood Stars draped in Furs and Diamonds was over. The days of 'Fur and Jeweled Accessories' was no longer appropriate, and to be seen carrying an expensive bag said volumes about one's support of the War Effort. 

Leather and metal were on the list of products for Military use only.  Materials for clothing and accessories had to utilize sturdier fabrics, such as tweeds, canvas and natural materials such as straw and gimp.  Wood and plastic replaced metal giving rise to  'Make Do and Mend'.

Ever resilent, women of the 1940's who not only 'Made Do and Mended',  reinvented their Pioneer Ancestors Spirit of  'It's Handmade, Honey'.   Home dressmakers, knitters, crocheters and other needle crafters took to their sewing machines and needles and Women's Magazines for patterns and inspiration.

From my Collection of Vintage Pattern Magazines comes the Jack Frost Instruction Booklet of Crocheted Handbags.  This company also produced pattern booklets for knitting with patterns just for men's sweaters, or just for women's sweaters, and just for children's sweaters.  The Handbag booklet cost 20 cents in 1940 and included 20 pages of stylish, glamourous models and patterns for handbags made from materials available to the Handcrafter in 1944.  I added it to my collection in 2004 for $2.75.  As collectors items on ebay, they range from $3.99 to $25.00 in todays market.

As Collectables, these Booklets are sought after as much for the Fashion Trends in clothing, hats and bags as for the patterns.  Even more collectable are the Glamour Photographs of the models showing hairstyles, makeup trends and stylish clothing and accessories. 

I'm thinking it is time to bring back the 1940's Easter Fashion Parade and
Crochet 'Straw Bag No. 4807'.
Instead of Jack Frost Straw which came in 2 oz. tubes in 1940, 
I'm going to use a Cotton Yarn and a larger crochet hook.

[click on pattern to enlarge]

1944 Handmade Handbags written in support of the
1940 US Census Community Project


  1. Dear Sue, Nice to visit you after all this time. Love the 1944 pictures. I am back on limited basis and have some boards on Pinterest. Please come and see me.

    Goat Lady

  2. Sue, I want to thank you for helping with the 1940 census, when it becomes available on 4/2/2012. I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Church has put out a call for 93,000 members to help with the census. I'm so happy a lot of people are responding with help for this project. Whatever the LDS church gets done, we get free access to it. So thank you, sugar! Also, if you have one of our Family History Centers near you, you can go there for help and access Ancestry.com free from their computers.

  3. Lovely bags. I bet my grandmother could've made those. My daddy was born in 1940.

  4. Those are some cool purses. I would use them. I think it's funny how the models are posing. Boy have things changed.~Ames

  5. I love these vintage pictures of women, Sue. These women look so glamourous and elegant, and I really like the era of the 40's. The purses are so unique and pretty. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  6. Hey girl ! I have some of the Jack Frost booklets and just love them. Not that I can DO any of it :)) looking forward to seeing your new purse !

  7. Ladylike - that's the word that came to me as I looked at the models. Not a bit of the trashy look that is so au courant now for selling anything.


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