During World War II, raw materials were in short supply. Wool was needed for military uniforms and a shortage of rubber led to the near disappearance of athletic shoes. Silk stockings vanished, as silk fiber was needed in the production of parachutes. Additionally, factories which had produced civilian clothing were reconfigured to produce items needed in the war effort. In order to regulate the remaining production of civilian garments, the United States government implemented the L-85 regulations in 1942. L-85 dictated the styling of garments with an eye to conserving materials and production time. Skirt length, hem width and types of trim were strictly regulated, as were the cuffs and pockets of menswear. Home-sewn clothing was exempt from these regulations, but all were encouraged to "make do and mend."
In addition to the actual conservation of materials, L-85 regulations provided a constant visual reminder of the necessity of total participation in the war effort. The production of propaganda textiles featuring slogans and imagery relating to the war allowed civilians to support the war effort in yet another way. Interestingly, these textiles were not produced by governments, but by independent manufacturers. In the United States and Britain, propaganda textiles featured familiar slogans such as "V for Victory" and "Keep it Under Your Hat," a reminder that casual conversations could inadvertently reveal confidential information. Other designs featured brightly colored patterns of red, white and blue, the colors of the Allied flags. The FIDM Museum propaganda textile dress seen below features a red, white and blue pattern with the slogan "There'll Always be an England," after a patriotic 1939 song.