Restoring a jewel: Local business mends dress of iconic WWII-era pin-up model

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Pin-up artist Rolf Armstrong and Jewel Flowers, who became popular as a pin-up model in the World War II era. (Submitted photo)

Pin-up artist Rolf Armstrong and Jewel Flowers, who became popular as a pin-up model in the World War II era. (Submitted photo)

A piece of American history is being restored to its former glory. Treasured Garment Restoration, a part of St. Croix Cleaners in Oak Park Heights, provides vintage clothing restoration, and specialist Kathryn Clobes is currently mending and making alternations on a 1940s pin-up dress worn by the American pin-up model, Jewel Flowers.

Flowers’ 20-year pin-up modeling career began in 1940 when she became a model for artist Rolf Armstrong and appeared in calendar art. She became a fixture of trench art for World War II servicemen.

Flowers’ image was the basis of many pin-ups drawn on the noses of bomber planes and on tank turrets, embodying the American soldier spirit of “what we are fighting for.”

Clobes said Flowers became so well known during the war that a serviceman’s letter addressed simply as “Jewel Flowers, New York City” would make its way to Flowers’ fanmail.

Treasured Garment Restoration received the dress from the estate of the late Mike Wooldridge, who was an author and lifetime collector of pin-up art. He co-authored two books, “Pin-Up Dreams,” which was number one on the New York Times Best Seller List for nonfiction, and “The Glamour Girl: A Collector’s Guide to Rolf Armstrong.”

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