Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Official American Red Cross Pattern No. 35 - Taped Hospital Bed Shirt

World War I.  The statement that this pattern supersedes all others previously issued means I'm going to try to find one of these previously issued patterns.

The instructions on the back of the envelope are more detailed than is usual for this period, and detail how to make flat fell seams.  They also instruct that the hems are to be folded to and sewn on the outside.  I wonder why this is.

I'm curious to know how the process of home sewing for the Red Cross worked during WWI.  Did one purchase the pattern from the Red Cross, or did stores carry them?  Were there special prices on the fabric?  Did the maker sew on the Red Cross Emblem, or did Red Cross volunteers do this?  Were the shirts quality checked and bundled by the local Red Cross chapters?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

McCall 3347 - Ladies' House Dress

1923.  The 1921 patent date may be for the layout or the instructions. This is a nice house dress pattern. The waist line has dropped but the lines aren't as severe as they'll become in another year or so.

The artist seems to be a bit vague on how to draw a chicken - at least, I think that's what is supposed to be on the platter.  If so, that invests the illustration with some additional meaning.  "A chicken in every pot" would become part of a campaign slogan for Herbert Hoover in 1928.  So in this case we can read the chicken as a mark of prosperity.  A prosperous housewife dresses nicely in a housedress she's made from a McCall pattern, and she is able to serve her family a chicken.

McCall patterns at this period offer wonderful details. This is before separate instruction sheets, so they take advantage of the pattern pieces themselves.