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?
Civilian women in the US (and elsewhere, of course) volunteered to make clothes (hospital gowns, socks, etc) for the Red Cross and formed knitting and sewing circles for this purpose. Patterns and yarn could be purchased but were usually issued by the Red Cross. The detailed instructions were probably because the finished products had to meet the requirements of the US Army and Navy's medical service and too many donated garments were being rejected.
"No Idle Hands" by Anne McDonald is a history of knitting, but it has a lot of information about WWI Red Cross activities.
I know the Red Cross has a national museum which holds some materials about these efforts. I'd love to know if any of the local chapters still have such materials in their archives.
I have quite a few of the American Red Cross knitting pamphlets from both World wars, as well as a mimeograph sheet and the associated envelope from the Memphis Chapter of the ARC for knitting socks that was issued by the ARC in 1931, so it looks as though these volunteer efforts weren't restricted to just the war years. Somebody has written on the envelope "Socks - grand instructions" and this is true; it's a very nice plain sock pattern, clearly written out.
hi just searching around your blog very interesting. my grandmother (born in the 1890's) and her friends started making things for the red cross during WW1 I don't know if they stopped between wars but during WW2 and until they became to old in the 1980's they sewed and knitted for the red cross EVERY DAY the red cross provided the materials and patterns, they knitted socks until 1979 when the army changed to machine socks, cushions and clowns sewn out of silks, layettes for babies that were abandoned or very poor; they were inspirational always making something for others.
"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."
Comfort and durability.
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