Saturday, 16 August 2014

Sewing and Knitting for the Soldiers


Many local ladies have now got well to work in the making of garments for soldiers, and in other cases provision is being made for “sewing meetings” twice or thrice a week with the same object in view.  The correct patterns should be ascertained before any work is begun.  It is also necessary that too many of one particular style of garment should not be made.  In some places there is a scheme under which all garments are being cut out at one central depot, so that it is possible to regulate the exact number of garments produced, and to see that they are not only correct in shape but in quantity.

It is said that our soldiers have been sent out well provided with helmets, so, though more will be wanted later on, the advice to all the good knitters is to turn their attention to socks for the time being.  Hand-knitted hosiery lasts much better than that which is machine made.  At the same time, those who are equally good with the needle will do well to devote the chief part of their time to the making of garments for the hospitals, and keep their knitting for odd moments.

(The Halifax Courier, 15th August, 1914)

[Helmets here means Balaclava helmets - they had been associated with the army since the Crimean War, from the name, and I think that they had been knitted as soldiers' comforts during the South African War.  So for the writer of this piece it would be natural to advise on whether helmets were needed at the time.  (Although  as far as I know, the soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force had not been provided with helmets and it was not part of the standard kit issued by the War Office.)]

(Cambrian Daily Leader, 15th August 1914)

[What civilian men were wearing in 1914. I suspect that at least part of the reason for the sale was that far fewer men were buying suits than usual - either because they were in the army or were thinking of volunteering, or because the war had made everyone reluctant to spend money if it wasn't absolutely necessary.]   

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