Thursday, 8 January 2015

Pattern for a Nightingale

From the Brecon County Times, 7th January 1915.

A Nightingale or Bed Jacket.

Now that so many of our brave fellows are unfortunately in hospital, wounded more or less seriously, the demand for articles for their use when under treatment is very great.  As some of the cases are serious, and the men are unable to wear ordinary garments, owing to wounds, which make it difficult or, perhaps, impossible to move the arm, the garment which is always associated with its inventor, the woman to whom our splendid nursing system is due, Florence Nightingale, is the one generally favoured. 

The wrap, known as a "Nightingale," is one of the simplest possible to make up, but one of the most suitable and comfortable possible for the purpose for which it is designed.  It is sketched in No. 1,847, with the addition of a pocket, which will add to its utility where a masculine wearer is intended, though the wrap can be worn by invalids of the other sex, and I know one now—a Belgian refugee— who is experiencing the comfort of such a gift, and was loud in praise of the comfort and practicality of a garment she had never seen before.

To Make Up.

Simplicity of the most extreme kind characterises the making-up of the wrap, which consists of one long strip, pleated in a box-pleat midway of its length, which comes to the centre of the back. The corners of the length are secured together for a few inches to form cuffs, the point of the corner being turned up to give a smartening touch to the wrap, which is merely hemmed all round and ornamented with feather-stitching, or binding if preferred. 

The collar is an addition which gives a more finished effect, and possibly a more masculine touch to the wrap, and this must be put on afterwards.  In the original design, however, this detail is usually omitted.  As to materials, flannel and flannelette are those selected either in red, khaki colour, or grey, and homespun in the latter shade makes a very useful wrap for hospital purposes.  The making, as I have said, is of the simplest, and about 2¾ yards of material will be needed for a full-sized wrap. 

[There are frequent mentions of nightingales in lists of garments made by volunteer groups for hospital, and in Red Cross appeals, but this is the only description I have seen of the garment. It is, as Sylvia says, extremely simple to make.  There was a pattern that readers could send off for, but a pattern hardly seems necessary.] 


  1. I was intrigued by the source of this article, named as the Brecon County Times from 1915. The local paper in Brecon, which was my mother's home town, is the Brecon and Radnor Gazette (I think) and the county was always until recent years, known as Brecknockshire.

    1. Definitely the Brecon County Times - the Brecon and Radnor Gazette was also being published during the First World War. I imagine that the Brecon County Times disappeared later - there were a lot of local papers published all over the country at that time.