Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Salvation Army Aprons (WWI)

Female Salvation Army volunteers with baked goods, c. 1917-1919.
Salvation Army Lassies, c. 1917-1919
See worldwar1.com for more information.
The Museum of Flight has some early 20th century events coming up this month, so I'm working on skirts and aprons for eight WWI-era Salvation Army "Sallies".

Based on the above picture, the aprons are plain, with a bib, skirt, and waistband.  The bib is open at the sides, but extends over the shoulder--the set of it suggests that a back bib is present, or perhaps straps to connect it to the waistband in back.  The pieces appear to be fit fairly smoothly together (ie, aren't very full), with back fasteners for the bib and waistband. The material photographs light and would need to be washable--most likely, it's a plain-woven white cotton or linen, easy to bleach and boil clean.

The lines are not dissimilar to Liz Clark's 1-2-3 Pinafore Variations; to make the pattern more closely resemble the picture, I raised the neckline, gathered the bib less (sides angled in slightly to compensate), and made the skirt less full, with pleats concentrated at the sides to give a flat front while preserving range of motion.

Of the available options at the time, I'd guess buttons as the most likely fastening method, with hooks and eyes, or ties also being possible.  Due to time/material constraints, I opted to use ties at the top of the bib and at the waist.

Plain apron with bib, c. 1917-19.


  1. Aha! This is the project with which you were rushing into the Museum today when I saw you. Very interesting and I hope to see them Saturday!

  2. It sounds like they're being used Sunday (go and see and get donuts!). All the skirts are now done, and I just need to finish the fasteners on the second batch of aprons.


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