Sunday, January 12, 2014

"I am called "Little Mother" : Sewing in the Army

Well it looks like I had to do some repair work to the trousers. Two buttons came off. I thought this was a good chance to talk about sewing in the army.

 Soldiers in both armies carried needle books, sometimes called a "housewife". Everything you needed for a quick repair was contained a nice little wallet of sorts. These were usually made for the men by their women folk back on the home front and sent with them as they marched off for war.

I was reading this account of sewing from a Journal written by Theodore Upson of the 100th Indiana. He was talking about nicknames in the army and describes why his nickname was "Little Mother".

 "Among the boys I am called "Little Mother", all because when we first came out I had a needle book with thread and needles all very convenient. And when the boys lost a button, or tore their trouse(r)s, what more natural than to go and get "Mother" to fix it." 
 -Private Theodore Upson, 100th Indiana Volunteer Regiment

 You can imagine how hard they were on their uniforms. Missing buttons and rips were a common occurrence.

 FOR REENACTORS: If you are looking a quality reproduction housewife for use in your kit and don't want to try your hand at making your own,  I reccomend S&S Sutler of Gettysburg PA.
 You can find it here :

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