homesteading experiences (clothing).
home page for alittlehistory.com1874 The Mounted Police Tame the Wild Westthe Metis half of the 1885 Northwest Rebellionthe Native half of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion1900-05 Diary of a student and young teacher1908-1920 homesteading experiences and lifestyle1920's farm and community lifestyle1954-56 diary of a boy, before the effects of televisionthe future: extending human limitations through technology (eg. computers and inline skating), presenting history with applets, a new family recreation program, etc.


Creating Clothing

. . . . bales of clothing were sent to us by the Church. I used a piece of blue serge that came in one of the bales to make a pair of pants for my oldest boy. The first time he wore them to Sunday school, when the primary class assembled for the lesson, he stepped out in front of the class and said to the teacher, "See my new panties! Mama maked them and put elastic in them."

When Bill needed a pair of overalls for school, we made them out of the good parts of an old binder canvas and dyed them brown. There was almost endless wear in them and they looked quite passable. The other boys wanted to know what they were made of. They discovered some of the small holes where the canvas had been tacked to the slats and the secret was out.

Violet's son Bill writes about his clothes:

. . . . When I arrived at school, the older boys started to examine my overalls or pants. Mother had made them from binder canvas. I was proud of them as she had dyed them brown with some dye in a pot on the stove. They wore for a long time and I suppose I grew out of them rather than have them wear out.

Violet continues:

Arthur had a good strong school shirt about the colour of coffee. Finally, his elbows wore through and I had nothing suitable to patch it with. The sleeves soon were past mending and the rest of the shirt was still sound. Then I had a bright idea. I took a fifty pound salt sack and boiled it in strong thick tea until it was close to the right colour. I used this to make half sleeves and cuffs and it lasted for months till the crop came off.


twins and pets - 78 kb
click to enlarge (78 kb)

This 1924 photo shows the twins, Art and Bert, with their cousin Elizabeth behind posing with their pets.

Handkerchiefs were made of empty ten cent salt sacks, neatly hemmed. Shoe laces were strong string soaked in ink, with the ends waxed. Empty flour sacks were the standby; they were made into sheets, pillow cases, mattress covers, tea towels and undergarments of all kinds. We could not have gotten along without them any better than the men could have managed without haywire.


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