Saturday, 25 April 2015

WWI Nurse's Uniform: The Dress

It wasn't only soldiers that went to war a hundred years ago. Thousands of New Zealand and Australian nurses went as well, serving anywhere from convalescent hospitals in England, to casualty clearing stations not 100 yards from the front line. Most nurses served through the New Zealand Army Nursing Service (NZANS) and the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS), but some served through Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service and the Red Cross.

I have focused on making an AANS uniform, as thanks to the mini-series Anzac Girls, based on the book The Other Anzacs by Peter Reese, I managed to make a detailed study of the costumes made for it.

 The cast of Anzac Girls

The rest of my research showed a lot of variation in uniform styling, and I am yet to find a set of actual uniform guidelines for any of the nursing services, so as far as I know it was anything goes as long as it was tidy.

I had hoped to have the entire uniform finished by this Anzac Day, but working six days a week for the past two months hasn't left a lot of extra time for sewing. What I do have today though, is the finished underdress. It should be a darker shade of grey and the skirt isn't quite long enough due to fabric restrictions, but here we are. I ended up using Simplicity 9723 as a general base.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Getting there!

Four weeks later and it still only looks like this... but it's wearable now and only needs hemming so that's something. Now just to make the apron, capelet, and preferably a petticoat or two. But that is SO not going to get done before Anzac Day, as that's only six days away.

Well, the Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa is going for four years to commemorate the duration of the war, so I guess I've got some time yet before I've completely missed the boat. Looking forward to going to see that actually.