Thursday 3 November 2016

A story of exquisite stitching in 1942....

1942 Bed Jacket 
Hand stitched and embroidered by
a class of 16 year old Art Students ...

Imagine if you will that it is 1942 and you are 16 years old at Art School in London.  Well this is a little true story of just that with some most exquisite embroidery and stitchery that I have had the pleasure and the privilege to look at and hold ...

They young girl in question is the sister of my lovely neighbour ( the widow of the gentleman who worked for J P Coates back in the day who we sadly lost a few years ago now)  Well her sister was 16 and had lots of mosquito bites on her legs from the warm weather that year, I was told that they really loved munching on her and yet others went without even one bite.  She had lots and lots over her
legs. This was in 1942 and WW2 was raging on, rationing was in force and silk stockings were scarce
and very expensive if you could get hold of them.  What was a young student to do...?

Well most of us reading this know what was done, they browned their legs and got a friend to draw a line down the back so that they looked liked they had stockings on.  Unfortunately the browning went into her bites and she got contracted septicemia and she ended up in hospital for 16 weeks and very unwell indeed.  I was informed that there were no antibiotics for her then so it was a very unpleasant and painful procedure for her whilst she recovered.

The teacher of her Art School informed all her class mates and they set about making her something so beautiful, a blue silk bed jacket and they embroidered it all and added their names.  Oh my it is
stunning as you can see for yourselves.  This 16 year old in question kept it all these years and is now 93 years old.  It is is wonderful today as it was then because it has been treasured....

The girls also made her a card and with a poem inside, which has also been kept and preserved over the years and that was shown to me as well, I could not believe how lucky I was.   Every girl embroidered some flowers and their name along with little butterflies and a gorgeous border detail it really is such a wonderful piece of stitching history that I was shown ...

These talented ladies are Joyce, Marjorie, Susan, Joan Smith, Lorraine, Valerie, Sheila, Joan, Eileen, Doris, Audrey, Rhoda, Pamela and Olive .. I believe as some put a second name there were two people of the same name as there was another Joan and Audrey as well .....

All these years this has been treasured and the card that was made as well to go with it with all their
names in too with a get well message.  The card was hand drawn and painted and it still stays with the beautiful bed jacket.  I had permission to show you all and to take photos for you to see this beautiful piece of embroidery and stitchery along with the cards art work as well.

I hope you have enjoyed this small blog I just wanted to share it all with you .. I will leave you with the photo of the rhyme inside and hope that you have a wonderful day and of course Happy Stitching! X


  1. Wow! Beautiful! And glad that it has been cherished all the lady's life until now.

  2. It's been cherished Attila and preserved.. it's so beautiful and I was so lucky to be able to see it and touch it.

    Sarah x

  3. How utterly exquisite - wasn't the stitch work so beautiful and neat - so much attention to detail - even the card was quite lovely! Thank them for allowing us a peek! Mo xx

  4. That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen- what exquisite embroidery and this is the perfect first visit to your blog :) How I love the Art Deco typeface they have used to write the poem. The little dog is so cute and the girl on the front of the card looks like a figure skater. Incredible talent- all round.

  5. What a beautiful treasured piece

    Julie xxxxx

  6. It's stunning isn't it Mo! I indeed will thank them again ..
    Sarah xx

    1. It is Julie! It's been treasured for a long time xx