Category Archives: WWI

WWI Hello Girl Summer uniform

This cotton sateen uniform is inspired by the summer uniforms worn by the Hello Girls during WWI.

(Ugh! Still working on that stand and fold collar! I am going to master it yet!)

For this uniform, I selected a cotton/poly blend (65/35) as 100% cotton sateen tends to lose its luster after a single washing. And because I wanted this uniform to retain as much luster as possible, I chose a blend over all natural. Sometimes you have to compromise! Plus, the weight of this cotton satin was absolutely ideal for this piece. (Modern all natural cotton sateen tends to be rather thin. Think sheets! Or lining in this case!) Amazingly this cotton satin has the feel of silk satin! It was really lovely to work with. (Note- cotton satin and cotton sateen are interchangeable terms).

The buttons are reproduction brass eagles and lack the years of bronzing their antique counterparts have. I like to leave the patina on antique brass so the brightness of these reproductions were the way to go on this uniform. The jacket is fully lined in a 100% cotton sateen.

Original WWI cotton sateen summer uniform (image courtesy Ebay)

The Hello Girl uniform was officially known as a US Signal Corp Uniform and was issued to women working overseas as bilingual translators on the European front. The Hello Girls were some of the first women to officially enter into military service and were issued 2 uniforms- 1 winter uniform of wool and 1 summer uniform of cotton sateen.

While issued uniforms by the US Army and commissioned to work on base, the Hello Girls were viewed as civilian contractors and were never offered a pension or any military benefits. It was not until the late 1970s that the US gov’t acknowledged these women’s service and contributions to our country during WWI.

Fore more information about our WWI era uniforms or any of our custom order garments, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

WWI Signal Corps Uniform- with follow up image!

This wool uniform is inspired by ones worn during WWI by the US Signal Corps Women- also known as the Hello Girls. This 100% worsted wool uniform features reproduction brass buttons and is fully lined in cotton sateen. This uniform was created to honor the first women to enter into service in the US Army and will be worn in NYC’s Veteran’s Day parade.

As I continue to research this uniform, I realized the jacket body is slightly more contoured than I originally thought. It has seams that run down the center front sides (see original image below) and so I adjusted my pattern to reflect this. The stand and fall collar however continues to perplex me and I need to spend more time tweaking and adjusting it to get it “just right.”

Side seams- Check! Stand and Fall collar that does not look/feel like a chiropractic device- still working on that….

Follow up: Here is an image from our fantastic client waring this Hello Girl Uniform! Her husband made the insignias. She is pictured with a group of French soldiers. How awesome to see the uniform in action! Thanks JB for the photo! And thank you for allowing us to make this for you!

For more information about this uniform or any of our custom made historical clothing, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

Dreamy WWI blouse

I LOVE this blouse. LOVE IT! Can’t wait to make more of these! (But then again, I have a thing for wide collars and v-necks.)

I made this blouse as a custom design piece to be worn with a WWI era skirt. Did I mention I cannot wait to make more of them? I can see this blouse in a variety of colors and prints. It’s a staple of WWI era wardrobes!

Stay posted for more of this delicate and feminine WWI Era separate!

For more information about this custom designed garment or any of our historical clothing, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

Hello Girl Uniform

We recently completed our second commission for a WWI Hello Girls Uniform. This uniform is made of navy blue twill wool* and a cotton sateen lining. The buttons are original.

For the second uniform, I tweaked a few things on my pattern- including a slightly more fitted jacket body and fuller jacket skirt at center back. I narrowed the skirt and added pockets.

I found the worsted wool lovely to work with. It held its body beautifully and created a gorgeous skirt. It felt very authentic in look and feel. The jacket was a dream as well and in the end, I really love the way this uniform turned out. It has that “original feel” to it and the color/ texture added a whole new dimension that melton wool cannot achieve. (Melton tends to look flat in my opinion.)

Now onto more WWI Hello Girls uniforms! We have commissions for 6 more of these already this year!

For more information about our WWI Hello Girl Uniform or any of our custom designed historical garments, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

WWI US Motor Corps Uniform

Earlier this Spring we completed a WWI Era US Motor Corps Uniform for The State of TN. It was and EPIC project! From original buttons to sourcing “just the right shade of wool,” attention to detail was paramount. I completely drafted the pattern myself. Both the jacket and skirt are fully lined. The shirt and tie I picked up at a local second hand shop to use for the photo. I purchased the reproduction Sam Browne Belt on Ebay.

For more information about our WWI Era US Motor Corps Uniform or any of our custom designed historical clothing, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

WWI American Red Cross Ward Uniform

We recently made one of our WWI era American Red Cross Ward nurse uniform with armband (not shown) for The American Museum in Britain’s exhibition entitled Side by Side: America in WWI running March 29- October 28, 2018.

This gown is part of an exhibit of a reconstructed hospital ward intended to give the audience a glimpse into early 20th century medicine and treatment in wartime Europe.

Image courtesy The American Museum in Britain

Our WWI era Ward uniform is based on photographs and written descriptions of the period. For more information about our WWI Ward uniform or any of our historical garments, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

WWI Hello Girl Uniform

This WWI Era Hello Girl Uniform was meticulously researched for accuracy and authenticity as it was designed for exhibition at Alvin C. York State Park in Tennessee.

The Hello Girls, also known as the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit were an auxiliary unit of the US Army during WWI. Experienced, bilingual female telephone operators were recruited by the US Army and sent overseas to aid the failing communication lines of the Allies in wartime France. In 1917, over 7000 US women applied but only 450 were enlisted. This small group of skilled women paved the way for future generations and helped secure the role of women as vital assets in the US military.

Required to purchase their own uniforms, and being paid only $50 per month proved to be a barrier for many women. As they were required to wear their uniforms at all times (even on leave), two uniforms of the same style were devised. Winter uniforms were made of wool and summer uniforms of cotton sateen. However, purchasing two uniforms plus an overcoat, hat, and rank- designating insignias dwindled their measly earnings down to pennies. Therefore it can be surmised that most Hello Girls viewed their positions as patriotic rather than an income generating endeavor. While considered merely contract civilians by the US Army, the Hello Girls instead referred to themselves as the “first women’s combatant unit in the U.S. Army.”

Our replica WWI Hello Girl uniform is made from wool and is cut in the style of the original. The buttons are original eagle buttons as were worn by all WWI era serviceman (and women!).

For more information about our WWI Era Hello Girl Uniform or any of our custom designed historical garments, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com

Johns Hopkins Base 18

This series of garments was created for The Maryland Military Museum’s 2017 exhibit on Johns Hopkins Base 18 and WWI era nurse Bessie Baker.

After looking at several original images of Bessie Baker both prior to and during the War, I decided upon this design for her uniform.

The design of her uniform is actually a blend of her prewar nursing uniform, her war era uniform, an illustration found in a WWI era recruitment poster, and an extant JHH gown in the collection of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Archives.

Her cape is drawn directly from this one in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Archives.

In addition, I also created a nurse’s cap, armband, and located a pair of black shoes in the style of the pair shown in this period illustration.

This was by far my most heavily researched commission for 2016 but also one of the most fascinating.

For more information about this gown or any of our custom historical garments, please visit our website at www.maggiemayfashions.com or email us at info@maggiemayfashions.com