WW1 song – Sister Susie Sews

For the last couple of months, since I have been reading blogs ( it’s become quite an addiction – I wake up at 3am and have a quick peek) I have been amazed at how quickly you sewistas whip something up for a specific occasion. Well, this week I did just that!

This weekend saw the start of the Arundel Festival – a ten day extravaganza of art, drama, live music, the silliness of the bathtub race ( yes, really – people use a bath as a vessel in which to race down the River Arun) and SO much other fun stuff.  This year I signed up to be part of a choir singing songs of WW1 for an event taking place the first weekend. There was a dress code – wear red!  Although I love the colour, I do not have any red clothes so, for the first time ever – thank you lovely sewistas and bloggers who have inspired me – I thought . . . . . I’ll make something!

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And so I did. Clothkits have a bucket where you can find cheap remnants that are all one metre and, incredibly, I found lurking there this super appropriate poppy fabric.  It was labelled as Italian sateen – I don’t even knows what that means but it sewed up beautifully.  The Sorbetto has become (admittedly from a limited pool so early in my sewing life) a favourite pattern.   I increased the length by three inches – no one wants to see my mum tum/ middle age spread peeping out – and sadly had to abandon the centre pleat as I just couldn’t eek it out of my metre.

It was really satisfying to make something specific occasion and also a really enjoyable evening singing the songs from WW1.

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One of the the most surprising things was that we got to sing a song about an early seamstress called Susie.  It’s rather fun but her efforts appeared not to have been appreciated.  I have copied it below just in case you want to do your own sing-a-long whilst you sew!

Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts

Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts For Soldiers

Sister Susie’s sewing in the kitchen on a “Singer”,

There’s miles and miles of flannel on the floor And up the stairs,

And father says it’s rotten getting mixed up with the cotton,

And sitting on the needles that she leaves upon the chairs.

And should you knock at our street door Ma whispers, “Come inside.”

Then when you ask where Susie is, She says with loving pride:

Chorus

(fast) “Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers

Such skill at sewing shirts Our shy young sister Susie shows!

Some soldiers send epistles, Say they’d sooner sleep in thistles

Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.”

Verse 2

Piles and piles and piles of shirts she sends out to the soldiers,

And sailors won’t be jealous when they see them, Not at all.

And when we say her stitching will set all the soldiers itching,

She says our soldiers fight best when their back’s against the wall.

And little brother Gussie, he who lisps when he says “yes”,

Says “Where’s the cotton gone from off my kite? Oh, I can gueth!”

(Chorus faster) “Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers Such skill at sewing shirts Our shy young sister Susie shows!

Some soldiers send epistles, Say they’d sooner sleep in thistles Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.”

Verse 3

I forgot to tell you that our sister Susie’s married,

And when she isn’t sewing shirts She’s sewing other things.

Then little sister Molly says, “Oh, sister’s bought a dolly.

She’s making all the clothes for it With pretty bows and strings.”

Says Susie: “Don’t be silly” As she she blushes and she sighs.

Then mother smiles and whispers with a twinkle in her eyes:

Final Chorus – sang twice

(even faster) “Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers Such skill at sewing shirts Our shy young sister Susie shows!

Some soldiers send epistles, Say they’d sooner sleep in thistles Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.”

(Breakneck Speed Finale) “Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers Such skill at sewing shirts Our shy young sister Susie shows!

Some soldiers send epistles, Say they’d sooner sleep in thistles Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.”

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x

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