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  1. #1
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    Question USSC Patterns

    I was recently reviewing a copy of the Sanitary Commission Bulletin and came across a few patterns I found there that might be of interest here.

    I'll be trying my hand at putting together some of the items this spring and was curious if anyone had any insights or experience with interpreting these particular patterns, knew of any extant originals of USSC clothing, were aware of any vendors reproducing these items, etc.
    Last edited by AZReenactor; 01-03-2008 at 09:56 AM.
    Troy Groves "AZReenactor"
    1st California Infantry Volunteers, Co. C

    So, you think that scrap in the East is rough, do you?
    Ever consider what it means to be captured by Apaches?

  2. #2
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    Post Flannel Shirt & Drawers

    The Sanitary Commission Bulletin. May 1, 1864, Vol. 1, No. 13. Page 405-406.
    PATTERNS FOR HOSPITAL CLOTHING.

    The following patterns have been adopted as the best and most economical by tho New England Branch of the Sanitary Commission, after an experience of more than two years, during which over 45,500 garments have been cut.



    Required for each Shirt—3 skeins linen thread, 5 black bone buttons, 7 stays, tape or silesia.

    Directions for Making.—The dimensions given above, are for flannel twenty-six inches wide.

    The opening in the front should be fourteen inches long, and should be faced on the left side with silesia, two and one-half inches wide. There should be two button-holes on this side. A flap of silesia, two and one-half inches wide, when doubled, should be put on the right side for the buttons, and stitched under the left side at the bottom of the opening. The collar should cover the flannel entirely on the left side, but the silesia flap should project beyond it on the right side. There should be one button and button-hole in it The shoulder seams should be strengthened by a crosswise binding of silesia, and stays should be put on at the flaps and at the opening in the sleeve. The sleeve should be faced at the wrist with silesia, three inches wide, and fastened with one button. The opening at the wrist should be one finger long. The flaps should be two fingers long.

    Required for each pair of Drawers.
    1 tape stay, one inch long, (for opening in back.)
    3 knots linen thread.
    3 black bone buttons.
    Narrow tape, for back of waistband (18 inches long.)



    Directions for Making.—If the flannel to be used is less than thirty inches wide, put the point at the back close to the edge of the flannel and piece the fronts, as shown by the dotted lines above.

    The opening below the waistband in the back should be four inches long. The opening in front should be seven inches long and faced with flannel or silesia, two inches wide. Two buttons should be put on the waistband in front, and one on the opening below. There should be four eyelet holes on each side of the waistband behind. Waistbands should be lined with silesia. Drawers to be closed to the ankle, and finished with hem.

    To cut a piece of flannel economically, drawers and shirts should be cut together.

    Put the bottom of one leg against the bottom of the other, and two long triangular pieces of flannel will be left on each side, out of which, with the other small pieces, cut the collars and wrist-facings for shirt, and waistband for drawers. In cutting the second pair of drawers, be careful that the slanting line of the top meets the slanting line left by the first pair, and go on as before.

    Begin to cut the shirts at the other end of the piece of flannel, tearing off two yards for the body of each shirt. One sleeve and a half can be cut out of the width of the flannel, and in cutting a number of sleeves, one may be made to fadge [sic] into the other.

    Pieces of flannel are usually from 45 to 52 or 53 yards long and 26 inches wide.

    Cut by the above patterns, it will take about 5 1/2 yards for a shirt and pair of drawers. The diagrams allow for seams.

    The Sanitary Commission Bulletin. May 15, 1864, Vol. 1, No. 14. Page 426
    HOSPITAL CLOTHING.

    The length of lower line of the diagram giving the pattern of flannel drawers, in No. 13, was omitted. It should have been marked 18 inches.
    The Sanitary Commission Bulletin. July 1, 1864, Vol. 1, No. 17. Page 525-6
    HOSPITAL CLOTHING.

    Correction.—In the pattern for Flannel Shirt in No. 13 of the BULLETIN, the slope for the neck in "Half of Back" should be one inch instead of three inches, as given.

    The drawing of the diagram for "Half of Sleeve" is erroneous as regards the slope at the top of sleeve. The dimensions as given, are, however, correct. Also, this sleeve should be faced at the wrist with flannel instead of silesia. In cutting sleeves, put the wrist of one against the wrist of another, and the long triangular piece of flannel left at the side will cut a collar. Wrist facings, by joining in the middle, can be cut off the pieces cut out of the front of the shirt in arm size.
    The Sanitary Commission Bulletin. June 15, 1864, Vol. 1, No. 16. Page 502
    N. B.—Owing to blurred type, the dimensions on the lower line of diagram for flannel drawers, in No. 13 of the BULLETIN, are illegible. They should read 18 inches.
    Last edited by AZReenactor; 01-03-2008 at 09:35 AM.
    Troy Groves "AZReenactor"
    1st California Infantry Volunteers, Co. C

    So, you think that scrap in the East is rough, do you?
    Ever consider what it means to be captured by Apaches?

  3. #3
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    Post Cotton Shirt and Drawers

    The Sanitary Commission Bulletin. June 15, 1864, Vol. 1, No. 16. Page 502

    Hospital Cotton Shirt



    Required for each Shirt.

    5 white bone buttons, (3 for front, 2 for sleeves.)
    4 tape stays, 1 inch long, (for flaps and opening of sleeves.)
    2 skeins thread.

    The back of the shirt is cut by the same pattern as the front, though not sloped quite so much on the neck.

    The opening in front is 15 inches long, faced on one side with cotton 2 inches wide, and hemmed on the other. The shirt is gathered into the collar both in front and behind.

    The shoulder-pieces are faced under the shoulder seams, and cut down one inch at one end, as per diagram, to fit under the collar.

    The arm sizes are strengthened with binders 2 inches wide, cut circular, as per dotted line in diagram The sleeve is gathered into the wristband and gathered a little at the top.

    Two gussets are added to each sleeve, as per diagram. The flaps are two fingers long.

    The above pattern is for cotton one yard wide. After the front, back and sleeves have been cut out, a strip 6 inches wide will be left, out of which can be cut all the small pieces. Cut in this way it will take less than three yards of cotton.

    Hospital Cotton Drawers.

    Cotton drawers should be cut by the same pattern as flannel drawers, (for which, see BULLETIN, No. 13.) The pattern should be laid on the cloth in the same manner, the smallest part of one leg to the smallest part of the other, leaving a piece on each side for the double waistbands.

    The diagrams allow for seams.

    N. B.—Owing to blurred type, the dimensions on the lower line of diagram for flannel drawers, in No. 13 of the BULLETIN, are illegible. They should read 18 inches.
    Last edited by AZReenactor; 01-03-2008 at 09:36 AM.
    Troy Groves "AZReenactor"
    1st California Infantry Volunteers, Co. C

    So, you think that scrap in the East is rough, do you?
    Ever consider what it means to be captured by Apaches?

  4. #4
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    Post Ration Bag

    The Sanitary Commission Bulletin. September 15, 1864, Vol. 1, No. 22. page 697


    DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING RATION BAGS.

    Ration Bags should be made of enamelled cloth. The four points should be sewed together so as to form a flat bottom and the side sewed up to make it into a bag. The top should be bound with cotton and tape strings run in.
    Troy Groves "AZReenactor"
    1st California Infantry Volunteers, Co. C

    So, you think that scrap in the East is rough, do you?
    Ever consider what it means to be captured by Apaches?

  5. #5
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    Post Slippers

    The Sanitary Commission Bulletin. September 15, 1864, Vol. 1, No. 22. page 696-7
    PATTERNS FOR HOSPITAL CLOTHING.—No. 3.
    SLIPPERS.
    REQUIRED FOR A PAIR OF SLIPPERS.
    5 1/2 yards common woolen carpet binding.
    2 1/2 knots strong linen thread.

    DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING SLIPPERS.

    Slippers should be made of carpeting or stout woolen cloth and lined with cotton or cotton flannel. Each part should be bound and the three parts sewed together by the binding. A stiff sole of pasteboard or pole leather should be inserted between the lining and outside.

    Troy Groves "AZReenactor"
    1st California Infantry Volunteers, Co. C

    So, you think that scrap in the East is rough, do you?
    Ever consider what it means to be captured by Apaches?

  6. #6
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    Post Arm Sling

    The Sanitary Commission Bulletin. September 15, 1864, Vol. 1, No. 22. page 696-7


    DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING SLINGS.

    Slings may be made of calico or any other strong material.

    The two halves should be sewed together only on the outer side and the edges hemmed.

    Strings should be placed on both halves, as per dots in diagram. (Six strings.)

    Those at No. 1 are of unequal length, one being 27 inches long, the other 11 inches. The four other strings are 27 inches long.
    Troy Groves "AZReenactor"
    1st California Infantry Volunteers, Co. C

    So, you think that scrap in the East is rough, do you?
    Ever consider what it means to be captured by Apaches?

  7. #7
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    Post Enamaled Cloth

    The ration bag pattern made me go searching for descriptions of enameled cloth and I came up with the following interesting descriptions.


    Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review
    New York, 1859 pg.627
    ENAMELED CLOTH.
    The enameled cloth of commerce enters into many uses as a substitute for leather. It is light and pliable, and at the same time firm and durable. It has all the appearance of leather, with nearly its durability. Its most important use is that of covering for carriage tops, for traveling bags, and trunks. It is extensively employed in tfie manufacture of cushions, and upholstering of similar nature, and is to a small extent worked up into rain-proof garments, answering all the purposes of India rubber cloth. The method of making the different colors is essentially the same, the black being the foundation, and the colors afterwards applied by hand.

    The foundation of this article is cotton cloth of the best quality, and is manufactured of various texture and width, according to the kind of goods for which it is intended. The cloth is taken from the bale, and wound upon a large iron cylinder. It is then slowly passed through the machine, across and between the huge cylinders, from the smaller of which, at the top, it receives its first coating of composition—a black looking substance, composed of oil, lamp-black, rosin, and other ingredients, boiled together till of about the consistency of tar in its melted state. From between the cylinders, dressed in its black cloak, the cloth is carried to the story above, through an aperture in the floor, and wound upon a huge wooden frame. By an arrangement of spokes upon the arms of this huge wheel, each layer of cloth is kept separate, so that no two portions of the cloth will come in contact.

    The frame, with its contents when filled, is passed into what is called the heater. an apartment kept at a high temperature for the purpose of drying in the coating of composition. After remaining in the heater a sufficient length of time to complete the drying process, it is removed to the lower story, where it is laid on long tables, and alternately sprinkled with water and rubbed with pumice stone, till the whole surface is made perfectly smooth. The cloth is then wound upon the cylinder again, as at first, and passed through the machine into the upper story, upon the huge reels, and into the heater, and again under the pumice stone. The cloth is passed through the machine five times, or till the required thickness is laid on. After the last scrubbing down, the fabric is taken to another department, and thoroughly varnished, and again passed through the heater. It is now a piece of cotton cloth, with a thick shining coat of black, very much resembling patent leather. It is, in this condition, passed through the enamel machine, which consists of another set of huge rollers, one of which covers its surface with irregular indentations, resembling the grain of a feather. This finishes the various processes.

    The Technologist
    , London, 1862, Vol. II, Pg.106-7
    ENAMELLED CLOTH, OR AMERICAN ARTIFICIAL LEATHER.

    As we published in a former number (p. 64) a communication on the Japan imitation leather, it may be useful to give now a few details respecting the American imitation leather, or enamel cloth of commerce, which enters into many uses as a substitute for leather. It is light and pliable,—having all the appearance of leather, with some of its durability. The black enamelled cloth is the kind most largely in use ; but the method of making the different colours is essentially the same, the black being the foundation, and the colours afterwards applied by hand. The basis of the black is cotton cloth of the best quality, made expressly for the purpose. It varies in texture and width, according to the kind of goods for which it is intended, the width being from thirty-four to fifty-four inches. The cloth is taken from the bale, and wound upon a large iron cylinder, in which position it is ready to receive its first coat, by being slowly passed through the machine across and between the huge iron cylinders, from the smaller of which, at the top, it receives its first coating of composition—a mixture of oil, lamp-black, rosin, and other ingredients, boiled together till about the consistency of melted tar. From between the cylinders, dressed in its black coat, the cloth is carried to the story above through an aperture in. the floor, and wound upon a huge wooden frame, resembling in shape the old-fashioned reel. By an arrangement of spokes upon the arms of this huge wheel, each layer of cloth is kept separate, so that no two portions of the cloth will come in contact. The frame, with its contents, when filled, is passed into what is called the heater, an apartment kept at a high temperature, for the purpose of drying in the coating of composition. After remaining in the heater a sufficient time to complete the drying process, it is removed to the lower story, whence it originally started, to pass through the hands of workmen, who make all the rough places smooth. It is laid on long tables, and alternately sprinkled with water and rubbed with pumice-stone till the whole surface is made perfectly smooth. The cloth is then wound upon the cylinder again, as at first, and passed through the machine into the upper story, upon the huge reels, and into the heater, and again under the pumice-stone. The cloth is passed through the machine five times, or till the required thickness has been laid on. After the last scrubbing down, the fabric is taken to another department in the upper story, thoroughly varnished, and again passed through the heater. It is now a piece of cotton cloth, with a thick shining coat of black, very much resembling patent leather. But it has not yet received its leather finish; so, in another department, it is passed through the enamel machine, which consists of another set of huge rollers, one of which covers its surface with irregular indentations, resembling the grain of leather.
    Troy Groves "AZReenactor"
    1st California Infantry Volunteers, Co. C

    So, you think that scrap in the East is rough, do you?
    Ever consider what it means to be captured by Apaches?

  8. #8
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    Re: USSC Patterns

    Any idea what the measurements are at the top of the drawers pattern? I'm having trouble making them out. Specifically, the measurement from top-back corner to horizontal dotted-line and the measurement from center-vertical-line to top-front corner (10?").
    Edward Watson
    Co. C, 33rd NCT
    www.33rdnct.com
    A Rowdy Pard

    "Do your duty in all things.
    You can never do more,
    You should never wish to do less."
    -Robert E. Lee

  9. #9
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    Re: USSC Patterns

    Troy,

    Great find! I had seen the drawers pattern published elsewhere but I'd never seen the other ones. Thank you also for the link to the publication itself; I've been tallying the numbers of cotton, woolen, and "unspecified" USSC shirts that were delivered to the field or to hospitals. That aggregate might give us a better idea of how common the USSC-distributed shirts were.

    As a side to that, as soon as I get some single-napped flannel or canton flannel I think I will try out one of the shirts!
    Last edited by AZReenactor; 01-04-2008 at 01:10 PM. Reason: Fixed the spelling of my name.

  10. #10
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    Re: USSC Patterns

    In Howard Coffin’s The Battered Stars he quotes more then once Vermont newspapers donating clothing to the Sanitary Commission, specifically drawers and shirts. It's an interesting note that the book deals solely with Vermont in the overland campaign and the shirt Pattern comes from the New England Branch of the commission, not to mention the time of the publication and the Overland campaign go hand in hand as well.

    I am with Brian, I got some nice shirt weight wool flannel I am have been looking to use on a project, this seems like a perfect excuse.

    Regards,
    -Seth Harr

    Liberty Rifles
    93rd New York Coffee Cooler

    "One of the questions that troubled me was whether I would ever be able to eat hardtack again. I knew the chances were against me. If I could not I was just as good as out of the service"

    -Robert S. Camberlain, 64th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry

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