Mary and unique were the devices that women resorted to during the Civil War, for in order to make clothes, for no money could be spared for new ones. Ms. Julia Rankine Forbis, who is a young girl at the age to want pretty close at that time tells how she made a hat of the old silk umbrella. Another time she scalded the inside leaves of corn shucks and plaited them and made a hat. Wheat and oat straw was also used for the same purpose. She made a sort of matting or carpet of “flags” or cattail leaves gathered from the swamps.
Best desses were turned and returned, then the best parts of two or three were used to make one. Almost all cloth had to be raised Spun, and woven at home. The most satisfactory dyes use were made of green walnut hulls, this gives a dirty brown color and a white oak bark which gives a still uglier gray. These colors were not beautiful but they kept the garments from showing soil, so perhaps the small boy did not object, if his big sister did.
Enclosed in: 1917, September 7 – Julia Rankin to D. H. Hill