By World War 1 nursing was finally recognized as a profession and as a noble service. There had been recent work to get medics universally recognized as non-combatants, so they were now, in theory, not going to be shot at while helping the wounded. This led to the universally acknowledged red cross symbol. World War 1 the first major war it is used in. It is also the inspiration for our World War 1 nurse’s hat for today’s history lesson.
(There are affiliate links in this post marked with an *)
Our inspiration book: The Donkey of Gallipoli
The Donkey of Gallipoli* is the story of two friends who grew up together. One stays home, and one longs for adventure. The adventurer travels far and wide, only to long for home. He joins the army thinking he will use that as his ticket home, only to end up in the medical corps in the fields of Gallipoli. There he tirelessly works to bring injured soldiers to the medical tents from the front.
**** Warning this is a true story, and it does not have a happy ending. Preview it before you read it to your kids.******
Supplies for a World War 1 nurse’s hat craft
White fleece *(you could probably make it using felt, but I liked the softness and stretchiness of fleece), needle, thread* (this kit has both needle and thread, it’s not great thread, so if you’re getting into serious sewing, don’t use this), red felt (everything on Amazon is a terrible price and I refuse to link to it, pick up a sheet at Hobby Lobby or something), ruler* or some form of straight edge
How to make a World War 1 nurse’s hat
First, pick the doll you want to use. I again chose my soon to be
soldier nurse 18-inch doll* (That is the exact model I subjected to my skills. I also hacked off the eyelashes, because they looked too girlie). I hacked the hair off this summer to create a boy doll to make boy’s historical costumes for dolls. There are no 18-inch boy dolls that I know of. At some point, I want to convince one of my friend’s that’s a hairdresser to give him a proper haircut.
I honestly don’t know why that idea struck my fancy, but it did. I used him to model some Revolutionary War clothes for some projects, and have brainstormed a couple of more ideas….. Mainly involving soldier uniforms.
But back to the story.
Take your fabric scrap and measure around your doll’s head. Try not to stretch your fabric as you measure around, otherwise, your World War 1 nurse’s hat will end up being too small. (and yes we did run into this problem, sigh I just made a second one because I needed another picture, and I made it too small). Make a mark where the fabric overlaps.
Now using a straight edge measure up an amount that looks to make a good nurse’s hat for your doll. For the 18 inch dolls, I opted for about two inches tall. My son’s small dinosaur head for his World War nurse’s hat was only about an inch tall. As you can tell, it doesn’t take a very big scrap of fabric.
Cut out your rectangle, and either ladder stitch or whip stitch the two ends together. At the end tie a knot, but do not cut your thread. And yes, I did have one child not listen to the directions and cut their thread.
Stand up your loop of fabric on top of the remaining fabric and trace around it with a pencil or marker. Try to shape it into roughly a circle, but none of ours were very circular. I think mine ended up being more of an oval, so it’s okay if it’s not perfect.
Now take your loop of fabric and fold it so it is in half, and mark the two halves. Switch how it is folded in half so the two marked halves are lined up and mark the other two quarters. You just completed the hardest step.
Take your “circle” you cut out and fold it in half and then in half again, mark each of the four quarters. Match up your marks, and start sewing your World War 1 nurse’s hat together.
You’re at the final step: cut out a red cross from your red fabric scrap. I sort of free-handed our crosses, and while it wasn’t perfect, it worked well enough. The boys ended up opting to make red crosses using red Sharpies.
Sew your red cross onto the band of your World War 1 nurse’s hat, and try it on your doll.
Now watch your children disappear upstairs as they all head off to play with their World War 1 soldier hats and their World War 1 nurse’s hats. They absconded with the remains of the boxes from our trench warfare activity (coming tomorrow) and created their own mini-version of trench warfare upstairs in their room.