In the early decades of the 20th century, on the bed just below a ladies pillow, a nightdress case would’ve been placed. The nightdress would’ve been folded neatly and placed inside the holder not screwed up and thrown under your pillow like they are today.
It reflected the value of garments as a precious commodity that needed to be cared for when not being worn. The cases would more than likely be handmade, magazines contained examples of how to make and customise. Women’s magazines advised that these cases should resemble ‘boudoir cushions’, pretty and delicate.
They were part of a large collection of handmade items that demonstrated women’s skills and care for themselves and their home. Importantly, they also signalled feminine accomplishment and style. Monograms, elaborate designs and artificial flowers could all be used to personalise the case.
This one however is different. It was purchased at a World War 1 war effort fundraising event that was held in Tamworth NSW in 1914. It was given to the donors mother by her mother. It is in a fragile condition with shattering of the red silk in several areas. It is handmade and features embroidered flags that represent a moment in time, the British Union Jack, the French Tricolour, the Belgium Tricolour and the Russian Tricolour which was abandoned in 1917. Two white embroidered doves hold a banner which has on it the words ‘help our brave boys’. The lining is white quilted silk.