Close this search box.



How are embroidery, and the women who do it, portrayed in the years after the First World War?

This month Jessica takes us on a tour of post-war embroidery in Tracy Chevalier’s A Single Thread and Dorothy Whipple’s High Wages. Along the way we discuss surplus women, the varying perceptions of embroidery as skilled work, and the constant reminders of the First World War.


Tracy Chevalier, A Single Thread (2019)

Dorothy Whipple, High Wages (1930)

Dorothy L. Sayers, Unnatural Death (1927)

Dorothy L. Sayers, Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928)

Herman Darewski and R.P. Weston, ‘Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts for Soldiers’  (1914). This is Billy Murry’s 1915 version)

Janet S.K. Watson, Fighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory and the First World War (2004)

Alexia Moncrieff,  Expertise, Authority and Control: The Australian Army Medical Corps in the First World War(2020)

Ana Carden-Coyne, ‘Butterfly Touch: rehabilitation, nature and the haptic arts in the First World War’, Critical Military Studies  6:2 (2020)

Lesley Glaister, Blasted Things (2020). See episode 9 of the podcast for our discussion with Lesley Glaister.

Armistice & After: Peace Project, Leeds City Museum 10th-18th November 2018: 

Other episodes

Oh What a Lovely War

What happens when three historians watch a key play about the First World War?

Egyptian Encounters

What opportunities did the First World War provide for cultural tourism?

War Hospital

What happens when you turn a First World War medical process into a computer game?