Fundraising with needle and thread (UK)

If only we could see the colors of her dress!  She must have made it to attract attention to her cause.  Her hat has words sewn on it — I can read LITTLE and HELPS — so it may read EVEN A LITTLE HELPS.  She’s holding a donation box with words printed above a cross emblem, then THANK YOU along the bottom.  NOTE: A helpful reader has pointed out that the cross is a type known as a consecration cross, indicating that donations would go toward a fund administered by a church.  (See this comment by “shoreacres” below.)  Unfortunately, this photo from the United Kingdom has nothing written on it to help us further understand these clues within the image.

Fundraising with needle and thread 2

Fundraising with needle and thread 3


Would it be fun to make a dress like this?

Fundraising with needle and thread 4c


Post updated September 29, 2019.


63 thoughts on “Fundraising with needle and thread (UK)

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      1. I’m sure I do have photos but I’d have to delve into my old photos albums (not digitized) to find them. I recall trying to make a skirt out of men’s neckties found in a thrift shop and that seems kind of similar to what the woman in your photo did. Clothing in the 80s was more hilariously awful than boring, imho!

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  1. She’s absolutely delightful! I can just imagine the bright colors and fabrics in her dress. It reminds me of a crazy quilt. I almost wonder if one was the base fabric used to create this masterpiece. I hope she got plenty of donations to Help! 😊

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  2. I can imagine all the colours on this fabulous dress! The hat is priceless! I made a quilt once and know how time-consuming it was using a modern sewing machine. She looks so endearing so I hope she received lots of donations. I love the shoes as well.

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      1. I think you’re right about the words on the hat being, Every little bit helps. For me, unfortunately, every time I see that expression, I hear my father saying, “Every little bit helps,” said the old woman as she peed in the ocean to drown her husband.

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  3. Is she wearing a band above her left wrist with letters on it? I seem to see a ‘LLE’ and then perhaps a ‘D’.

    You begin to wonder if this could be ‘killed’ and carried the number of dead soldiers? That is fanciful because those letters could be simply her name.

    Tantalising because nothing about her quilted outfit gives away the purpose of her fundraising. Sarah

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes she is, Sarah. I wondered what the word on the wristband might be. Regarding the time period, my guess would be that the photo predates the First World War by a decade or more. She could possibly have been raising funds for victims of the Boer War (1899-1902). My understanding is that there was quite a lot of fundraising done after that war, and not just for soldiers. But I have to admit I haven’t read much about it.

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    1. It isn’t that early, my guess would be 1890-1910, based on the type of print and the large mount (mat), which became common in the early 20th century but appeared a bit earlier. That said, dating photos can be tricky. I’m wrong as often as I’m right!

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  4. What a fascinating photo. I agree that were this in color we would see bright hues which would draw the eye. I agree with the wording Even A Little Helps. Would love to be able to read the upper writing on the donation box. Would probably solve a lot of the mystery.

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  5. The cross is a version of what’s called a ‘consecration cross.’ Originally the symbol was used to indicate one of twelve places in a church where the Bishop had annointed the walls with oil as part of the consecration of the building. The number twelve refers to the twelve apostles, of course, and the reason for the shape is to distinguish the consecration crosses from the crucifixes found at the altars.

    You can see a whole page of them here. The design varied a bit, but it often was used on vestments, altar linens, and so on as a way of showing they had been set apart for sacred purposes. (In fact, that continues today.) My hunch is that’s exactly the reason that particular cross appears on her donation box: as a way of affirming that any funds collected would be considered consecrated and used for specific, church-related purposes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aha, that makes sense! I knew I had seen the cross before, and thought it was still in use, but just couldn’t place it. The box would likely have been designated for a specific purpose, rather than general church funds. Thank you for clearing up that mystery, Linda! I’ll edit the post and direct readers to your comment.

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    1. Scanning old family photos is both rewarding and time-consuming. I started doing that before I started this blog. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I became interested in collecting old portrait photos in the first place, portraits which had become separated from their families. Thank you very much for your kind words!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much, Thérèse. My readers leave wonderful comments, but I’m still impressed that you’d have the patience to read them, especially since half of them are by me. 😉 By the way, you might be interested to hear that there were some visits last week from Sweden, via Google, to the post about “Female photographers in Sweden.” There were visitors several days in a row. So, there’s some interest in the subject! I keep meaning to read more of the article you sent. (I can paste it into Google translate.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😀 Yes, I love how a photo like this inspires personal stories about clothes and hair and other memories!
        I do hope you find the document interesting! If there’s any trouble with Google translate I can most likely help 😊

        Liked by 2 people

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