During the Great Depression of the 1930s, sewing rooms, established by President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the Works Progress Administration Women’s and Professional Projects Division became life sustaining work for women. The sewing rooms became the backbone of the division. The sewing rooms were the largest employer in the New Deal–56% of all women working for the WPA were employed in the sewing room projects. Sewing rooms were the largest non-construction project in the WPA, accounting for more than 7% of the total WPA activity. The WPA and the sewing rooms were disbanded in 1943, ending a successful and popular program that gave women not only the means to provide for themselves and their families, but also skills, camaraderie, and a sense of self worth.
Nancy’s extensive research about women and the impact of the sewing rooms has been beautifully translated to her stitched fabric book filled with embroidery floss, silk and metallic threads and vintage quilt pieces.