Fashion in Song: Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts for Soldiers (1914)

This World War I song is about Susie who sews shirts for soldiers, but her shirts aren’t very popular with the soldiers. The music was written by Herman Darewski, and the lyrics were by R.P. Weston. When the song was performed as singalongs for soldiers, the tongue-twisting verse was sung faster than last to induce laughter.

Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts For Soldiers
Sister Susie’s sewing in the kitchen on a “Singer”,
There’s miles and miles of flannel on the floor
And up the stairs,
And father says it’s rotten getting mixed up with the cotton,
And sitting on the needles that she leaves upon the chairs.

And should you knock at our street door
Ma whispers, “Come inside.”
Then when you ask where Susie is,
She says with loving pride:

(fast) CHORUS
“Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers
Such skill at sewing shirts
Our shy young sister Susie shows!

Some soldiers send epistles,
Say they’d sooner sleep in thistles
Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews.”

Piles and piles and piles of shirts she sends out to the soldiers,
And sailors won’t be jealous when they see them,
Not at all.
And when we say her stitching will set all the soldiers itching,
She says our soldiers fight best when their back’s against the wall.

And little brother Gussie, he who lisps when he says “yes”,
Says “Where’s the cotton gone from off my kite?
Oh, I can gueth!”


I forgot to tell you that our sister Susie’s married,
And when she isn’t sewing shirts
She’s sewing other things.
Then little sister Molly says,
“Oh, sister’s bought a dolly.
She’s making all the clothes for it
With pretty bows and strings.”

Says Susie:
“Don’t be silly”
As she blushes and she sighs.
Then mother smiles and whispers with a twinkle in her eyes:

(fastest) REPEAT CHORUS[4]

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