The Works Progress Administration, established in 1935 during the Great Depression, and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps, established in 1933) were efforts by the US Congress to employ as many people as possible on projects that would provide long-term benefits to local communities. These programs established projects on Ocracoke, including digging mosquito control ditches, building bridges, planting trees, and constructing man-made dunes. I had not heard anything about sewing rooms.
According to FDR, the WPA, and the New Deal Arts Programs, (http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/pdfs/ppDIRwpa.pdf). The WPA also "employed women in sewing rooms in almost every city and small town...[and] distributed the products of WPA sewing rooms to clients on relief."
I also learned that "there was...a sewing room in Ocracoke [ca. 1938] located in a building owned by B.G.O’Neal."
Blanche, of course, remembers the sewing room in the home of Mr. Ben O'Neal, a house which at the time was otherwise vacant. Mr. Ben's house is now the Ocracoke Pizza Company building. In 1938 it sat where Spencer's Market is today. The house was eventually rented to Mr. Dan Tolson and his wife Sabra Howard Tolson, and the sewing room was moved across the lane to a room in the home of Lorena and Bert Williams (that house [now dubbed "Horatio Too"] was moved to Oyster Creek a number of years ago during construction of the Boyette House Motel [now condos]).
Blanche remembers that about 5 or 6 women worked in the sewing room. For a short while, she says, free lunches were also served in the schoolhouse.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of windmills on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012113.htm.