This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
The author has been led, through the wish expressed by many students and teachers for a text-book embodying an exposition of technical problems, to place greater emphasis upon the explanation of constructive processes in pattern-making, clothing design, and garment construction, than upon a discussion of the selection of garments and materials, since these latter have been so fully treated in other texts. The subject has not, however, been omitted in this book. Because of the diversity of subjects and time allotment in school curricula, no definite plan of lessons has been suggested in the text. The effort has been made to present fundamental principles through which a variety of problems find explanation. For class-room use, the teacher must make a selection of problems that will best fit into the scheme of her course, and the time allotted to the subject.
Both the economic aim, in teaching textiles and clothing, to train our girls to become more intelligent consumers, and the artistic aim, to train them to appreciate and express that which is beautiful in clothing, should be constantly borne in mind by the teacher.
Textile study affords abundant opportunity to inculcate principles which will tend toward wiser expenditure of incomes, while in the appeal to artistic sense and feeling, lies the teacher's strongest asset in bringing her pupils to conform to rational modes of clothing their bodies. By well-directed study of color, line form and texture, she may lead them to avoid some of the evils of the modes of her day, whether it be lack of simplicity in the decoration of under or outer-garments, extremes in width or length of skirts, sheerness of attire, pinched in waists, high-heeled shoes, or what not.
Girls should first of all be led to appreciate the need for planning how the money earned for their support shall be spent. They should learn to know the necessary articles of clothing suitable for their individual wardrobes. Girls should be encouraged to make out clothing budgets, not only for themselves but for the other members of their families. Each teacher should adjust her teaching to meet the income situation of her class. Two-thirds of American families live on less than $750 a year, probably, and nine-tenths on less than 426 $1200 a year - as the income of the main wage earner. High school teaching should be rational from the point of view suggested by these facts; college classes, classes for business women, etc., require different emphasis as to costs - the clothing budget is typical for these groups.
The making of a clothing budget leads to the study of textiles, through which an interest in the industries that pertain to the manufacture of women's clothing may be established. The teacher must make careful selection of the subject matter for presentation, that no vital point be omitted in instruction.
The study of the selection of garments, ready-to-wear or materials to-be-made, leads at once to the study of design. The teacher should encourage all art tendencies and create an interest in constructive clothing design. Students should be encouraged in the free use of inexpensive materials as mediums for design. They should be allowed plenty of experimentation with dress-form and tissue paper at first, to give expression to such feeling for line and form as they may have; they should also be encouraged to visit art museums, if available, and to study prints and fashion plates, then criticize and reproduce in draping what is pleasing to their sense of harmony of line. For training in the use of color, and texture, fabrics should be put into their hands for experimentation.
Pattern-making and the use of both drafted and commercial patterns may be taught, the number of exercises being left to the judgment of the teacher. It is highly important that pattern making be approached and demonstrated in such way that pupils will soon learn to enjoy this form of constructive work. To teach it anatomically rather than mathematically, is to lay a good foundation for an appreciation of line and form. The constructive processes involved in garment making tend to increase the skill and speed of the worker, toward which both teacher and pupil must strive.