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.
Measure one-half to three-quarter inch back of shoulder seam and fold armhole in half; at the opposite point place pins to mark point for front seam of sleeve. Lay shoulder seam to center of underarm piece and fold armhole in half. At the opposite points on the top of armhole, place pins to mark the points between which to distribute the fulness in the top of the sleeve. Lay waist on table, and holding under side of armhole toward you, pin sleeve to place, keeping sleeve easy on under side of armhole. Pin as far as sleeve is to be plain; gather, using double thread, the remainder of the sleeve and distribute the gathers between the points marked, arranging most of the fulness so it will let the shoulder bone set into it. The center of the upper sleeve should come to the top of the shoulder, the lengthwise thread carrying straight down the arm. Baste collar to place.
Try waist on and see that alterations have been correctly made. Remove waist and stitch seams, either inside or outside bastings, according as to whether it is tight or loose; remove bastings, trim seams to five-eighth inch, clip as before to within one-quarter inch of stitching, round the seams at the notches and press seams open.
Slip lining on form to get a general idea of the parts that will need the most padding. Use large sheets of tissue paper, wrapping the form in surplice fashion. Slip waist on form occasionally to see where extra padding may be needed. This work must be most carefully done; no lumps or hollows must be visible, and the whole must be smooth and firm when completed (Fig. 75).
Early problems in draping with practice materials, or directly with the fabrics themselves, like the early problems in designing on flat patterns, may be copied from fashion plates or prints, until some degree of inspiration and experience is obtained, then original designs should be draped; experimentation at all costs, however, is to be encouraged. Study design to be followed carefully, having chosen it with regard to fabric in which it is to be fashioned and its suitability to Wearer. Note all important parts of design, general lines, points of fastening, details of decoration, etc. Become familiar not only with the characteristics of fabrics in general, but with the nature of the grain of materials especially. Pleasing effects in design may often be marred by misuse of the grain of a material. Whenever opportunity offers, handle and manipulate material by way of experimentation'; interesting facts will disclose themselves. A few points by way of suggestion are noted here.
Shirrings and gatherings made across the warp threads make more graceful flounces and ruffles than the reverse, while for some effects (puffings, etc.), gathering on the bias is most effective. In draping it is well to remember that bias folds are more graceful where soft effects are desired. Lengthwise folds of material are desirable where severity of line is sought. They press in well, and retain their shape; on the other hand, crosswise folds present a rounded appearance and do not retain their shape as well if pressed. In silks, soft, unpressed folds are most attractive.
Lay a large sheet of heavy paper on the floor, set the form on this, and let the surplus material lie upon it while working out designs. Use only good pins or needles so as not to mar the fabric, handle it lightly and quickly so as not to crush it. Use as few pins as necessary and do not cut material until absolutely sure the desired effect is secured for that part of the garment. Fig. 862? and C illustrates methods of lifting material in order to secure certain effects in folds of drapery; results are only attained through frequent handling and experimentation. After some degree of success in copying designs has been attained, simple problems into which individual ideas can be carried should be attempted by the designer to increase her skill and encourage the creative instinct. In designing clothing for herself or others, the designer must study carefully the individuality of the wearer, the contour of her face and figure, her mode of dressing her hair, her coloring and then the effect of certain color, texture and lines in relation to these, before planning the design. Each one should discover her own weakness; and then, by study and application, she should correct her faults of attire. If the color sense be weak, study color from every angle; if the appreciation of line and form is at fault, get at the difficulty and remedy it; if it be lack of understanding of fabric and texture, handle all the materials possible; learn to know them intimately, as to their adaptability for light and shadow, folds and drapery. Failure and discouragement more often ensue because of a lack of intelligent understanding than lack of interest in the matter of clothing oneself well.