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.
Cardboard serves a number of purposes. Narrow strips may be cut and used to illustrate the method of marking hems and tucks. In teaching the sewing of buttons, a large disc of cream-white, ecru, or yellow cardboard with either two or four holes in the center, may be used to represent the button, which should be placed on a gray, dark blue or black cambric background. Bed wool may be used for thread and a long thin nail for the pin to be slipped under the thread in forming the neck when sewing the "button" on. If the problem to be taught should be sewing on hooks and eyes, both the "hump" and the "swan bill" hook and eye can be made of quarter-inch Venetian iron or a heavy wire, or of white or black cardboard and these sewed upon heavy unbleached muslin when demonstrating the process. They may also be cut from white cardboard and used on a gray background. The similarity of the iron to the real material suggests its value. Cardboard serves other purposes. One-half-size patterns, called block patterns, of both skirts and waists, may be drafted and cut from cardboard and used in blackboard work to illustrate the development of various types of skirts from circular and gored models; also methods of changing patterns for various types of figures.
For all types of mounting charts, gray or gray-brown board is excellent. Textile studies may be made most interesting in this way, because the pupils engage in making the charts themselves. Right here is found splendid opportunity for correlation with other subjects of study, geography, history and arithmetic, while the textile and clothing side need in no wise suffer neglect. Cotton, silk, wool and linen industries may be thus intelligently studied, and spinning and weaving as well. Straw making and sewing and all felting processes may thus be illustrated, together with artificial flower making. Problems in planning wardrobes, introducing the consideration of income and expenditure, together with a comparative study of textiles can be made of vital interest. Exhibits of the necessary materials and tools employed in the construction of garments can be mounted in some such convenient way for class study. Cardboard mounts, in large and small size, of drafts, materials, findings, steps in constructive processes, etc., fill an important place in a teacher's equipment of devices. Some schools have found useful, a systematic collection of fabric samples, mounted on uniform cards, four by five inches or eight by ten inches in size with a blank form printed on the card in which is filled in a full description of the mounted sample, its trade name, fiber of which it is made, width, chief uses in clothing, substitute fabrics, etc. In mounting samples on cards, one edge can be glued to the card and the rest left free. All the principal fabrics listed in Chapter II (Fabrics - Facts For Consumers) might thus be secured for a school collection. Some teachers use sets of uniform samples of standard fabrics for identification.
Black blotters, with drawings in red and white chalk, make clear illustrations. Weaving lessons are simplified by the use of model looms made, some from cardboard, others from boxes or wood, from all of which the pupils may copy or originate. From a simply constructed loom made of a pasteboard box, the principles of weaving on the larger loom can be carried out, and the meaning of warp and woof, warp beam, cloth beam, heddle, shuttle and batten may easily be taught.
Large needles should be used in teaching very heavy work, knitting or crocheting. A large piece of knitted material made, of heavy wools, torn away roughly in the center, is an excellent model for teaching stocking darning; and with this may be used drawings to illustrate certain details such as the shape of the darn and the loops on the worn frayed edges to be cared for. Garments or pieces of materials should be at hand to illustrate the difference between woven and knitted materials. For instruction in dress darning, beside drawings and models of completed darns, a simple illustration may be made of heavy wools in two colors, on very coarse basket canvas, which, aside from the lack of a twilled surface, serves its purpose well.
Crinoline may be used as a model for the patching lesson. It creases easily, is coarse, admits of wool sewing, but does not give the problem of matching patterns in stripes or figures. Its best use in demonstration is for pattern draping as a preliminary step to a drafting lesson. For this purpose half-bleached or unbleached muslin or lawn may be used as well. To drape either skirt or waist in cambric, muslin or crinoline on dress form, and while doing so, to trace the development of pattern making from the draped to the drafted type, meantime drawing from the class the differences between the two methods of procedure, together with the relative advantages and disadvantages of the two types of pattern and the steps leading to the draft itself, makes drafting cease to be a "dry as dust" affair, because the student becomes a partner in the reasoning process.
Cambric or sateen, in cream-white or gray, makes a good background for demonstrating methods of placing patterns on materials, altering and adapting patterns, and placing seams of skirts and waists together for basting, because letters in black or white and patterns in contrasting colors, show more clearly to pupils in the rear of the room. Cambric and unbleached muslin are good mediums for trial patterns, for demonstrating, fitting and making alterations. The noiseless quality of cambric recommends it as a drafting surface; it is more durable than paper for the demonstration charts. Circular foundation skirts may be drafted directly upon it, and the gores indicated as on paper, the pattern being used directly for fitting.
Students will advance rapidly if encouraged to demonstrate problems, subject to class criticism. It helps to sustain interest, promotes more careful observation and places some individual responsibility. We are surprised at the results obtained sometimes when a pupil draws in outline, upon the board, or cuts from paper, the model of a garment about to be made a class problem. A simple demonstration frame, an old picture frame covered with green baize, upon which an entire class is free to experiment at times, has given remarkable results through class criticism of the "stitch" formation, as demonstrated by its individual members.
Textile study calls for the use of a great deal of illustrative material in order to make it of vital interest to the pupil. Pictures, charts, educational exhibits furnished by textile manufacturers, samples of raw fiber, fabrics, a spinning wheel, hand-looms, lantern elides (if the school has a stereopticon), or a reflectoscope for reproducing on the screen illustrations from postcards and books, all have their value as means of illustration. Much of this equipment should be furnished by the school.
As illustrative equipment for teaching clothing design the teacher should have collections of prints and postcards, illustrating historic costume, books of illustrations as examples of color schemes, fashion plates, bits of fabrics, laces and ornaments and a variety of fabrics in long lengths to illustrate problems in drapery, with various mediums. The teacher on a moderate salary will of necessity have to make her collection gradually, but unless well-equipped with this material to create in her pupils a feeling for the beautiful in color and texture, she will find herself handicapped in her work. For problems in garment construction, the teacher should have a plentiful supply of models showing various seam finishes, methods of applying trimmings, etc.; these should show the various steps of procedure in each problem.