This section is from the book "Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making", by Helen Kinne. Also available from Amazon: Clothing And Health.
A new way to sew on lace by hand, and an inexpensive way to trim the nightdress.
Did you find it very difficult to turn the narrow hem around the neck of your nightdress? Jane Smith almost cried; but Miss James helped her a little. It is always more difficult to turn a hem on a curved edge than on a straight edge. If the turns have both been made the same width and if the basting stitches are small, there will be no difficulty. After the hems have been turned backwards and creased to the wrong side, we are ready to sew on the insertion. Hold the insertion straight with the right side to the right side of the gown, and with the edge of the insertion to the edges of the creased hem. Now great care must be taken. The overhanding stitch is to be used. You learned this stitch on the bean bags (page 28). In taking the stitch be very careful to put the needle through the edge of the hem, the creased edge, and the lace. The sewing will not be neat unless all these edges are caught by this sewing. This is important.
If one wishes, it is possible to use only the lace edging without the insertion. Sew it to the gown in the same way one would sew it to the insertion. Towards the worker hold the lace just a little full. Sometimes one can pull the thread at the edge of the lace and use it as a gathering thread; but, as not much fullness is required, it is very satisfactory to hold the lace a little full with the thumb as one sews. Small overhanding stitches will hold the fullness as it is distributed evenly. The right side of the lace is placed towards the right side of the insertion so that the two edges of lace and insertion are over-handed together. Sometimes, if the neck of a gown is too big and one wishes to make it smaller, tucks can be put in groups at the center front or back, in number according to the amount to be taken up. In calculating for tucks, one must remember that the tuck takes up twice the amount of material as the width of tuck desired, and covers its own width in lying flat. If tucks are used to make the neck size smaller, it will be found more satisfactory to put a narrow facing around the neck before trimming.
To seam the ends of lace, make a plain seam on the wrong side. Lay it flat, turn under the two edges together, and hem in a narrow hem.
A pretty way to finish the edges of neck and sleeves is with bias bands. Cut strips as for the pot holder (see page 25). White, pink, or blue lawn may be used for contrast. Cut the bands 2 1/2 inches wide. They will look one inch wide finished. Place on the right side, right of lawn to right of gown. Make 1/4 inch seam and stitch. Turn to wrong side. Turn under 1/4 inch and hem to wrong side. Another way to finish is to baste the band and decorate it with the featherstitch to hold the turning. This stitch is a pretty decoration (see page 120). It is placed on the right side and at the bottom of the band. It should be made with white cotton embroidery thread; #25 D.M.C. cotton is very good for such finishings.
The neckband will need a tape or a ribbon to hold the fullness of the band close to the neck. The binding should be started and finished at the front, and the ends of binding should be turned in (Fig. 60). This will leave an opening where the ribbon can be run in. This is a satisfactory finish and is not expensive. The lawn is 12 or 15 cents a yard; and 1/2 yard will cut enough bands for several girls' gowns. The D.M.C. cotton will cost only two cents a skein. Send for these in time.
Fig. 60. - Nightdress with sleeves set in, and sleeves and neck finished with bias bands.
1. Can you suggest any other finish for the nightdress ?
2. If you should wish to add 3 tucks each 1/2 inch wide at the bottom of your gown and with 1/2 inch space between them, how many extra inches in length would you have to add to your gown length? The Pleasant Valley girls worked this out in their arithmetic class.