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.
Holders are very useful to the housekeeper. Mrs. Stark has a bag with pockets hanging near the kitchen stove and says it makes such a convenient place to keep holders, for they are always at hand ready for use. They can be made many sizes. For the cooking class at school, it is convenient for each girl to have a holder on a tape attached to the band of her apron (Fig. 17). It is always with her, then, for use. This can be done by making a loop at the end of the tape and slipping the holder through the loop. A hand towel attached at the same place is convenient, too.
Fig. 17. - The holder.
Planning, cutting, and basting the holders. Holders can be made from old scraps of woolen cloth, from either pieces of garments which have been worn and cast aside, or new scraps from the piece bag. Six inches square is a good size. Place several squares, one on top of the other, according to the thickness of the cloth. Can you tell why wool makes a better holder than cotton? For appearance we can cover the holder with some pretty piece of chintz or cretonne; perhaps you have in the piece bag some pieces which are large enough. Denim is strong for a covering. A piece of asbestos might be placed inside. Why? Pin all these thicknesses together, with a cover top and bottom. Now baste from corner to corner and from side to side. This is good practice. Make basting stitches of even length such as you made on the towels. Then baste carefully all around the four sides so that the edges are held securely. We are going to bind the edge to prevent it from raveling and to make it strong. Tape is good for binding; and so is a bias strip of the cretonne cover, or of a pretty contrasting color. What does contrasting mean?
Cutting and placing a bias strip. Can you learn to cut a true bias strip of cloth? You have learned that the warp threads are the strong threads of the cloth and run lengthwise of the material. To prepare to cut a true bias strip (Fig. 18), fold the warp of the cloth over so that the warp threads lie exactly on the filling threads. The fold is a true bias edge. Cut through the fold. A true bias edge is made by cutting a square from corner to corner. Does it cut the warp or the filling threads? To make one-inch strips for binding the holder, measure at right angles to the fold you have just cut. Make a dot, and rule a light line which will be one inch from the cut edge. These are true bias strips. Baste the strip or tape carefully around the four sides of the holder, and allow a little fullness at the corner. The edge of the strip or tape should be even with the edge of the holder, and the basting should be one-fourth of an inch from the edge in a straight line for a guide for the next stitch. Miss James showed the girls how to turn the corners by taking a tiny plait.
Making the stitching stitch. Now we are ready for a new strong stitch. It is called stitching stitch, for it is used where machine stitching might be used, and resembles it in appearance on the right side. Ask your Grandmother if she remembers when there were no sewing machines and all Grandfather's shirts were stitched by hand? Grandmother Allen and Grandmother Stark of Pleasant Valley remember.
Look at the picture (Fig. 19) and follow the directions carefully, and you will be able to make this stitch. It is started with two or three tiny stitches, one over the other for strength. The row of stitches you are to make should be in a straight line just below the straight, row of basting stitches. Hold the cloth in the same way as for hemming, with the material over the fingers and the thumb on top. Now you are ready to make the new stitch. The stitch is started at the right-hand end of the cloth. Make a stitch back over the two starting stitches and carry the needle forward twice the length of this starting stitch. You will have a tiny space on the right side between the place where the needle comes up and the end of the starting stitch. Each time your thread should fill this space, for your needle should go back into the end of the last stitch and twice the length forward on the opposite side as it comes up. See the needle in the picture (Fig. 19). Notice the space.
Fig. 18. - Cutting a true bias.
Fig. 19. - The stitching stitch.
Look at your work. What is the appearance of the stitch on the wrong side? On the right side? This stitch is also called the backstitch. Why?
Finishing the holder. Make a row of stitching stitches all around the edge of the holder, holding the binding securely. Be careful to catch the corners well. Remove your basting stitches. Turn the tape or strip over to the other side of the holder and baste. If you have used a bias strip, the edge must be turned under one-fourth of an inch or more before basting. This edge is to be held with the hemming stitch. I am sure that you can all make the hemming stitch by. now. If you wish a loop or long tape for holding the holder, hem it neatly at one side, turning in the end of the tape to prevent raveling. If you have some colored silk thread, it will look well to make tiny stars like this * at the center of the holder and at four places about two inches from the corners on the diagonals. These will hold the materials firmly together.
Other uses for the stitching stitch. The stitching stitch can be used for many other purposes. It is a strong stitch for seams. Do you know what a seam is? Two pieces of cloth sewed together may form a seam. Look for seams in your skirt, in your sleeve, in your waist. Can you find any? Some one tell the difference between a hem and a seam. After this lesson Mollie Stark helped her Grandmother sew some long seams. Mr. Stark's overalls had ripped, and the sewing machine was being repaired.
1. Practice cutting some bias strips. Be sure they are true bias edges. How can you tell ?
2. Try to make the stitching stitch on teacher's demonstration cloth, with the large needle and red worsted.