This section is from the "Hand Sewing Lessons" book, by Sarah Ewell Krolik. Also available from Amazon: Hand Sewing Lessons: A Graded Course For Schools And For The Home.
The fabric used for practice in learning stitches is graded from coarse to fine. They are taught in groups of two or three on articles that are suitable for the skill acquired.
The following outline includes such as are easily prepared and will suggest others.
Practice cutting squares and strips of colored paper, rags for weaving and patterns of the models in Part First.
MODEL 1 (Basting) is on a bright strip of calico, with dots 1/4 inch apart, through which the needle passes. It pleases the child, and is something that she can do, and is to do exactly as directed. By the time these stitches are taken, she will know what 1/4 of an inch is, and this knowledge will help her measure with her eyes and to baste with 1/4 inch stitches. The manufacture of cotton cloth is explained and a hand loom is shown, on which is a warp partly woven with wool, raffia, or fine rags to illustrate warp, woof, and selvedge, as they are to become familiar terms.
Practice for Models 2, 3, and 4. Overhanding And Overcasting. Overhanding is the best practice to develop skill with the needle.
Make French hems on towels and light-colored calico dust-cloths. The French hem is basted, turned back to the line for the hem, and overhanded. Overhand the patches for a doll's quilt for first attempts and vary the size by joining four or five, or many more, according to the skill acquired. Turn the edges back evenly 3/8 of an inch, baste in 1/4 inch stitches, and overhand. After this practice in handling the needle, a sofa-pillow cover in turkey red and bright blue calico may be overhanded in strips or squares. The cloth is cut at a garment factory in 2 1/2 by 5 inch lengthwise strips. Alternate the colors and overhand the ends together with four strips in the first row, and a half strip at each end of the second row, to form a brick pattern. In joining the half pieces, care is taken to have the warps parallel. Four strips, 1/8 yard in width, torn across the cloth, will make ruffles for the four sides of each pillow cover, if the corners are left open. Double the ruffles or hem them, gather each with a double thread in two rows of fine running stitches, baste to the cover and sew in half-backstitch. Sew the back on afterward to make the work easier for hand sewing.
Pillow Cover Design for Children's Work. Alternate and overhand three blue and four red 2 1/2 inch squares to form a strip. Four of these strips and three of same size in blue are joined by backstitch, after the ruffles are made. Give lessons in hemming and in running stitch on simple articles. Make the ruffles as above and join the parts of the cover. (See pages, 72, 99.)
Other articles may be substituted to provide the necessary practice in overhanding, if more desirable, and the work may be varied by making sachet, thimble and button bags of silk with silk thread. Make pincushions of flowered sateens or other fancy goods cut square or heart-shaped. Baste the edges separately, lay batting between the sides to fill lightly, baste for overhanding and handle carefully. Make book covers of coarse linen or cretonne. Practice overcasting on ruled paper, cut off, and repeat until some progress is made.
Make Models 1 to 4, and overcast them.
Practice for Models 5 and 6. Running and Tucking.
Practice position of hands, by sewing on a fold of cloth.
Make double or threefold washcloths of cheesecloth. Baste, and join with running stitch, turn, run the opening together, and ornament the edges with two or three rows of running stitch in blue thread. Make initials in running stitch and sew on a hanger.
Baste and run hems in cheesecloth dust-cloths. When finished, baste the maker's name on each, and place in the care of the teacher, to be feather-stitched later as practice for Model 23 (Chain, Feather, Herring-Bone, Kensington,). Make bags of soft material, to hold soiled handkerchiefs, dust-cloths, or the weekly darning. Sew the sides, and spaces for the draw-strings, in running stitch, and overcast the raw edges. Leave an opening on each side for the tapes. Overhand the hems before running the spaces. Run hems on cheap, sheer lawn for handkerchiefs. Make a doll's apron of the same, 6x7 inches in size. Run 1/8 inch hems at the sides, a 1/2 inch hem at the top to be drawn up with ribbon and an inch hem at the bottom. Ornament the latter with a simple design in running stitch. This is made by children in place of the running model, 5 (a) and (b). (See page 72.)
Make Models 5 and 6.
Practice for Models 7 and 8. Hemming. Hem towels and kitchen aprons. Hem blue or red ruffles for the sofa pillows, sheets and pillow cases for a child's bed, and handkerchiefs. A square of 40 inch India linon will make nine handkerchiefs. This is also a practical width for aprons. Hem plain aprons of all kinds, from coarse to fine. Hem the tops to carry ties of ribbon or tape.
A doll's apron of the given size is hemmed at the top to carry a ribbon. The bottom is hemmed on the right side and turned up 11/2 inches to form a row of four pockets.
Make Models 7 and 8.
Practice for Model 9 (Pillow Case). Hem-stitching. Hem-stitch hand towels, bands of scrim for collars and cuffs, sheets and pillow cases of coarse, loosely-woven cotton or butcher's linen for doll's bed, centerpiece and napkins of same material for doll's table, and hem-stitch tray cloths. Ruffles for doll's underskirts may be hemmed or hem-stitched.
Make Model 9 (Pillow Case).