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.
Two pieces of calico, 2x4 inches, in contrasting colors. Two pieces of cotton, 2x4 inches.
(a) Fold back one side of each piece of calico 3/16 of an inch, lay the right sides together, and baste with 1/4 inch stitches. Hold the work in the left hand, between the forefinger slightly curved and the thumb held straight. Hide the knot under the fold, point the needle directly toward you, and sew from right to left. Practice until the stitches are made fine, even, and close to the edge. To avoid knots, after the practice has been given, overcast the ends of the thread with the seam.
Repeat on cotton and overcast.
Use No. 60 red thread and No. 9 needle for overhanding and overcasting the cotton model.
Fasten the thread by passing it under the point of the needle when the last stitch is taken, or sew two or three stitches in the same place.