This section is from the book "Progressive Lessons In The Art and Practice of Needlework", by Catherine F. Johnson. Also available from Amazon: Progressive Lessons In The Art And Practice Of Needlework.
The work laid out for this year includes advanced patching and darning on fine, plain, and figured woollens, heavy cloths, table linen, and silk, - the darning done with ravellings, fine worsted, linen and silk threads. Also stocking-darning.
Pupils of this year can cut and prepare all that is necessary in the sampler work for younger classes, such as cutting small paper patterns, cutting linen for pockets, lengths of flannel, and ruffles from the width of fine cambric. In this way they are learning to handle practically different kinds of cloth, to know thoroughly about the length, width, and bias of cloth, and why it should be cut certain ways for different purposes. They also gain the ability to use their hands rapidly and easily.
The class should study about different materials, such as wool, linen, and silk; explain how they are produced and how made into fabrics. If possible, show specimens in various stages from the raw product to the finished goods.
In patching, the pupil has been taught the importance of matching the patch with the cloth of the garment in the direction of the threads, figures, etc. In flannel the way of the nap, the selvedge, and the right and wrong sides of the cloth must be considered. As the edges of a flannel patch will not ravel, the raw edges can be herringboned to the under side of the cloth, and the raw edges of the cut can be neatly herringboned to the patch, as shown in Figs. 58, 59.
Fig. 61. - Patch hemmed to the right side.
Patching woollen dress material must be done according to the nature of the goods, the tear, etc., and judgment must be exercised in doing it. Sometimes more than one method may be wisely used. Four kinds of patches are described, viz. the hemmed-on (Fig. 61), the stitched-in, the oversewed, and the darned-on.
Darned-on patch: When a large patch is well matched to heavy cloth, it shows less than a small one. Darning is better than a small patch. A thread of the same color as the cloth should be used when patching and darning.
A darned-on patch is used for heavy cloths, especially in mending boys' trousers. If possible, use a patch of irregular edges, as when sewed down it is less noticeable than one with straight edges, and can, with care, often be made almost invisible (see Fig. 62).
Fig. 62. - Darned-on patch.
By fine overcasting of cotton or silk secure the patch to the right side of the garment, the stitch being taken through the upper surface of the edge of the patch. This brings the upper surface of the patch nearly to the level of the cloth of the garment. Then the darning stitches should be taken below the surface of the patch and the garment, never showing on the top. To hide the turning at the end of the lines of darning, take a stitch diagonally (always under the surface) from the end stitch of the line finished to the place where the next line is to begin.
Fig. 63, A.
Fig. 63, B.
Pare off as little as possible of the ragged edges beneath, and catch them down securely to the under side of the patch with herringbone stitch so that the stitches do not show through.
The most important points of instruction are to consider the character of the cloth, the worn place, and the method of mending it.
Darning: To darn a hole in a stocking (Fig. 63, A) or in woollen underclothing (if large), first draw the edges together as near as possible with fine cotton (Fig. 63, B); then make straight lines of darning between the two opposite sides of the hole, and leave a loop of the thread at the end of each line of turning, to allow for shrinking; darn across the hole in like manner at right angles to these lines (see Fig. 64). Each line of darning should begin 1 in. or more beyond the edge of the hole, and at the left side of the worn or thin place. In one line pass the needle over the first thread and under the second, over the third and under the fourth, and so on, and in returning on the next line pass the needle over the threads taken up before, and under the threads left down (Fig. 64). (Illustrate on blackboard.)
If fine woollen thread is used in darning cotton stockings, the darn is much softer than when cotton thread is used. Care should always be taken when darning a worn place to make the lines of stitches of uneven length for the sake of strength. If the lines are of even length the whole strain is borne by one thread in the cloth, which soon gives way. Explain the different kinds of needles used for darning.
To show the necessity of darning before the hole actually appears, it should be explained that darning is a method of renewing the part of the cloth destroyed or weakened by wear, and in some cases is really hand-weaving. Thus, if the darning is over a thin place and not a hole, the work can be made stronger and less clumsy.
It would be well for the teacher to tell the child that, before stockings or woollen undergarments are washed, if a few stitches are taken with fine thread, drawing the torn edges evenly and as nearly together as possible, the hole instead of growing larger will full together at the edges and become smaller; thus the work of mending will be lessened, the mended garment will be stronger, and the mend itself is less conspicuous. Such information from a teacher is valuable for home use.