This section is from the book "School Needlework. A Course of Study in Sewing designed for use in Schools", by Olive C. Hapgood. Also available from Amazon: School Needlework: A Course Of Study In Sewing Designed For Use In Schools.
Sewing to a little child has a charm, because mamma does it. At first, especially if the child has not attended a kindergarten, it is difficult for the little hands to use the needle, thread, thimble and cloth; but the work is attractive, and in time the obstacles will be overcome.
The first lessons should be spent in teaching the position of the body, holding of the work, threading of the needle, wearing of the thimble, making knots, and fastening the thread (see General Directions). Explain the use of the eye and sharp point of the needle; and that the thimble is worn to protect the finger in pushing the needle through the cloth, the indentations holding the needle firmly. Exercise the children in distinguishing the right hand from the left. After supplying each child with a well-fitting thimble, have them find the longest finger of the right hand, and put the thimble on, pressing it with the thumb. The needle and thimble drill (page 14) should then follow. A drill on the stitch should be given before allowing the children to work that stitch on the squares.
As far as possible the squares should be sewed in connection with the form study, drawing and color-work.
For a demonstration lesson (page 163) the design can be easily enlarged by dividing it into squares, and drawing in the design on the same number of larger squares.1 For this purpose squared paper, with the squares from one-eighth of an inch to an inch in diameter, can be obtained at a kindergarten supply store. The enlarged design can be transferred to cloth by using impression paper. A large bone needle can be used on Java canvas; if this kind of a needle is not easily obtained, a netting-needle can be used by soldering the openings at the ends.
The length of time given to a lesson should depend upon the number of pupils; with a class of fifty pupils some teachers prefer to teach half the class for half the alloted time, while others think best to teach the entire class.
A coarse needle and coarse bright-colored thread are suitable for a beginner to use; finer ones may be used as the pupil advances. A fast-colored thread is necessary, as the squares will generally need washing after being sewed. Different colored thread may be used to show degrees of proficiency. Encourage the children to thread their needles, and as soon as they succeed, allow them to begin their work, or a little praise for success will incite the backward.
1 It is necessary to enlarge the design many times, that the lines and dots may be plainly discerned from any part of the room.
The work should be begun at an advantageous place, and long stitches should be avoided in passing from one point to another.
The first stitch taught is overcasting, as the first work done by the pupil is the overcasting of the edges of the squares to prevent their ravelling.
Puckering the work, especially in running, must be constantly guarded against. To aid in preventing this, explain that the work must be smoothed out every few stitches, and show, on a piece of cloth, how the work will pucker if the thread is drawn tightly.
The more advanced pupils may use the Kensington outline-stitch instead of stitching. A pretty square for the centre of the doll's table-covering or bed-spread may be made by hemming on a design or figure cut from cretonne or momie cloth. Some of the pupils in the higher classes may be able to make doll's garments, patterns of which may be obtained from page 158.
The distribution and collection of the work may be facilitated by having a separate box for each row; each child's name should be written on the back of the work, or the child may write its name on paper and pin the paper on to the work; then, if the work is collected systematically, it can be readily distributed at the next lesson. Some teachers prefer for each child to have a small bag, this avoids fitting thimbles at each lesson.
Fig. 133. - Representing the sphere ; both designs to be sewed with running stitches.
Fig. I34. - Representing the hemisphere and the ellipsoid ; both designs are for running.
Fig. 135. - Representing the cube; both designs are for running.
Fig. 136. - Representing the cylinder; both designs are for running.
Fig. 137. - Representing the square prism, and the square prism and triangular prism combined ; both designs are for running.
Fig. 138. - Representing the equilateral triangular prism ; both designs are for running.
Fig. 139. - Representing the ovoid ; the first design for running, the second design for stitching.
Fig, 140. - Representing the cone; both designs are for running.
Fig. 141. - Representing the square pyramid for running, and the triangular pyramid for stitching.
Fig. 142, - Representing growth and flower; both designs are for stitching.
Fig. 143. - Representing fruit and vegetable; both designs are for stitching.
Fig. 144. - Representing quadrupeds; both designs are for stitching.
Fig. 145. - Representing insects; both designs are for stitching.
Fig. 146. - Representing an animal of the water, and an animal of water and land; both designs are for stitching.
Fig. 148. - Representing a biped and a human being; both designs are for stitching.
Fig. 149. - Representing human beings; both designs are for stitching.