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.
The check of gingham is of assistance to the pupils when learning, as they may be instructed to make a definite number of stitches in each check. The warp and woof of cloth may be distinguished by stretching the edges, that which stretches the least being the warp. Java canvas is excellent where threads are to be counted or drawn. It is better to teach creasing on a lengthwise strip of cloth, as it will not stretch. When the cloth has to be folded crosswise or on the bias, plaiting and pinching should be used. Basting may be easily taught on plaided or striped materials. In basting, where there will be no strain, the thread may be fastened by taking a few stitches one above the other; thus the thread can be easily picked out. In turning a narrow hem, explain that the first fold must not be quite as deep as the second fold, in order that it may lie smoothly.
Overcasting is difficult for children to do nicely, and may be taught on a folded edge. . The proportions in the directions for overcasting are given in eighths and quarters of an inch, as they are convenient for the pupils to follow. Overcasting is often done from left to right. In running and gathering advanced pupils may be taught to keep the needle in the cloth until the seam is finished, pushing the gathers off the eye of the needle as the work proceeds. Explain to the pupils the difference in the use of gathering and plaiting, and that plaiting is used when it is desirable for the fulness to lie flat. Also show, by very coarse gathering, why the longest stitches are on the right side. The strips prepared in the lessons on gathering may be used for those on bindings.
In teaching the button-hole stitch on a folded edge, to young pupils, the following suggestions may be helpful: have the pupils point in the direction towards which they are to work; have them hold up their left hand, then their left forefinger; bring the folded edge of the cloth across the back of the fingers, allowing the tips to show; and hold the end of the fold between the left thumb and forefinger. After the stitch has been learned, it may be practised on a circle of flannel with bright-colored thread or twist. A lesson may be given on working an uncut button-hole, colored thread representing the sides of the slit; this is particularly helpful in teaching the working of the ends. When barring a button-hole, after overcasting, a short stitch taken at the middle of each side will keep the barring in position.
Whipping is one of the hardest class lessons; the difference between rolling and folding should be demonstrated on large pieces of paper. Darning may be easily taught on canvas. A fine quality of flannel is a good material for cloth darning, as it is soft and yielding, and does not ravel. In patching, as it is sometimes difficult for the pupils to cut the hole in the garment by a thread, they may mark around a square cardboard pattern with a pencil, and, after cutting, ravel the edges until they are even. Care must be taken to place the edges of the cardboard parallel to the threads of the cloth. Marking cloth with a lead-pencil should not be encouraged, as the marks are hard to wash out; when it is necessary to use a pencil, a blue one is preferable. After teaching feather-stitching on canvas, a striped material will serve as a guide for the pupil. On canvas-work, crochet cord, apothecary twine, or common twine split may be used instead of worsted. In teaching marking, it is a good plan to have the pupils draw the letters first.
The garment should be shown the pupils and its pro- portions explained before drafting, and instruction given as to the amount of cloth required, the width of the material, etc. Instruction should also be given on choosing materials and patterns suitable to the form of the person, and the use of the garment. For instance, a tall person should not wear stripes or plaits, nor a short person large plaids or many ruffles. Fulness is becoming to a thin form, and dark colors apparently decrease the size of a fleshy person.
Where measurements are given, as in the child's drawers, call a pupil of appropriate size forward, and take the measures before the school.
Fig. 113. - Misses' underwaist.
Fig. 113 represents a Misses' underwaist, bust measure thirty-two inches. By re-drawing in one-inch squares the exact size (not allowing for seams) will be obtained, and may be used as a demonstration lesson to show the different parts of a waist, their size, shape, and proportion, also to show how the parts should join; notches may be made at the waist-line or at the top as preferred.
Squared paper is of great assistance in drafting; a miniature pattern may be drawn by using fourth-of-an-inch squares as inch squares, thus giving the pupils the proportions of the garment. Doll's patterns are convenient, as they take up less room, yet give the pupils the shape and proportions of the garment, and show how the seams should be placed together. One of the first lessons in cutting may be a doll's two-breadth apron, cut from old exercise paper; the paper may also be used for the bib.
The pupils should be allowed to take home the patterns they draft, as they are appreciated by the parents.
Many teachers think that dress drafting should be taught in the last part of the High School course or in the Normal School. If younger pupils are taught a system of drafting, they often have not sufficient judgment to apply the knowledge gained.