At the close of the introductory statement a number of references will be found. The purpose of these references is to cite authority to which students may refer for kindred information. Students are often at a loss to know where they may find reading matter pertaining to Domestic Art subjects. The references given in connection with each lesson are not necessarily kindred to the problem set forth in that particular lesson, but they will be found of great value in consideration of the general problems embodied in the lesson.
On the second page of each lesson a number of suggestions for optional modification are given. These pages are designed with the idea of bringing before the students possibilities of developing the idea given in the project, and of encouraging them to use their own initiative in the construction of similar projects. Students should be encouraged to make a great deal of use of the suggestions for optional modification, and from the ideas set forth in these suggestions, they should be required to design and execute as many ideas of their own as possible. No attempt is made to give complete working directions for the different optional modifications presented. Only a mere suggestion can be offered relative to each. The remainder of the work is purposely left for the student to develop.
On the last page of each lesson the working directions are given.
The purpose of the working directions is to guide the student in the construction of the project. It is not claimed that the methods of construction, and the manner of procedure set forth in these working directions, are the only possible ways of doing the work; these directions are given merely as safe guides. It will be found most beneficial to require the students to read for themselves the directions as set forth, and to execute the work without further interpretation from the teacher. This method will not only develop the power of self-reliance and research of the student, but will conserve the time of the teacher for her more important duties. The teacher should assist a student only when that student has exhausted her own resources in interpreting the method of procedure.
Throughout the working directions a great many paragraph references are given referring to the supplement. Each of these references should be carefully studied, for in them will be found halftone illustrations, and carefully worded discussions explaining how to execute the ordinary fundamental stitches and details of the most important processes of plain sewing. After the student has followed these references in a few lessons she will then be able to continue her work without further reference to them except as new processes are introduced. Sufficient references should be made, however, to make sure that no incorrect habits are developed. Throughout the text a great deal of latitude has purposely been offered in many of the processes. Custom has caused considerable variation in the execution of a number of processes in sewing. The practices set forth in this text are such as have been thoroughly tested by many years of teaching experience, and have also been recognized and approved by practical seamstresses.
At the close of each section will be found a list of review questions. The purpose of these questions is to make sure that the students have gathered the most important points from the projects in that section. These questions may be used for written examinations, for oral tests, or in any way that the teacher may see fit. No doubt the teacher will have a great many important questions which may be added to this list. The careful consideration of the questions given will reveal the fact that the purpose of these tests is not merely a matter of examination, but they are designed to develop in the student an interest in home problems, and to inculcate a desire to take part in home activities.
At the close of each section will also be found a number of suggestions for application to home problems. The underlying function of this text is to connect school needlework with practical home sewing problems. In order to do this, every effort is made to bring the home problems into the school work and to encourage the children to carry home the principles developed in the class. Every teacher should encourage her students to bring from home a great number of pieces of work to be used in the class period. There is no reason why much of the home mending, darning and patching may not be done by the girls at school. It is at least imperative that the girls should assist in the work at home even if they do not carry a portion of it to school. Whatever emphasis is placed on the regular lessons of this text, there certainly should be no neglect of the suggestions for home application. Specific directions can not be given for conducting this work; each teacher must be left to her own resources and initiative in working out ways and means of connecting home and school activities. The success of school sewing must be measured in a large degree by the interest which the girls have in home work, and by the results they get in their home undertakings. Girls should be encouraged to ask questions of their mothers, to bring such information to school and to compare that information with the information gathered from their research work. The careful handling of the subject in this way will make it possible for the girls to have the advantage of the scientific information set forth in the text, plus the practical experience of the home. It must be constantly kept in mind that it is not the purpose of the work merely to teach the girls a few needle practices, but rather to give them a broader education in the art of home sewing and to develop their appreciation for this class of life problems.