This section is from the "The Ladies' Work-Table Book: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America" book, by Margaret Vincent. Also available from Amazon: The Ladies' Work Table: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America.
You cut the edge smooth, and divide into halves and quarters, as for gathering. You then roll the muslin or other material very lightly upon the finger, making use of the left thumb for that purpose. The needle must go in on the outside, and be brought through, on the inside. The whipping-cotton should be as strong and even as possible. In order that the stitches may draw with ease, they must be taken with great care. The roll of the whip should be about ten threads.
These should be cut by a thread, and their length should be that of the diameter of the button. In working, the buttonhole must lie lengthways upon the forefinger ; and you begin at the side which is opposite to the thumb, and the furthest from the point of the finger on which it is laid. The needle must go in on the wrong side, and be brought out on the right, five threads down. To make the stitch, the needle is passed through the loop before it is drawn close. In turn-ing; the corners, be careful not to do it too near; and in order that a proper thickness may be obtained, it is necessary that the needle should go in between every two threads. Making button-holes, requires great care and attention.
This resembles a very wide button-hole stitch, and is very neat for the fronts of bodies, where it has a very pretty appearance; likewise for the bands and the shoulder bits, and above the broad hems and tucks of frocks.
In making this stitch, you are to employ union cord, bobbin, or braid, whichever you think most suitable. Make a knot at the end, and draw it through to the right side. While you put in the needle, let the end hang loose, and bring it out below, so as to incline a little towards the left hand. Pass your needle over the cord, as you draw it out, and this will form a loop. In drawing out the mesh, you must be careful not to draw the stitch too tight, as that would destroy the effect. You proceed in the same manner to form the next, and each succeeding loop ; taking care to put the needle in a little higher, and rather more to the right than in the preceding stitch, so that each loop begins within the lower part of the one going before it, and you thus produce the resemblance of a chain.
The only difference between this and the common chain stitch, is that very little of the cord is taken up on the needle at a time, and the stitches are far from each other. Its appearance will be varied, according as you put in the needle, to slant little or much. If you should work it perfectly horizontal, it is the same as buttonhole stitch.
This is generally employed in articles composed of flannel, or other thick material. The edge is to be cut even, and turned down once. You work from left to right, thus: Put your needle into the material, and take a stitch of two or three threads, as close as possible, under the raw edge, and bring the needle half way up that part which is turned down, and four or five threads toward the right hand; make another stitch, and bring down the needle; thus proceed until the work is finished. This stitch is something like the back-bone of a fish, and is sometimes used as an ornament for children's robes, and at the top of hems. It looks both neat and elegant, when carefully executed. Fancy Herring-boning. - This is the same as common herring-bone, only it is done in a perpendicular manner, instead of being worked horizontally from left to right; and the thread is brought round behind the needle, so as to finish the work in a more elegant manner. It has an exceeding neat and pleasing look, when it is well executed, and is considered as highly ornamental, in appropriate situations Angular Stitch. - This stitch resembles button-hole stitch, only it is carried from right to left to form the pattern. It is a neat ornament for cuffs, skirts and capes, and children's pelisses. As much of its beauty depends on its regularity, care should be taken to make the patterns very even and straight, and of an equal width ; without due attention to this, the work will be spoiled.
This pattern is a kind of double herring-bone, on each side ; it is too intricate to describle minutely. The engraving will give a better idea of this stitch than any description we could give. Great care being required to keep the pattern even, it is advisable to run a tacking thread down the middle of it, to serve as a guide.