Examiner in Dressmaking, Tailoring, French Pattern Modelling, Plain Needlework and Millinery, of the Teachers in Training at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Cardiff, the London Technical Examination Centre, etc. Author of "Up-to-date Dresscutting and Drafting," also "The Practical Work of Dressmaking and Tailoring."
A little blouse something like the sketch can easily be made by the home worker who possesses an old embroidered muslin dress which 'may be torn, or too worn to do duty any longer as a dress. The band at the waist should first be unpicked, so that no creases from the old gathers may show after the skirt has been washed and ironed.
Take a piece of the best of the embroidered part of the old skirt, and tack it over the paper pattern so that the handsomest part of the embroidery may be in the centre-front, cut it off all round to the size of the paper, tack lace insertion on to the embroidery all round the edge, also arrange and tack it on it, as shown in the sketch, or in any other design preferred.
When all the tacking has been neatly and carefully done, the insertion should be sewn on either by hand, or machine-stitched with very fine cotton and a fine needle, on each side of the insertion and as near as possible to the edge.
If it is sewn on by hand, the stitches should not, of course, be taken through the paper, but if machine-stitched, it can be done right through. The paper prevents the lace and muslin getting puckered in the machine, and it can easily be torn away when the work is done.
Remove the tacking threads and paper, and then, with a small, sharp pair of scissors (preferably a pair with rounded points, not to catch the lace) very carefully cut away the embroidery which is under the lace to within about one-eighth of an inch of the stitching. This eighth of an inch is left to form a narrow hem, which should be turned in and neatly hemmed to the embroidery, thus leaving the lace insertion quite transparent.
Cut a strip of paper the length required (plus a hem at each end) and the depth be to the best advantage for the cehtre-front desired for the neck-band, plus half an inch. Crease down the half inch, and slit it up to the crease at short intervals.
A dainty blouse fashioned from a partly worn muslin skirt. Arrange any embroidery there may
Tack the neck of the embroidered yoke on to and round this half-inch turning of the paper.
Tuck a strip of the plain muslin of the dress, with three or four very narrow tucks, leave a space wide enough for a row of insertion, and make another group of three or four very narrow tucks.
Tack this strip of tucked muslin along the centre of the paper neck-band, and tack a row of insertion on the plain muslin between the tucks, and a row at the top and at the bottom of them.
Sew the neck-band in the same way as the yoke was done - either by hand or machine - cut the muslin which is under the centre row of insertion, and hem it back, and hem back the muslin from the top and bottom row of insertion.
If preferred, the neck-band can be made of rows of insertion only. In this case the lace should be oversewn together first with very fine cotton, then tacked on to the paper, and joined to the neck of the yoke. A piece of the plain muslin must now be tucked perpendicularly, for the lower part of the blouse; these tucks must be reversed at the centre-front, as they must not run the same way all round, and they must be graduated in length in accordance with the shape of the yoke. The tucks can be continued until a sufficient number have been made for the length of the sleeves; these are cut in one with the blouse when the tucking is finished.
If there is not sufficient of the old muslin to do this in one piece, it can easily be joined without showing, under a tuck, as often as is necessary.
When the tucking is finished, place it on a dress-stand, and fix the yoke in position on it, being careful to put the centre-front to the little space between the "reversed" tucks. The blouse can be fitted, cut to shape, and the yoke securely tacked on, on the stand, and one sleeve made the required length and shape. And, after the blouse has been taken off the stand, the second sleeve can be shaped from the first.
The insertion can be put on the sleeve in the same way as on the yoke.
All that remains to be done to finish the blouse, is to hem the backs and round the bottom, and to put on the fastenings. If elbow-sleeves are preferred, they can be cut off at that length, and finished off with a band of alternate tucks and insertion to match the neck-band; or, if the neck-band is composed of rows of insertion, the bands of the sleeves can be made of the insertion only.
The renovation of sleeves will be dealt with in the next lesson.