1. Preparation of the Material. - The ends of the cloth must be straightened before placing patterns for cutting. To do this, clip through one selvedge, then with the left thumb on top of the cloth, the right thumb underneath, tear quickly, to the opposite selvedge, which should be cut, else there is danger of tearing the cloth down along the selvedge. By holding the thumbs as mentioned above, the cloth will not twist as badly as it does when no special attention is paid to the method of handling it. When using nainsook or other materials which do not tear easily, draw a thread of the material and cut on the line thus made. In cross-barred material, use a bar or a guide. When the cloth has been torn or cut, lay the cut ends together, selvedges meeting. If the ends seem twisted, pull the cloth diagonally across the ends to draw the threads in line. Repeat until the ends lie together perfectly straight.

2. Placing Patterns on Material. - The cloth should be folded in the way which will admit of the most economical cutting. For some garments, according to the width of the material and the size of the pattern, it may be better to fold it through the center lengthwise, while for others, folding the two cut ends together will permit the most satisfactory cutting. Lay all pieces of the pattern on the cloth, with regard to the directions, as to the grain of the material and the seam allowance; do not pin until satisfied that a correct and economic placing has been followed. Then pin the pattern to the cloth, using few pins, and placing them where they will not interfere with the use of the tracing wheel. Weights or small bags of shot are sometimes used to keep patterns in place while cutting.

3. Cutting. - If seams are allowed on the pattern, cut through both thicknesses of cloth, close to the edges of the pattern; if seams have not been allowed, use a tape measure, holding the division of the measure indicating the width of seam desired at the edge of the pattern, and cut through both thicknesses of the cloth, along the end of the measure which should be moved ahead of the shears. Cut clean, sharp edges on the cloth.

4. Marking Seams. - Before removing the pattern from the cloth trace all seams with a tracing wheel, through the perforations for such, on a commercial pattern, or along the edges of a drafted pattern. Trace also the following:

Corset cover, chemise, night-gown

1. Waist

2. Neck

3. Armhole

4. Hem lines


1. Waist

2. Hip

3. Hem lines

Drawers..................Waist lines

If the material is very fine and thin, trace lightly, so as not to weaken the threads of the cloth.

Basting For Fitting

(1) Corset covers, chemises, night-gowns: Pin the seams together, beginning at the waist line, which should be marked with a colored thread to be removed before stitching the garment, lest a bit remain in the seams and stain the garment when laundered; keep traced lines together, placing pins at right angles to the seams. Baste garment to be fitted with small stitches, so it will not stretch in the fitting and become too tight after stitching. This applies more especially to corset covers and underbodices than to such garments as chemises and night-gowns. Place a row of running stitches one-quarter inch below the edge of the neck of corset covers, underbodices, chemises and night-gowns before fitting; draw thread a little tighter than the edge of the garment; this prevents stretching of the material.

(2) Petticoats are usually cut with gores, which will bring a bias and a straight edge, or two bias edges, together. Lay the straight edge of a gore down on the table; place a bias edge on top, so as to keep the bias from stretching; if two bias edges are being put together, lay the less bias on the table, with the more bias on top; pin seams (pins at right angles to tracing), keeping traced lines together, and having waist, hip and hem lines meet. Sew with small stitches twelve inches below the waist line, so as to hold seams firm while fitting; longer stitches may be used on the other parts of the seams.

(3) Drawers: (a) Open drawers; baste lower seam of the leg, and darts, if any, beginning at the point of the dart, and keeping the tracing together. (b) Closed drawers; baste the lower seam of the leg first, then take the two parts, place the leg seams together, pin from this point to waist on each side, and baste with small stitches. Baste darts (if any) the same as for open drawers. Fitting will be discussed in connection with each problem.


1. Seams. - A seam is a line of sewing joining two or more pieces of cloth, to hold them together. Seams are of various kinds. Those which are generally used in making undergarments are: (a) Plain seam, (b) French seam, (c) fell.