This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
The cut of the dress may be either kimono (body and sleeves in one), or the regulation night-dress with gathered sleeves; the length of the sleeves and line of the neck may please the fancy of the wearer, or follow some mode prescribed for reason of warmth in cold weather. From the stand-point of wear, it is claimed that the kimono type of night-dress is not as satisfactory, because of the strain on the seam under the arm. This can be prevented by the use of a gusset.
Cotton petticoats for every-day wear under linen or cotton skirts should be flat in finish, so as not to spoil the "set" of the outer skirt. Keep ruffles and fluffiness for the petticoat to be worn under soft silk and lingerie dresses, unless the outer skirts are very wide.
Silk petticoats may be full or extremely plain and flat in finish to meet the need of prevailing fashions in outer skirts. A flounce on a silk petticoat will not crowd an outer skirt as much as the same on a cotton petticoat. Flounces, however attractive, may be made veritable dust-traps, which is contrary to good sense.
It is not difficult to carry out the same form of decoration on drawers that has been planned for the rest of the garments. A flat finish is preferable, but for those who like the drawers to cover the knee, a ruffle set on the bottom of the leg of the drawers admits freer movement of the limbs. This may be of other material than the body of the garment.
2. Cost. - In designing undergarments, as in all other apparel, the limits of the purse must be kept in mind. It is not always possible, neither is it profitable in other ways, to give full expression to the desire for ornamentation. When the amount to be spent on underwear has been apportioned, the necessary ready-to-wear garments provided for, then the number of garments, or sets of garments to be made, must be decided upon, the material, style, cut and decoration planned. Charming effects can be produced with little outlay of money, if one has the time and inclination to spend on bits of hand-work, that greater expense may be allowed for the material in the body of the garment. Never make the grievous mistake of putting all on one garment to the sacrifice of others. It is always a good plan to have a "Sunday best" suit on hand, however, on which perhaps more time and labor, if not money, has been spent. Numerous suggestions for attractive, but inexpensive decorations, will be given later. It is interesting to plan, and see what can be done with the allowance one has to spend. The computed cost of several of the garments shown in the illustrations is given in the "Budget," pp. 13-14 - 15, as a guide in problems involving expenditure for undergarments.
One needs to be very familiar with materials, as to characteristics, quality, price and width, in order to make a wise selection of that which is both desirable and suitable. Knowledge of the use of patterns helps materially in planning designs because one can quickly estimate the quantity of material and trimming required. The fabric to be used affects the plan of the design, and vice versa. If durability is the only basis of our choice, then the design must conform to the characteristics of a fabric which will fill that requirement. If the garment is to be made for occasional wear, with light outer garments, then a finer fabric should be chosen, hence the design must be so worked out as not to overweight the material. If fine material seems necessary and the purse is limited, then plan the design to require very simple decoration. Reference to the list of materials suitable for undergarments, given on pp. 34 and 41, will greatly help in the choice of suitable fabrics.
3. Laundering. - Last but not least in the consideration of the garment maker should be the question of the laundering of the garment. Where there is ample income and it becomes the duty of one person to perform this task, there need not be so much thought bestowed upon it; but when the work must be done, especially the ironing, by some member of an otherwise busy family, an overworked mother, perhaps, or the wearer herself, who is busy from one week's end to another with other work, then indeed should the choice be made of the type of garments that will be easy to "do up" and where possible, a number of the crepe garments that require no ironing at all.
Upon the cut of a garment depends not only its style, but comfort also. Drafted to measure patterns should, if carefully made, embody both features. Discrimination must be used in the choice of commercial patterns. Those which provide a generous seam allowance, furnish clear working directions, and guide one somewhat as to the necessary quantity of material to buy, are to be recommended. One can best judge by trying various makes and comparing results. Then unless the policy of the pattern company changes, one should be reasonably sure in her choice. Sometimes, one make of pattern may prove satisfactory for undergarments, another for outer, and vice versa.