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.
Suitable Materials Albatross. Challis. Cashmere. Henrietta. Serge (fine twill). Diagonal weaves. Whip-cord. Poplin, Broadcloth.
Lining (silk or net). Sewing silk. Belting. Prussian binding.
If the material has no nap (like broadcloth or zibeline), nor up and down, by reason of design in weave or dye (like wool brocades or figured challis), unfold it and lay the cut ends together, keeping the wrong side out and the selvedges even. Lay the pieces of the pattern on the material, according to directions indicated by tracings or perforations, but do not pin to place until you have decided upon the most economical method of placing. With some patterns and materials you may find it to advantage to use the original fold of the material instead of unfolding it and placing the two cut ends together.
Cut all around the edges of a commercial or draped pattern, but allow seams beyond the edge of a drafted pattern. For skirts, allow one and one-half inches on length seams, one-half inch at waist, and the hem plus one-quarter inch turn at the bottom-; for waists, one inch on underarm and shoulder and all length seams; one-quarter inch at neck and arm's eye; allow one inch for turning at center back or front where waist fastens; also one inch on length seams of sleeve, and one-quarter inch top and bottom.
Use tailor basting to mark seams of wool dresses or trace on chalkboard; also for marking tucks, plaits, edges of panels, lines on which trimmings are to be placed. Mark notches with a few small running stitches. In marking plaits it is well to use two colors of thread, one to indicate the folded edge of the plait, the other to indicate the point to which the plait is to be folded over. Be very careful to place a line of basting to indicate center front and center back of both waist and skirt. These aid in pinning the garment together for fitting and also in seeing whether the skirt and waist hang evenly. They are good guides for measurements when fitting and making alterations. Observe great care in marking seams, etc.
If the material upon which you are working frays badly, overcast the edges roughly to keep them in good shape while working. Stay all bias edges, open necks, plackets, etc., with narrow strips of cambric one-quarter inch, to prevent stretching while fitting. Lay these strips flat on the edge of the material and baste with long stitches, being careful not to stretch the bias while placing the stay.
Pin the pieces of the skirt and waist together according to the notches. Observe the general rules for basting skirts and waists keeping in mind that most woolen material stretches very easily and therefore must be carefully handled. If by any chance you may have been so unfortunate as to stretch a bias edge of your material, as for instance the neck of a waist, if you will first run a fine gathering thread through the edge and dampen the cloth thoroughly, you can shrink the edge to its natural size by using a warm iron to press it, drawing the fulness in, but not letting the iron rest heavily on the cloth, repeat dampening and pressing until it has all fulness shrunk in.
Baste the sleeves together for fitting, and collar also. If trimming is to be applied other than cords or pipings, it is well to baste and shape them for trial when the waist is fitted. It is safer to cut trimmings in muslin or cambric for fitting.