Materials For Practice

Flannel, 5 1/2 x 21/4 Inches (two pieces).

Silk A. Cotton, No. 60.

Needle, No. 9.


On flannel skirts, a flannel patch or as decoration. Use. - (1) To hold down hems, seams and raw edges in flannel and other woolen materials, so that they may felt when washed and thus not ravel. (2) A means of lightly holding down materials of all kinds in place of hemming. (3) An ornamental stitch.


Material made of wool is apt to shrink in washing. Ordinary stitches are unnecessarily strong and when used on wool would cause the material to draw after washing. The looseness of the herring-bone, combined with the natural felting of the flannel, makes the stitch a serviceable one for woolen fabrics. The attractive form, easily adapted to various positions, makes this stitch also useful as an ornamental finish.

Rule For Herring-Bone

The herring-bone (also called catch-stitch) is worked from left to right, or away from the worker. It is a sort of cross-stitch taken alternately from side to side. The position is over the first two fingers of the left hand. The form of the stitch may vary greatly in the length of the slanting line which connects the crosses on either side, and also in the distance apart of the crosses. When the stitch is once started the width of it and the relative position of the cross stitches on either side must remain the same. In the most usual form of the stitch the crosses on one side come exactly between the crosses on the other side, so that the bottom of the stitch on one side is directly opposite the top of the stitch on the other. On the wrong side of the cloth the stitch looks like two lines of running-stitches. Begin at the extreme left of the material, and bring the needle through where the work is to begin. In each stitch the needle points directly toward the worker. Make an upward slanting stitch toward the left (or right, as the case may be), insert the needle in the material and bring it out directly along the warp or woof threads in as deep a stitch as desired. Take now a slanting stitch upward toward the opposite side on a line above the point where the work began, and bring the needle out the same depth as the first stitch on the opposite side and on a line with the top of that stitch. Alternately take the stitch from side to side, preserving carefully the same width, the same depth of the stitches and the bottom of one cross-stitch directly opposite the height of the one on the other side. The stitch may be begun with a small carefully concealed knot or an end of thread may be left and sewed down afterward. In a hem a double stitch may be used on the wrong side for beginning, ending, and taking a new thread.

In a flannel patch (see directions) the herring-bone stitch is used over the raw edges of the patch and of the garment. To make the corners of the patch neat the stitch should be turned carefully. (Fig. 42.)

Fig. 42.   Herring Bone.

Fig. 42. - Herring-Bone.

Rules For Seams And Hems In Flannel

Flannel has a right and a wrong side. In making up a garment the ply or nap should run downward. When joining seams, the ply must run the same way on both sides of the seam and the same side of the material must be turned outward (opinion differs as to whether the full ply side of the flannel should go next to the body). The felting property of the flannel makes it unnecessary to make a very strong seam. The running-stitch, with an occasional backstitch, is strong enough. A hem does not usually need to have two turns. The raw edge may be worked across with the herring-bone stitch alternately in garment and fold and be amply strong. The stitch taken in the fold may or may not go through to the right side of the flannel, according to the strength required. In a seam three methods of using the herring-bone are seen. (1) The seam is pressed open and the herring-bone stitch is made on either side over the raw edges. This method is strong and attractive, but takes time to complete. (2) A fell (see directions) is made in place of the ordinary seam and the broad fold is herring-boned down over the raw edge. This is a rapid and usual way of proceeding on ordinary garments. (3) The seam is pressed open and one row of herring-bone stitches placed down the center of the seam. This is a usual way of finishing flannel seams, but is not as desirable as the others, as the real object of the stitch is not accomplished, i. e., to hold down the raw edges of the flannel so they may felt in washing.


Take two pieces of flannel 51/2X21/4 inches. Select either the first or second kind of seam described and put together the two pieces of flannel according to the rule. Cotton, crewel or silk thread may be used for the stitch. It should be made small and neat and should go through to the right side of the material on one side only. Turn up at the bottom of the flannel a one-inch hem and hold it down with the herring-bone stitch. Both sides of the stitch should go through to the right side.


The first practice on this stitch may be on canvas to obtain clear ideas of its shape and size. It may be made in this way by young children. Older pupils may begin on the canvas, if necessary, but should soon practice on flannel. It requires much care to keep the stitch even.

Small flannel skirts or little sacks may be made and finished with the herring-bone stitch.

The stitch is used in a variety of ways. In dressmaking or repairing it is used to hold parts of materials together, such as canvas, velveteen and wool materials to linings. It is used in mending worn silk by making a network of it on the wrong side, and in patching wool materials it holds in place the raw edges of the repairing piece. It is also used in millinery in place of hemming, and in fancy work it has been adapted to a number of purposes, such as shadow embroidery in which the herring-bone stitch is made on the wrong side of sheer material and only the small stitch at each side goes through to the right side. A soft shadowy effect is thus made which adapts itself to interesting designs.

It is frequently called catch stitch instead of herring-bone.