Materials For Practice

Unbleached Muslin 6x3 1/2 Inches. White Muslin 5x2 1/2 Inches.

White or Colored Cotton

No. 60 or 70.

White Cotton, No. 80.

Needle No. 8. Needle No. 10.


Duster (See No. 4). In combination with other stitches (See No. 23).


For basting, joining breadths of material, gathering and tucking.


It is rapidly executed, strong enough to be used in a seam where the strain is not great, of a form which enables the materials to be drawn up on a thread as in gathering, and easy of removal, as required in basting.

Varieties Of The Stitch

Plain running whether large or small; basting, regular and irregular; gathering, including gauging and shirring.


For Plain Running. Each stitch and space must be of the same length; the stitches follow each other consecutively; the number of threads taken up by the needle depends on the stuff used, and the required fineness of the stitch. For very fine running, as few as two threads of the material may be taken up. Jit is not necessary, however, to count the threads; the eye may be trained to judge the correct length. , The position for holding the work is with the thumb and first finger of the left hand, while the needle is inserted with the right hand. The thimble should be against the needle, the thumb pressed on the needle, and the first finger back of the needle on the other side of the cloth. The left hand pushes the cloth on the needle. When proficient the needle is seldom removed from the cloth during the progress of the work. Unless the knot can be made very small and can be well concealed, it is better to begin without one. In the latter case take a double stitch which may be covered by the first stitch showing on the right side; finish off with a double stitch on the wrong side in the first space back of the place from which the thread comes out; this will strongly fasten the thread under a stitch and will therefore not show on the right side.


For Basting. To hold together two or more pieces of material until a strong stitch can secure them. Begin with a knot. (1) Regular basting is plain running made with large stitches. It is used where careful basting is required (See Fig. 6, a). (2) Irregular basting. The first variety of it is used for preparing for further sewing either by hand or machine, where there is little danger of the material slipping apart and a straight line of direction is of benefit. The stitch consists of one very long running stitch showing on the surface, and a short stitch taken through to the surface again (See Fig. 6, b). The second variety of irregular basting is used when the cloth or some heavy material is to be basted together for machine or hand work. It is stronger than the first variety mentioned. The stitch consists of one very long running stitch and two or more short running stitches. The third variety of irregular basting (see Fig. 6, c), is used in dressmaking, especially in holding material to the lining. The stitch consists of one long slanting stitch on the surface and a short slanting running stitch through the material. The position of the hand in basting is very free as the stitch is long. It cannot be held as for fine running.

Fig. 6.   Running, Gathering and Basting.

Fig. 6. - Running, Gathering and Basting.


For Gathering. To draw up material on a previously inserted thread. By this means fullness may be inserted into a narrow space. In certain garments width of material is required to give the limbs full play, but to keep the garment in place the material must be confined within narrow limits. This is accomplished in gathering. (1) Regular gathering is a plain running stitch. Two or more lines of running stitches of the same size may be so placed that the stitches in one line are exactly above or below those on the other line; when drawn up this form of gathering is called gauging. Two or more lines of running stitches of the same size may be placed one below the other with no attempt to make the stitches in one line fall directly under those in the line above. When this form of gathering is drawn up it is called shirring. (2) Irregular gathering. When the material is to be stroked after gathering, or when a large amount of thick material is to be brought into a small compass, an irregular running stitch is better than a regular one (see Fig. 6, 6). For stroking twice as much material should be covered by the needle on the right side of the material as is taken up by the needle. In very fine material short stitches should be taken; it facilitates the work of gathering if previous to taking the stitches, the edge of the material where the stitches are to go is turned down and creased. Make a knot in the thread and take through the crease the irregular gathering stitch; when this is finished the gathers must be placed. Draw up the gathering thread tightly, and secure it around a pin. Begin at the left side, and with the fingers place the gathers as neatly as possible; then take a coarse needle or pin and carefully stroke every gather straight along the woven threads, pushing it under the left thumb and forefinger and pinching it; no scratching noise should be made, as this shows the material is being injured. The upper part of the gathers must also be laid in place. In some materials the hand stroking is sufficient. The thread should be a little longer than the length of the part in which it is finally to go (when a long gather is to be made, as for a petticoat, the material should be divided into four or more parts and a new thread taken for each part). Fine thread doubled is better for gathering than one single coarse thread as the two are less apt to break than the one.

For dress skirts, gathering is often done on single or double material which is quite thick. In this case two or more lines of irregular gathering stitches may be. taken, the stitches in one line being directly under those in the other, and the gathers drawn into the length of the band without need of stroking. The stitch will consist of a small amount taken up by the needle and a large space covered by the needle so that the cloth will be drawn up in the folds.


Basting. Take the square of crinoline folded into hems on its four sides (see No. 4), and baste down the hems with colored cotton or take a piece of unbleached muslin, 6 x 3 1/2 inches, turn one raw edge along the length into a 1/2 of an inch hem and then turn the same sized hem on the two short sides, making the corners square or, if desired, using the miter (see No. 5). Baste this hem all around near the edge of the fold with an even basting stitch* Across the raw edge of the practice piece of unbleached muslin, 1/8 of an inch from the edge, make a line of fine Running Stitches. Do not fasten off the thread, but cut it one inch from the last stitch. Put a knot in the end and let it remain in that way. Put in another row, 1/8 of an inch below the line of fine running. See that each stitch and space in the second line is directly under the stitch and space in the top line. This will indicate the way gauging is done. If more practice is desired in basting, two long strips of unbleached muslin may be basted together with the irregular basting stitch.

Gathering. Take a piece of white muslin, 5 x 2 1/2 inches, turn down the raw edge about 1/4 of an inch from the top and crease it so as to show the line along which the gathering thread is to run. Double No. 80 white cotton and put a knot in one end. Take through the creased line an irregular gathering stitch (see Fig. 6, b), covering over less than 1/8 of an inch and taking up about one-half of that amount. This will prepare for fine stroking. Draw up the thread and stroke according to the rule for stroking.


Running is one of the easiest stitches for little children to learn. They can make it first on canvas with wool and a tapestry needle in some attractive design (see No. 2), later they can do coarse running or basting on muslin with cotton thread. The stitch is strong enough to make a duster or washcloth by holding the hems with wool or heavy thread or it can be used for seams and hems in soft materials and thus enable the children in early grades to make simple little articles, doll's clothes, or primitive dress. Every lesson should mean something to the children - i. e., basting should not be a mere comparison of the forms of the stitches which may be useful for teachers, but is of little help to children, but they should actually baste in the way such work should be done. The younger pupils can baste together material for the older ones to sew on the machines. The running stitch can be used in combination with other stitches in such articles as aprons or bags (see No. 23), and can also be used for gathering. It is always difficult for young children to take more than one stitch at a time, but they must not thrust the needle in and out as they would in cardboard, but learn to slip it along easily.

The running stitch is often taught by following elaborate, pictorial outlines of objects traced on muslin - this is .not as good a way as those already mentioned. The outlines must be well done if the wish is to show the design. But if the main object is to learn the stitch, the ordinary use of it is a better lesson. When the stitch can be made well enough to use satisfactorily on the design, it is no longer necessary to practice it, hence following the design is a waste of time.

*Colored cotton may be used for basting in the first practice piece of the running stitch, if it is desirable for the eye to see the regularity. Basting which is to be taken out should not be made with colored cotton, as it is liable to crock.