Have you ever bought a real pattern and tried to use it? Mar-jorie Allen says she thinks sometimes it is quite like a puzzle. Let us learn how to cut our petticoats from a real pattern.

Can you cut a pattern? Perhaps you have cut patterns for sister's dolls' clothing (Fig. 33). This is probably how you did it. You pinned the paper to the doll's body or held it in place while you cut around the armhole, across the shoulder, under the chin for the curved neck, and then you cut the other shoulder and armhole in the same way. Under the arm you made a slanting cut towards the feet so the dress or apron would be wider at the bottom. Try this if you have never done it. It is good fun. Marjorie dressed a doll for little Alice when she was sick, and cut the pattern in this way. This is a free and easy way to make patterns. Some dressmakers make patterns in this way and do not have to send to the store for a pattern.

Fig. 33.   Learning to cut a free hand pattern.

Fig. 33. - Learning to cut a free-hand pattern.

Shall we send for a pattern? Patterns are bought by age or by measure: a nightdress, drawers, or a skirt pattern is ordered for fourteen year age; a shirtwaist for 34 inch bust measure. Patterns sometimes give other measures; a dress skirt may state the waist measure, the length of skirt, and the measure around the hips. For children and for young girls, the patterns can nearly always be bought according to age; but, as some girls are large for their age and some small, Miss James will have to help order the right sizes.

Many good magazines offer patterns for sale. There are, also, stores or firms which make a business of selling nothing but patterns. Some patterns are better than others. The simplest are usually the best, if the figure and its proportions have been kept in mind.

Let us open our skirt pattern. We have bought two: one a 12-year size, and one a 14-year. The smaller girls may use the 12-year size, and the larger girls the 14-year size. How many pieces are there for this pattern? Barbara stood before the class, and Julia held the pieces where she thought they would belong in the skirt. Yes, surely the strip is for the belt or band. Is it long enough? No, only half. What are the other two pieces? Yes, one is for the back. Is it large enough? No, only half. Only one piece is left. It must be the front. Is it large enough? Many patterns are made, giving only half a front or half a belt. Such pieces must be cut double when you wish to have the front or belt in one piece. The way to do this is to pin the pattern on a folded edge of the cloth. We will know if we consult the perforations on the pattern, and the printed directions. We must do this, then, in cutting the front. Let us hold the pattern to the light. What do you see? Why do you suppose the little holes or perforations have been arranged in groups or straight rows? Barbara said she could not understand why. It is all a secret which the description on the pattern will tell. To-day we shall learn two things:

1. How to tell which portion of the pattern is to be placed on the warp of the cloth.

2. When to place the half pattern on a folded edge, so as to cut the portion in one piece instead of in half a piece like the pattern.

The pattern may say the long line of single perforations is to be placed on the warp threads. Can you do that when we begin to cut? You will have to be careful to find the warp and to lay the pattern exactly. The pattern may say the group of three little perforations or holes at the edge of the front pattern means that edge is to be placed on a straight fold of the cloth.

Fig. 34.   Laying the pattern on the cloth. Which do you think is the fold edge, A or B?

Fig. 34. - Laying the pattern on the cloth. Which do you think is the fold edge, A or B?

It is wise always to study all the pieces of a pattern. The parts are usually numbered. Can you see how?

The description on the pattern tells the name of each piece. Very often only half of a portion is given. You will always remember now what must be done when that occurs.

It is a good thing always to know each portion and to hold it up to the person to see if it is too large or too small. Then you will understand the parts, before you begin to cut. Sometimes it is necessary to add to the length or to shorten the pattern. Some patterns say allow for seams in cutting, and others say seams have been allowed. What difference will this make when you begin to cut?

Shall we learn to take a few measurements?

Then we can judge if our pattern is too large or too small. It will also help you in sending for patterns.

The bust measure is easy to take. Pass the tape measure under the arms, and over the fullest part of the bust, not too tight; bring it to the center of the back, sloping the tape slightly upward between the shoulder blades.

The waist measure is a snug measure around the smallest part of the waist. For girls this measure should not be too snug.

The skirt measures are taken from the waist line to the floor at the front, at the sides over the hips, and at the back. For short skirts one must deduct from the full lengths the number of inches desired from the floor.

Exercises And Problems

1. Open a pattern and see if you can tell the different parts. Which are to be cut on a folded edge? How are you to tell which way the pattern is to lie on the warp threads?

2. Practice taking a skirt measure; then, a waist measure.