A new stitch called running and back stitch is very useful for seams (Fig. 25). It is a quick stitch, and it is strong. Let us learn to make it on the seams of the aprons. We shall need it later for other things.

The apron seams are all basted with one-fourth inch seams. The selvedges have not been removed. Some day we shall learn to make a seam which will be sewed twice, and then we shall remove the selvedges. A seam made with one sewing is called a plain seam. The basting is only a temporary stitch.

To sew seams. Hold the material in the left hand over the fingers, with thumb on top. You will sew from right to left. Start with two or three tiny stitches, one over the other, without knot. Pull needle through after the starting stitches. Now take two or three tiny running stitches; they are like basting, only much smaller. As you make the running stitches, the last one is to be twice the length of the others as the needle is pulled through. This is because the next stitch is to be backwards - a backstitch to cover half the space.

Fig. 25.   A new stitch called the running and back stitch.

Fig. 25. - A new stitch called the running and back stitch.

On the side towards you, your row of stitches should look like running stitches; on the wrong side, it will be different because of the backstitch. You should have the stitches in a straight row under the line of basting. The backstitch, which covers half the space left by the running, is twice the length of the running stitch on the wrong side. This will bring the needle up ahead of the stitch and ready for the next group of running stitches. Both seams of the skirt of the apron are to be sewed to within 8 or 9 inches under the arm. Finish with three tiny stitches, one over another. Remove bastings, and press open the seams. Can you not take this home and sew the other long seam there, now that you know how; or can you not do it at the meeting of the Sewing League?

The girls of Pleasant Valley did. Sometimes they sat under the big oak trees on Friday afternoons and had their sewing lessons outdoors.

To hem sides. Hem sides of apron which you have basted, making small stitches. You know how.

To hem bottom of apron. Turn hem at bottom of apron. The cloth should be even. Four inches were allowed. The first turn may be one-fourth of an inch; the second, three and one-half inches. The other quarter inch allowed is for gathering at top of apron. Pin carefully and measure, with a tapeline or a gauge. Can you make a gauge? A piece of cardboard with a notch for one or three inches according to measure desired, is a gauge. The diagram (Fig. 26) shows how to cut a one-inch gauge. Can you make a three-inch gauge, and keep your hems even by following the marked notch? Baste hems carefully after pinning. Hem neatly.

To gather the top of apron. You are now ready to gather the top of the widths. They are to fit into the yoke; and, as they are too wide, we shall have to make them fit. Gathering is done by making two rows of running stitches (small basting stitches), one under the other. This is done on each width with the rows of running stitches one-fourth of an inch apart. Begin with a knot and have your thread a little longer than the width you are gathering. You can then draw the material on the gathering threads, and make it fit the yoke.

Fig. 26.   A gauge for the apron hem.

Fig. 26. - A gauge for the apron hem.

Let us put the finished skirts of the apron away neatly, and next lesson sew on the yokes.

Exercises And Problems

1. Make a three and one-half inch gauge, using a piece of cardboard or a stiff paper.

2. Practice gathering on a practice piece of cloth. See how quickly you can do it, putting in two even rows.