Before learning to sew, it is necessary to know how to cut. A garment must be first cut in shape before it can be sewed together. In a sense, the cutting is as important as the sewing; for if the lines of a pattern are not exactly followed, the edges of the seams will be rough and ragged, and the result will be unsatisfactory, no matter how accurate the sewing.

Materials. - The following materials are required for a lesson on cutting: Scissors; a tape measure or ruler; manila paper.

The implement used in cutting is a pair of scissors.

Scissors consist of two blades, one of which is narrow and pointed, and the other wide and blunt, fastened together by a screw or pin on which they move. See Illustration

No. 1. They should be held in the right hand, preferably with the pointed blade down. The thumb should be thrust through the upper handle and the third finger through the lower, while the first and second fingers should support and guide the tool in cutting.

A tape measure is a strip of painted tape, usually one

and a half yards in length, divided up into inches and the parts of inches. As an intimate knowledge of the tape measure is required to perform the work outlined in the following pages, pupils are urged at the outset to learn how many inches are in a yard, a half yard, and a quarter yard, and what fractional parts of a yard are represented by 27, 18, 9, 41/2, 21/4 inches.


ILL. 1. - Position of Scissors when Cutting.

In learning to cut, manila paper may be used instead of cloth and a ruler in place of a tape measure.

1.   Place the long side of the paper parallel with the front edge of the desk.

2.   Double over, towards you, a strip one inch wide.

3.   Press the edge of the fold so that it will form a crease.

4.   Open the fold out and feel both the inside and outside of the crease. See Illustration No. 2.

5.  Place the paper flat on the desk with the inside of the crease up. (This prevents the scissors from slipping to one side in cutting.)

6.   Cut along the crease, cutting the entire length of the blade. ( Short cuts result in a ragged edge.)

7.  Hold up the cut edge, first vertically and then horizontally to see if it is straight and true. See Illustration No. 3.

8.   Crease the paper in half and quarter-inch strips, following the directions given above.

9.   For practice, cut a strip of paper into fringe, making the threads equal in width.


ILL. 2. - The Inside and Outside of the Crease.


ILL. 3. - Straight and True. (Strips one inch wide.)

Position While Sewing.

Before beginning to sew, attention should be given to the position of the body. Pupils should sit well back in the chair, with heads erect and both feet resting on the floor; the elbows should be held at the sides of the body, and the hands in such a position that the work will be at the proper distance from the eyes.

To Thread a Needle.

A needle is a small, slender, pointed tool usually of tempered steel, containing an eye to carry a thread through a fabric in sewing.

Measure the thread across your chest for the length. Adopt the tailor's method of using short strands for quick work.

Always use the end of the thread just broken from the spool to thread the needle. If the end of the thread is blunt, thin it out with the blade of the scissors and then twist it; if it has a long, thin fibre, cut it off.

Materials. - The materials required for this lesson are: A No. 3 or 4 needle; No. 40 cotton; a pair of scissors.

The Needle Drill.

1.   Hold the needle up in the left hand.

2.   Hold the thread up in the right hand.

3.   Put the thread towards the eye of the needle.

4.   Pass the thread through the eye of the needle.

5.   Carry the thread over.

6.   Make a knot.

7.   Hold the needle up in the right hand threaded. See Illustration 'No. 4.


ILL. 4. - The Needle Drill. 17

To Make a Knot.

A knot is used only in basting, in gathering, in the various stitches used on flannels, and sometimes in sewing on buttons.

1.  Hold the needle threaded in the right hand.

2.   Take the end of the thread between the thumb and the first finger of the left hand.

3.   Stretch the thread tightly, wind it around the top of the first finger, and cross it over the end held between the finger and thumb.

4.   Then roll the first finger down the thumb, carrying the thread with it about half an inch, and with the nail of the second finger push the knot thus formed to the end of the thread.

5.   If there is an end of thread, cut it off.

How to Use a Thimble.

A thimble is a cap of metal worn on the end of the finger in sewing to push the needle through the material.

A thimble to fit comfortably should touch the top of the finger, but should not be loose enough to fall off.

Materials. - The materials required are: A small piece of muslin, in addition to those required in the needle drill.

Thimble Drill.

1. Raise the right hand, holding the needle between the thumb and first finger; bring the thimble finger (middle finger of right hand) into position. Let the eye of the needle rest against the thimble. See Illustration No. 5.


ILL. 5.—The Needle and Thimble in Position.

2.   Lift the left hand with the muslin held over two fingers and push the needle into the muslin; make a stitch.

3.   Draw the thread through with the thread over the little finger.

4.   Do not use a knot in this exercise.

Note. - It is impossible to give the number of the needle and cotton to be used in the various seams, because as the work advances materials change and, of course, needle and thread must change with them.