Amount of Material Needed. - In order to determine the number of yards of material needed for a dress, one often buys the pattern and reads the table to see what amount is specified. However, it is well to be able to estimate for yourself without the help of the pattern. Perhaps you have heard a clerk say, "It will be twice the length, plus the sleeves." Twice the length means that the amount of material required for the dress depends on the measurement from the highest point of the shoulder to the bottom, including the width of the hem. Why is twice this length necessary? The material is generally wide enough so that both sleeves can be cut from one length. If this is true of your material how much will you need for the sleeves?
Why should you decide whether to have long or short sleeves before buying your material? It is sometimes necessary to allow extra material for collars and cuffs, depending on the size and shape of the collar and the width of the material.
Most cotton and linen materials used for dresses are thirty-six inches wide. Estimate the amount of material you will need. Ask your neighbor to measure the length of your dress and sleeve.
Each girl should have her pattern and material ready for the next lesson. The pattern should be bought first. Compare the amount of material required as stated on the pattern with your own estimate.
Altering Your Pattern. - We often find that a pattern is too long or too short. If your dress pattern is too long it should be shortened in the same way as the kimono pattern. If your pattern is too short it should be lengthened, as shown in Picture 1 of Fig. 96. Why is it better to cut the pattern and move it down instead of merely adding it on at the bottom? If your pattern is wide enough at the bottom, will it be correct to cut it off instead of taking a plait in it?
Sometimes dress patterns are too narrow at the bottom of the skirt. Picture 2 of Fig. 96 shows a correct way to make it wider. If the pattern should be too wide at the bottom, how would you place the ruler?
Cutting the Garment. - Every commercial pattern has directions which come with the pattern telling how to lay the material on the cloth and how to cut. These directions should be studied very carefully before the garment it cut. Study your pattern for the following things:
1. Identify the parts of the pattern in the diagram that is printed on the envelope or inclosed inside. Then take out the pieces and identify the different parts of the pattern. Fold and put away any parts that you will not use.
2. Is the pattern the right length and width for you?
3. Are the seams and hems allowed on the pattern?
4. Do you know what each perforation and marking on the pattern means? Each make of pattern has its own system of markings.
5. Most patterns have diagrams showing how to lay the pattern on materials of different widths. Study this diagram showing the pattern laid on the width material that you have. After you feel that you understand how to use your pattern lay out the material and pin the pattern in place. It is a good plan for two or three girls to work together, taking turns helping each other. The whole pattern should be pinned on before any cutting is done. Answer the following questions before asking your teacher for her approval:
1. Is the pattern laid on the cloth as economically as possible? Does it waste cloth?
2. Are the center front and center back laid on a lengthwise thread of the material?
3. Do the markings on the sleeve coincide with a lengthwise thread of the material?
4. If there is a right and wrong to the material is the sleeve pattern planned so as not to cut two sleeves for the same arm?
5. If the material has a plaid or figure be sure that it is folded so that the center front and center back of the pattern come at the center of a plaid or figure.
Making the Dress. - The first thing to be considered is the kind of seam that is suitable. The kind of dress that you are making generally has underarm and shoulder seams finished with the French seam. You have already learned to make French seams. (See page 44.) Baste the seams and try the garment on before stitching to see how well it fits. In making the French seam, will the first seam be on the right or wrong side?
Are You Doing Your Best? - Sometimes we fail to do our best because we do not realize that we are making mistakes in our way of working. It is wise to check up occasionally in our methods of work and find out how we can improve. This check-up should include not only our methods of sewing but our habits of behavior and conduct. The following questions may suggest to you ways in which you can do your best.
1. Do you know how to concentrate? Can you work hard for a given period of time without being disturbed by what the other girls are doing?
2. Do you work steadily or do you constantly interrupt yourself by wandering around the room and doing other unnecessary things ?
3. Do you accomplish something every class period or do you putter away your time?
4. Are you honest in the way you receive help at home?
Do you merely ask to be shown how to do a thing or do you let someone do it for you?
5. Do you help other members of your class to do their best?
6. Do any of these ideas suggest ways in which you can do your best at home as well as in the sewing class?
How to Fit the Dress. - There are three things that should be particularly observed in your first fitting:
1. If it is too full under the arm this fullness may be removed by taking the seam deeper. In trimming the seam it should be slanted out gradually. A good slant can be secured by laying a yardstick along the seam and marking it accurately. (See Fig. 97.)