Some girls may already know how to do the things described in the remainder of this chapter. If so you need not make any of these articles and can prove your skill by making a perfect score on the test at the end of the chapter. Even though you do not make any of these things, it will be a good plan for you to read the following pages. Every girl should be able to make a perfect score in these tests.
Articles with hems and seams on straight edges are easy to make because it is not difficult to cut them out, it is easy to put them together, and it is easy to use the machine on straight edges. If you have not had experience in sewing it will be wise for you to choose one of these for your first problem. There are several things needed about the house from which you may choose: curtains, pillow-cases, sheets, towels, dresser scarfs, sofa pillow tops, laundry bags and shoe bags. If you should choose to make a laundry bag or shoe bag be sure to plan it so that it can be put together easily and requires a minimum amount of handwork.
Straightening the Edges of Cloth. - The first thing to do in making any article with a straight edge is to straighten the edges of the cloth. To straighten the edge of cloth means to make it straight with the thread of the cloth. The quickest and simplest way to do this is by tearing. However, certain kinds of cloth will not tear straight with the thread. In such a case one way of straightening the edge is to fold the cloth carefully on a thread, crease it and cut with the scissors. Another method of straightening edges when material does not tear easily is to pull a thread and then cut where the thread is pulled. Have you seen your mother pull a thread when she was making something for your home? Which of these methods do you think will be most suitable for the article you intend to make?
Plain Seam. - Whatever problem of this type you choose to make you will find that it requires either a plain seam, a hem, or perhaps both. A plain seam is made by sewing two edges of cloth together as shown in Fig. 10. If the material is smooth and creases easily it will not be necessary to baste the seam. The two edges can be pinned together and the stitching done accurately without basting.
Basting. - In case you are using a kind of material that does not lie flat and crease easily it will require basting. This is a temporary stitch for holding the work in place. It is done by taking stitches as shown in Fig. 11. How is the stitch begun and how is it finished so that it will not ravel out? Basting should be done so that it holds the material firmly in place without slipping. Therefore, the length of stitch depends on what is being basted and the kind of material being used. What length of stitch should be used for a soft material that does not crease well?
A Hem. - In case of the hem as with the seam there is no need of basting if the material is firm and creases so that it lies flat. Fig. 12 shows how a hem should be turned and pinned to prepare it for stitching. In making a hem, the first fold is turned to the wrong side and creased. This turn should be from one-eighth to one-quarter inch in width depending on the article. For example, the first turn on the hem of a skirt would be wider than on the hem of a handkerchief. The width of the second turn also varies according to the article. In order to get this turn even, it is helpful to use a little device called a gauge..
Cut the gauge from heavy paper or thin cardboard. Measure from one end and cut a notch at the desired width. Fig. 13 shows how a gauge for a one inch hem would look. The hem should be stitched according to the directions given in the practice exercise for stitching a hem on page 16.
A Thimble. - It is necessary to wear a thimble if you expect to do good sewing. Experts always wear thimbles because it helps them to sew better and more rapidly. The thimble is worn on the third finger of the hand which holds the needle and is used to push the needle through the cloth. The thimble on your finger is like the needle bar on the sewing machine which pushes the needle through the cloth. Even though you are awkward at using a thimble now, you will soon find that you can sew better and more rapidly when you are wearing one. Something to Do at Home. - 1. Ask your mother if you can help her do the stitching when she is sewing.
2. Is there anything needed at home that you can make?
You should be able to use what you have learned about stitching on the machine, making hems and making plain seams.
3. Report to your class what use you have made at home of what you have learned in this chapter.
A Reminder When You Sew. - Of course you have learned that it is best to sit in a good position when you are sewing or reading. It is not that we do not know this but we sometimes forget to do it. We should form the habit of sitting in a good, comfortable position. Do you know what it means to form a habit? Can you think of any way to remind yourself to form the habit of sitting in a good position while you are sewing? This means while you are sewing either at the machine or at the table. And it means that you will remember to do it when you sew at home as well as at school. Discuss with your class what is a good position.