This section is from the book "Progressive Lessons In The Art and Practice of Needlework", by Catherine F. Johnson. Also available from Amazon: Progressive Lessons In The Art And Practice Of Needlework.
6. What length of thread should be used? Ans. A thread 10 in. long should be used on the unbleached sampler. (Memorandum to Teacher. Make plain to the pupils how time is wasted by drawing a long thread through the cloth, how work can be better and more rapidly done with a short thread.)
7. How many different colored threads are used for this sampler?
Ans. Three different colors are used. Red, blue, and yellow or orange.
8. Why are these different colors used? Ans. To make the stitches plain, and show how neatly thread can be joined.
9. How can twisted or kinked thread be avoided or remedied? Ans. Kinking can be avoided by not twisting the thread in sewing; if kinking does come, drop the threaded needle while fastened to the work, and the weight of the needle will unwind all extra twist. (Practice for position when sewing, etc. See exercise in first year.)
10. What is the first work upon this sampler? Ans. The first work is basting, with stitches of three different lengths.
11. How is a seam formed? Ans. A seam is formed by basting or sewing together two or more pieces of cloth.
12. What is the difference between sewing and basting a seam? Ans.
Basting is slight sewing, with long or short stitches, while sewing is made with small firm stitches.
13. How is a seam basted for stitching or back-stitching? Ans. It is basted 1/4 in. from the edge.
14. How long are basting stitches made for a stitched or back-stitched seam? Ans. For a stitched or back-stitched seam, make the basting stitches 1/4 in. long and the space between 1/8 in.
15. In basting for seams should the thread be drawn through the cloth after taking each stitch? Ans. No; work with the needle in the cloth throughout its length (Fig. 13).
16. How is this done? Ans. After making seven stitches, the cloth becomes crowded, and then the point of the needle in the cloth should be held between the thumb and first finger of the left hand, and the first four stitches taken should be pushed off the eye of the needle with the thumb and first finger of the right hand; then three more stitches should be made, and those nearest the eye pushed back in the same way, until the seam is basted. Gathering is done in the same way, but with small stitches. (Illustrate on the blackboard.)
Fig. 13. - Basting.
17. Why is it better to baste for a seam in this way? Ans. Because it saves much time, and makes a straighter guide by which to sew.*
18. Is a hem basted in this way? Ans. No, a hem has a straight edge which can be the guide, and the basting line is made 1/8 in. from the lower edge of the hem with one or more stitches on the needle before the thread is drawn through the cloth, making the basting stitch 1/4 in. long and the spaces between 1/8 in. long.
19. How is basting done for oversewing? Ans. The bastings are made for oversewing 1/8 in. below the top edge - the stitches 1/4 in. long and spaces between in. long.
20. Why is basting for oversewing made near the edge? Ans. That the edges may be held together firmly.
21. When a seam is basted, where is the line of stitching made?
Ans. The stitching is always below and as near the basting as possible.
22. Is a knot used in beginning to stitch? Ans. No ; in beginning to stitch the thread is fastened on the under side by one stitch and a back-stitch.
23. What colors are used in stitching the first line? Ans. Yellow and blue are used.
24. What kind of sewing is made under the fourth line of basting?
Ans. Back-stitching is made under the fourth line of basting.
25. What is the difference between stitching and back-stitching?
Ans. In stitching the stitches touch, in back-stitching there is a small space between the stitches (Figs. 14 and 15).
* Fabrics that crush easily cannot be basted in this way.
26. What colors are here used? Ans. Yellow and red are used.
27. How is a stitched or back-stitched seam finished? Ans. A stitched or back-stitched seam is finished by sewing back over the last three stitches.
28. When should stitching and when back-stitching be used? Ans. When much wear or strain comes upon a seam, it should be stitched, otherwise it can be back-stitched.
29. How are running stitches made? Ans. The same way as basting, but with smaller stitches.
30. Why is the needle not drawn through the cloth at every few stitches in making running stitches? Ans. In running for gathering the needle is not drawn out until a certain part of the cloth is gathered or the needleful of thread is used, because the longer the needle is kept in the cloth, the straighter will be the seam and the quicker the work. But in running tucks, where the cloth is double, the needle is taken out every third or fourth stitch according to the thickness of the cloth.
31. How can a broad hem be kept straight? Ans. By using a measure of the right width and basting carefully.
* Stitching, or back-stitching, as it is sometimes called, is the work which the sewing machine imitates so accurately; two definitions are here given, because there are two different methods of working it, - one where strength is the important feature, and one where strength is not so important.
Fig. 14. - Stitching.*
Fig. 15. - Back-stitching*
Fig. 16. - Hem turned.
Fig. 17. - Placing work on the finger for hemming.
32. How should the hem be held for sewing? Ans. The edge of the hem to be sewed is placed over the first finger of the left hand