This section is from the book "School Needlework. A Course of Study in Sewing designed for use in Schools", by Olive C. Hapgood. Also available from Amazon: School Needlework: A Course Of Study In Sewing Designed For Use In Schools.
A tuck is a fold made and sewed in a garment for ornament, or that the garment may be lengthened when necessary.
No. 8 and No. 9 needles, No. 50 and No. 90 thread, a sharp-pointed lead-pencil, and a piece of cotton cloth six inches square, having at one side an inch hem sewed exactly on a thread; for a measure, a stiff, smooth piece of paper or cardboard three inches long and half-an-inch wide.
Fig. 55. - Measure for marking the tucks.
1. Put the right-hand end of the strip of paper exactly to the right-hand end of the measure (Fig- 55).
2. One-eighth of an inch below the edge of the paper, with the lead-pencil, make dots corresponding to each line of the measure.
3. Hold the wrong side of the cloth towards you.
4. Half-an-inch from the right-hand edge of the cloth lay the paper on, with the end marked a (Fig. 55) exactly at the sewing of the hem.
5. Holding the paper and cloth even, put the large needle through each dot.
6. Move the paper two inches to the left, and prick.
7. Again move the paper two inches to the left, and prick.
8. Turn to the right side, and, holding the hem towards you, crease by a thread at the first horizontal line of dots.
9. Holding the crease to the light of the window, see if it is exactly by a thread.
10. Make a crease, by a thread, at the second, third and fourth lines of dots.
11. Fold the cloth down at the second crease.
Fig. 56. - Showing the tucks basted.
12. Baste exactly by a thread on the first crease (Fig. 56).
13. Fold the cloth at the fourth crease, and baste on the third crease.
14. With the fine needle and thread, run each tuck close to the basting, taking up as little of the cloth as possible, and passing over twice as much.
Tucks are sometimes made lengthwise of the cloth, and sometimes across the cloth. The width and distance apart are a matter of choice.
The chief difficulty is in measuring and folding them; when it is decided at what distance apart and what width the tucks are to be made, a paper measure can be made as follows,
Make a mark as far from the end of the paper, as the sum of the distance apart and the width of the tucks; make a second mark beyond the first mark, the width of the tucks; make a third mark as far from the second mark, as the sum of the distance apart and twice the width of the tucks; make a fourth mark beyond the third mark, the width of the tucks; continue as for the third and fourth marks. When two tucks have been made, the next can be easily marked by folding the wrong side together at the second tuck, and making pinholes at the folds of the first tuck. The edge of one tuck may form the guide for measuring the next, though it is better to mark and baste all the tucks for a short distance. Narrow tucks, one-eighth of an inch apart, are neat and pretty, but must be made very carefully, as the difference of a thread is quickly noticed.
What is a tuck? What is its use? How should the tucks be sewed? Which way of the cloth can they be made? What is the chief difficulty in making tucks?