This section is from the book "Scientific Sewing And Garment Cutting", by Antoinette Van Hoesen Wakeman. Also available from Amazon: Scientific Sewing And Garment Cutting: For Use In Schools And In The Home.
The work of this grade usually occupies between five and six months. It is intended for children of from six to seven years of age, although it has been found equally valuable for beginners in sewing of any age.
As this grade lays the foundation of the entire course, it is most important that everything in connection with it should be very carefully considered. It is especially true in this system of sewing, that the value of forming correct habits in the beginning cannot be overestimated.
The first thing to be impressed upon the children is that their hands must be perfectly clean before beginning to sew, and this point should be carefully looked after by the teacher. The pupils should be seated so that the feet may rest easily on the floor. They should sit erect, with the lower part of the spine against the back of the chair, in such a position that the lungs are not cramped, and that the arms can be used with ease, as in the illustration.
It is important that the pupils of the first grade realize how their work is related to that of more advanced grades. The teacher should call their attention to the illustrations of completed garments, the dressed doll, and other attractive work. They should be assured that when they have learned thoroughly how to do the work of the successive grades, they will be able to make all the garments shown in the models and many besides, and will be competent to make clothes not only for themselves, but for others in the family.
Correct Position in Sewina.
In all kinds of work there are certain rules which must be followed to insure its successful accomplishment. In this case these rules are represented by the squares of the canvas, within which the stitches must be taken in order that they may be perfectly regular, and by the precision required in the slant of the stitches and the drawing of the thread. Since these are basic principles, which, when acquired, enable the children to create that which is excellent, they must be strenuously insisted upon.
As soon as the children have learned how to hold the needle and to take stitches, which is usually accomplished in two lessons, they should be taught to sew buttons onto a piece of cloth of two thicknesses. They should then be held responsible for keeping the buttons on their clothing, and encouraged to perform the same service for the different members of their family. They should be led to have a wholesome pride in neat personal appearance, and the value of their clothes should be impressed upon them by means of interesting facts concerning their texture and manufacture.