This section is from the "The Ladies' Work-Table Book: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America" book, by Margaret Vincent. Also available from Amazon: The Ladies' Work Table: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America.
These are used as ornaments, or a finish to various articles of dress. The materials are cambric muslin, lace, net, etc, and the manner in which they are made is various. Sometimes they are set on quite plain, that is, hemmed round and plaited up into neat folds, to the width required. At other times, frills are fitted to a band, and the edge that is to be hemmed, is stiffened by rolling it over a bobbin ; it is put on as an ornament to a gown, and is tied with strings at the end. Crimped frills are worn by young children, and look extremely neat. They are made of lawn or cambric, and sewed on to a band. The other edge is hemmed, and the frill is double the size round the neck. The band should be half a nail in depth, and the frill is to be crimped as evenly as possible.
These are worn by persons who have much and violent exercise, and are extremely useful. They are made of strong jean or other material, and sometimes of leather, and may either be made straight, or a little slant, or peaked. Runners of cotton are inserted, to make them more strong, and they must be furnished with long straps of webbing at the ends, sewed on with leather over them. The straps are about three inches in depth.
These are very generally worn, and are shaped in a variety of ways. They are made double, and ornamented with a single or double row of back stitch. They are made to button round the neck, or are set on to a band for that purpose. It is best to cut the pattern in paper, and when a good fit is obtained, cut the cloth by the paper model.
The material is fine lawn or cambric. Sometimes the sides are composed of the former, and the middle of the latter. A false hem is made down the middle, furnished with buttons, as if to open; the neck is hollowed to the depth of a nail, and is plaited or gathered into a stock or band. In order that it may sit neat upon the bosom, two neck gussets are introduced.
Choose any proper material, and form the article by making two legs, set on to a band to fasten round the waist. Set on a plain or worked frill at the bottom. When setting the legs on to the band, place them so as to overlap each other. The band is eleven nails long, and three deep.
This is, in many cases, an indispensable article of female attire. For an ordinary size, you must take a piece of flannel twelve nails wide, and seven deep, folding it exactly in the middle. At two nails from the front, which is doubled, the arm holes must be cut, leaving two nails for half of the back. The front is to be slightly hollowed. At the bottom, cut a slit of three nails, immediately under the arm holes; insert a gore three nails broad, and the same in length, and terminating in a point. Bosom-gores are also to be introduced of a similar shape, and just half the size. They are to be put in just one nail from the shoulder-strap. In making the waistcoat, it is to be herring-boned all round, as are also all the gores and slits. A broad tape, one nail in width, is laid down each side of the front, in which the button holes are made, and buttons set on; the shoulder-straps are of tape, and the waistcoat fastens in front adies" Night Jackets. - The materials are various, including lawn, linen, and calico. The jackets are made of two breadths, and as it is desirable not to have a seam in the shoulder, the two breadths should be cut in one length, and carefully doubled in the middle. The neck is to be slit open, leaving three nails on each side for the shoulders; and a slit is also to be made in front, so as to allow the garment to pass freely over the head of the wearer; the sides are then to be seamed up, leaving proper slits for the arm holes; and the neck and bosom are to be hemmed as neatly as possible. The sleeves are to be made the required length, and gathered into a band at the wrist, after being felled into the arm holes mentioned above. A neat frill round the neck, bosom, and wrists, finishes the whole.
These must be made of a size suitable for the wearer. The following are directions for three different sizes. The length of the gown on the skirts is one yard and a half for the first size, one yard and six nails for the second, and one yard and three nails for the third; the width of the material is eighteen, sixteen, and fourteen nails, respectively; and the garment is to have one yard and a half breadth in width. They are to be crossed so as to be at the bottom twenty-one, eighteen, and sixteen, nails: and at the top, fifteen, fourteen, and twelve nails, as the sizes may require. The length of the sleeves is nine, eight, and seven nails, and the width half a breadth; they are to be furnished with gussets, three, two, and two nails square, and with wristbands of the proper width, and of any depth that is deemed desirable.
A binder of one nail and a half is put down the selvage of each sleeve, which strengthens it much. The gown is furnished with a collar about three nails deep, and of the length required by the wearer; and, in order that it may fit properly, neck gussets of two, one, and one nail square, are to be introduced. A slit of about six nails is made in front, which is hemmed round, and the space left for the shoulders is three, two and a-half and two nails, respectively. The whole is finished with a neat frill round the collar and wristbands. If economy is an object, cut three gowns together. This will prevent much waste of material; an object, by every head of a family, to be constantly kept in view.