The Organising of Working Parties, and so forth - The style of Garment Required by the Poor - Good Materials and Good Workmanship an Essential - How to Make Petticoats, Overalls and Knickers he busy housekeeper is seldom too busy to spend an hour every week making clothes for the little ones whose mothers have no time to spare. The poor woman is so often a bread-winner that it is difficult enough for her to keep her home tidy, and impossible for her to make and mend.
Some charity workers like to join a guild or party, and to sit at home sewing such clothing as the guild sets its members to make. Occasionally assistance is given in cutting-out, and parcels can be obtained all ready prepared, for workers who take the sewing home to do. Then the task is simple. Good, strong clothes only are required, and the garments should be forwarded to headquarters at a time specified in the rules of the society.
Sometimes a dozen or so of ladies form themselves into a little band and arrange to meet at a centrally situated schoolroom, parish hall, or at the houses of the members successively one afternoon a week, or perhaps twice a week during Lent or Advent.
With such a club or charity work society a small subscription would be asked of each member, so that materials could be bought. It is a good plan also to solicit subscriptions for the cause from non-working members. Many women whose social engagements will not allow them to spend an afternoon in sewing, will gladly lend financial assistance to so excellent a cause.
It is pleasant if the secretary or some prominent member has a room large enough to accommodate the working party; then difficulties with regard to the lighting and heating of the meeting-place do not arise. It is a good plan if each member has the party in turn.
Tea, with plenty of bread-and-butter and cakes, should be served at 4.30, if the working party is held in a private house, but no elaborate preparations are necessary. If the meeting held in a parish room, the little meal is usually omitted, or reduced to the simplest elements which can be undertaken by a caretaker at the hall.
A good, firm table without a cloth should be provided for cutting-out, and much confusion is saved if there is but one cutter. Complicated patterns and a diversity in the style of the garments will be thus avoided.
Materials of good quality only should be used; it is cruel to give to women who move about much in the performance of hard bodily work, shoddy garments which wear through directly. Ruskin advised that in working for charity only the best stuffs should be used, and if good enough quality could not be obtained it should be specially woven.
Few charity work guilds could undertake to obtain specially woven stuffs, but all can strive to. work only upon material which is sound, pure, and durable.
One or two sewing machines will prove invaluable for joining up long seams. The day has passed when hand-work was considered the only desirable type, and many women consider it a waste of time to sew tucks and seams in useful garments by hand, and reserve hand-work for ornamental stitching, such as the tiny tucks in an ornamental nightdress or cambric camisole.
For buttonholes, strong, good work by hand, of course, is essential, and since comparatively good needlewomen often profess inability to make serviceable buttonholes, it is an excellent plan to instal one member as buttonhole-maker-in-chief. This ensures uniformity and good workmanship, but tact will be required in arranging the matter.
The sewing on of buttons is another subject which should receive special attention. Two or three fairy stitches ever so neatly set in with No. 60 cotton, are of no use to the mother of a family who has to delegate the fastening of the children's clothes to the children themselves. Let good stoutthread, plenty of stitching, and sound fastening off of the thread be given to all button sewing.
The only joining necessary is the back seam and the insertion of piece for the crown.
The front of hood is simply folded back
When making a petticoat for charitable purposes, plenty of fulness should be allowed. Women who wash, iron, sweep, and scrub throughout the day do not want their movements hampered. Warmth, moreover, should be considered more than fashion.
The circular band should be cut double. Therefore fold the material (stout calico or twill) selvedge to selvedge, and put the centre of the band to the fold when cutting.
Make a large placket - foi a working woman nine or ten inches for a four-inch circular band is not too much - and a small piece of tape should be firmly sewn across the bottom of placket, to prevent the possibility of tearing. A deep hem and one or two wide tucks greatly increase the warmth and durability of the garment.
For charity petticoats there are many suitable materials.
Flannel, serge, cloth are good if warmth is required, and for petticoats of the cotton type, galatea and shirting wear excellently. Print, sateen, and calico are not suitable for charity purposes.
A Child's Overall
Overalls are easily made, but a little explanation is necessary. As shown in the illustration, the fulness, two and a half widths of 28-inch material, is gathered into a yoke. The width of a pinafore or overall should always allow of the free movement of the little one's legs. Such garments are of special use during play-time, and the sleeve coverings enhance the value of the garment by preserving the dress from dirt or damage.
Overalls are sometimes called couvres. miseres by charity workers abroad, and the pathetic name tells its own story in suggesting the pride of the very poor, and their reluctance in showing to the world their extreme poverty.
Knickers are useless to a child if they are too long in the legs but they should always be large and full at the back. For a child of two-and-a-half to four years old
13 1/2 to 20 inches would be correct by measurement. Roughly, the amount of material necessary for a pair of knickers is twice the length of the leg. The bands can be taken from the sides after the legs are cut. If a circular band is made, about half a yard extra stuff is required; circular bands should always be cut when making knickers of adult size for charity work, as the working woman needs plenty of room for the free movement of her limbs.
Knickers for a child of two and a half years
The seat part of a child's knickers should be three-quarters of the whole length; for adults, two-thirds only.
For an infant a very simply made wrap can be fashioned from one yard of Saxony flannel. Scallop the edges, and buttonhole - stitch round in wool. Slightly round off one corner, and arrange a slot for ribbon, as shown in the illustration. Insert three separate lengths of ribbon, one passing over the front to tie under the baby's chin, the remaining two lengths being secured to the flannel and tied behind to draw into the neck.
The hood, which should be lined for the sake of warmth, is one of the simplest shapes to make, a short length of some soft woollen material being sufficient.
A simple hood made with two pieces of cloth
Child's overall, which may be used as a dress in warm weather