Examiner in Dressmaking, Tailoring, French Pattern Modelling, Plain Needlework, and Millinery of the Teachers in Training at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Cardiff; the London Higher Technical Examination Centres, etc.; First Class Diploma for Tailoring; Diploma of Honour for Dressmaking; Diploma of Merit of the Highest Order for Teaching; Silver Medallist, London Exhibition, 1900; Silver Medal, Franco-british Exhibition, 1908; Author of'" Up-to-date Dresscutting and Drafting," also " The Practical Work of Dressmaking and Tailoring."

Fastenings - Bones - Prussian Binding - Lute Ribbon - Skirt Binding - Buckram - Stitches Used in Dressmaking - Tacking - Basting - Running - Gathering - Hemming - Stitching - Back-stitching

Patent hooks and small metal rings are sometimes used for fastening placket holes, etc.

The rings must be buttonholed round with twist to match the colour of the dress. The small rings are sold in boxes of a gross, in black or white, at 4 1/2d. per box. The patent hooks are sold on cards, and they can be purchased by the dozen. Patent press fasteners are also used for placket-holes, blouses, etc., and are sold in black or white on cards of a dozen or more.


"Whalebone" or "Baleinette," can be used for boning bodices when desired. Real whalebone is, of course, the best, but this is expensive. It costs from Is. 1 1/2d. per strip of one and a half yards in length, and about two and a half strips are required for a fully-boned bodice.

"Baleinette" is the best inexpensive substitute - it is sold by the yard at about 2 3/4d., or in rolls of a dozen yards at about 2s. 6d. This can very well be used for draped bodices, as the extra thickness of the Baleinette is not observable under the draping, but for plain bodices real bone is necessary.

Horn, steel, and other such substitutes are not advisable, as they cannot be stitched through in boning the bodice, and this stitching through the bone is absolutely necessary, to ensure the proper shaping of the bodice. Bones already cut in lengths and sold in packets, or bones ready cased," are undesirable for really good work.

For boning the backs of evening bodices, whether fastened with hooks or laces, a narrow whalebone should always be used. This can be purchased in strips from I0 3/4d. each, according to the length.

Prussian Binding

This is used as a "casing" for the bones down the seams of bodices, also for "facing" the sewing on of hooks and eyes, for loops on the bands of skirts (by which to hang them up), and for "facing" raw edges, etc., to make them neat. It can be had in various colours, but either black or white should always be used for bone casings, as they should match the "tight-band" of the bodice and the band of the skirt, which are always either black or white. The price of Prussian binding is a penny a yard, or 10 1/2d. per dozen. There is a cheaper quality, but it is too clumsy for bone casing. The twilled side of the binding is the right side, and should, of course, be placed uppermost.

Lute Ribbon

This is a plain, soft, sarcenet ribbon, and can be had in various widths and in all colours from Id. a yard, according to the width. It is sometimes used instead of Prussian binding for bone casings in silk, or silk lined, bodices, for facing the sewing on of hooks and eyes, for binding or "facing" round the basques of bodices, binding seams, "facing" the raw edge of the hem of a skirt (when the material is too thick to be turned in), and sometimes for binding the top of a thin skirt, instead of putting it into a band at the waist.

Skirt Braid And Binding

These are used for preserving the edge of walking skirts. The ordinary plain worsted braid can be had in any colour, and costs from 1/2d. per yard. Another kind is brush braid, but the appearance is not so good, as it makes the skirt look "frayed."

Velveteen binding is sometimes used instead of braid to preserve the bottom of a skirt, which it should match in colour, and if the binding is prepared at home, strips of velveteen should be cut perfectly on the cross of the width desired (from 1 1/4 to 3 inches), the strips being neatly joined together.

N.B. - The method of cutting and joining strips of material on the cross is given in the second lesson on tailoring, with diagrams Nos. 9, 10, 11.

Velvet binding or skirt facing can be bought ready cut in black and all colours from 1 1/2d. per yard, or Is. 5 1/2d. per dozen yards, according to the width.


Buckram is only necessary if the bodice is to be made with a stiff "stand" collar. There are several kinds, but the best is not a heavy make (it is yellowish and waxy-looking, and it is not rolled, but folded double, and two collars can be cut from the width). A small quantity is all that is necessary, as a quarter of a yard is sufficient to cut about six collars. It costs 10 1/2d. per yard.

Stitches Used In Dressmaking

Tacking Basting Running Gathering

Hemming Stitching Back-stitching Slip-stitching

Sewing Overcasting Herringboning Buttonholing

Fancy Stitches

Fanning Feather-stitching

Honeycombing Smocking

Cross-stitch French Knot


Tacking is the stitch used when fixing two materials securely together (after they have been pinned), so that they may be correctly stitched. Cotton of a contrasting colour to the material which is to be tacked should be used, as it is more easily seen and removed when the stitching has been done.

The stitch is made by taking up a small piece of material on the needle, and passing over a larger piece - thus forming a long stitch on the uppermost side (see diagram 4).

Diagram 4   Tacking

Diagram 4 - Tacking

This style of tacking is suitable for fixing the material of a skirt to its lining, etc., and must always be done flat on the table or skirt board. For fixing seams, either for trying on or for stitching, the tacking stitches must be of a more equal size (see diagram 5).

Diagram 5   Tacking for seams

Diagram 5 - Tacking for seams

In tacking the seams of a bodice, or where-ever greater firmness is required, it is advisable to make an occasional "backstitch," so that the tacking may be more secure for fitting. Otherwise the seams would "give" when being fitted, and would be too tight when the seams were stitched.

N.B. - The back-stitches must all be cut before the tacking is removed. For fixing silk or velvet, needles or steel pins should be used for pinning and fine silk for tacking, and every stitch should be cut before removal, to avoid marking the material.


Basting is another method of tacking, but is only suitable for tacking skirts to the lining, or for portions of the dress where large spaces have to be covered - not for seams. The stitch is worked as shown in diagram 6. It should always be done with the material lying flat on the table or board.

Diagram 6

Diagram 6


Running is a stitch made by taking up the same amount of material as is passed over; all the stitches must be of equal length.

If the material is thin and soft, several stitches can be taken on to the needle before the thread is drawn through.


Gathering is very much like running, except that only half the amount of material is taken up on the needle as that which is passed over, thus forming a short stitch on the wrong side, and one twice the length on the right.

If a second row of gathering is required below the first, the stitches must exactly correspond with the row above (see diagram 7), and the two threads must be drawn up simultaneously. If more than two rows of gathering are required, they must be done in the same way.

Diagram 7

Diagram 7


A hem is a double fold of material, and the stitch used to secure the fold is called hemming.

For materials such as linen, zephyr, muslin, cambric, etc., the raw edge can be turned down and firmly creased the whole length of the frill (or otherwise) which is to be hemmed, and if the hem is only to be a narrow one, a second turning the same width can be made, and firmly creased down.

N.B. - Narrow hems need not be tacked, but wide ones (in which the first turning should only just be wide enough to prevent the raw edges from fraying) ought always to be tacked securely first, also hems in woollen materials which will not crease.

The stitch is worked from right to left, the needle must be inserted in a slanting direction just below the edge of the hem, and pushed through just above it. These stitches must be taken all along the hem in a continuous line, a few threads apart, and they must all be made the same length (see diagram 8).

Diagram 8

Diagram 8


In stitching, as in hemming, only one stitch can be worked at a time. Take up a small piece of material on the needle, draw it through, and put the needle in exactly where the stitch was commenced, bringing it out in front of the stitch, leaving a space' exactly the same length as the space covered by the stitch just made.

Work a Continuous row of these stitches, exactly meeting one another and of the same length, to the end of the seam, or whatever is being stitched. The beauty of stitching depends on the uniform length of each stitch, and on the straightness of the stitched line.


The only difference between this and stitching, is, that instead of putting the needle back to meet the last stitch, it is carried only half way back, leaving a space between each stitch, thus forming a broken, instead of a continuous, line of stitching (see diagram 9).

Diagram 9

Diagram 9

Back stitching can be used instead of stitching in any part of the garment where less firmness and strength is required.