The development in bust measurement of a growing girl between eleven and fourteen is very marked. Sometimes this transition stage, verging towards maturity, comes later, sometimes earlier ; but whenever it comes, mothers should carefully watch that no tight bodice confines the growth.
A girl will sometimes increase as much as one inch in three months, so that the school dress which was fully large at the beginning of the year needs serious alteration if it is to be worn again.
The best way to face the question is to have the dresses of a growing girl made with perpendicular tucks. These can be made extremely ornamental, and a trimming to the dress. When stooping shoulders and a contracted chest warn one that the dress is too tight, and is preventing the girl from allowing her bust full expansion, all that is necessary is to take out the front lining and fit a fresh one ; then let out the perpendicular tucks as much as is required, add a pretty plastron (as illustrated), and the dress which would have been perfectly useless, and must have been laid on one side as " grown out of," is as good as a new one.
Another way is to fit the lining, then cut the dress bodice down the centre, and insert embroidery where the enlarged lining shows. Pieces of the same embroidery will be convenient also for lengthening the sleeves, which have an awkward way of appearing to shrink up the arm of the growing girl.
If the frock is of " best " kind, the neck can be cut down, edged with braid, or one of the pretty half-inch trimmings, and pieces of the same trimming can be used as a step-ladder ornament, so that the gaping of the bodice across the chest is turned into a decoration, a pretty lace gimp being worn underneath. The sleeves should be made to correspond.
With regard to the lengthening of the skirt great care is necessary, for nothing is uglier than a clumsily lengthened skirt, betraying only too plainly how the inches have been added.
Perhaps the worst type of a wrongly lengthened dress is that in which a deep hem has been unsewn and a false hem put on, the marks of the stitchings showing where the old hem has been.
The disfiguring marks can quite well be hidden. Unpick the hem to be let down, very carefully damp and press on the wrong side; then, before sewing on the false hem, on the right side place a narrow braid or trimming exactly over the old stitch marks; continue this all round the skirt. If the crease of the hem shows where it was turned up before, put another row of the trimming, not forgetting to edge the collar and cuffs with the same, so that its use in hiding defects on the skirt may not be emphasised.
Another way to lengthen a skirt applies especially to a girl's party frock. In this case leave the hem alone, and do not attempt to lengthen at the bottom, but cut a strip off the skirt all round seven inches in depth. Measure carefully so that exactly a seven-inch width is taken. Then hem or roll the edge of the shortened skirt, and neaten the top edge of the detached hem portion in the same way. Buy some silk embroidery or lace of the precise width that you wish to lengthen the skirt, seam it at the bottom of the curtailed skirt and at the top of the hem section. This pretty, ornamental entredeux will freshen up the party frock, and give it length at the same time. Sew some of the same trimming round the bodice and at the end of the short sleeves, and the frock will be ready for the growing girl to wear.
Sometimes it is possible with a silk muslin or chiffon party frock to use it as a tunic or overdress, making a plain
A bodice for a growing girl should not be tight. An outgrown dress can be enlarged and the alteration disguised by means of a shaped insertion of lace in the front, or by the addition of an embroidered plastron or by the cutting out cf the neck. In this last instance, the opening can be edged with a pretty trimming, and straps of the same used to afford additional freedom across the chest. The centre figure also shows the use of braid to disguise the letting down of a false hem inserted seven inches above the hem slip of satin or soft silk to wear beneath, which can be made of the required length.
Two ways of lengthening a girl's party frock. The skirt on the left has been used as a tunic, and the necessary length obtained by the use of a slip of satin or silk. The figure on the right shows how a skirt can be lengthened successfully by an entredeux of embroidery or lace
In this case the tunic will probably require a little reduction in length, and perhaps in the breadth also. The addition of a narrow bead fringe of milk-white bugles or silver-lined glass beads serves the double purpose of trimming and slightly weighting the tunic. This trimming should be repeated on the corsage.
A soft rose-petal satin slip would look charming under a white crepe tunic which had been used as a dress once or twice, and then laid aside as uselessly short. A white silk slip with palest blue chiffon over would suit a fair-haired girl to perfection. Such a dress would well maintain its simple character if no elaborate trimming was used. The altered or remodelled frock is sometimes apt to be too much trimmed, but no such defect would be shown in following out either of these suggestions.