Every young girl should be taught to do the following kinds of stitch
with propriety: Over-stitch, hemming, running, felling, stitching,
back-stitch and run, buttonhole-stitch, chain-stitch, whipping, darning,
gathering, and cross-stitch.
In doing over-stitch, the edges should always be first fitted, either
with pins or basting, to prevent puckering. In turning wide hems, a
paper measure should be used, to make them even. Tucks, also, should
be regulated by a paper measure. A fell should be turned, before the
edges are put together, and the seam should be over-sewed before
felling. All biased or goring seams should be felled, for stitching,
draw a thread, and take up two or three threads at a stitch.
In cutting buttonholes, it is best to have a pair of scissors, made
for the purpose, which cut very neatly. For broadcloth, a chisel and
board are better. The best stitch is made by putting in the needle,
and then turning the thread round it near the eye. This is better than
to draw the needle through, and then take up a loop. A stay thread
should first be put across each side of the buttonhole, and also a bar
at each end before working it. In working the buttonhole, keep the
stay thread as far from the edge as possible. A small bar should be
worked at each end.
Whipping is done better by sewing _over_, and not under. The roll
should be as fine as possible, the stitches short, the thread strong,
and in sewing, every gather should be taken up.
The rule for _gathering_ in shirts is, to draw a thread, and then take
up two threads and skip four. In _darning_, after the perpendicular
threads are run, the crossing threads should interlace exactly, taking
one thread and leaving one, like woven threads. It is better to run a
fine thread around a hole and draw it together, and then darn across it.
The neatest sewers always fit and baste their work before sewing; and
they say they always save time in the end by so doing, as they never
have to pick out work on account of mistakes.
It is wise to sew closely and tightly all new garments which will never
be altered in shape; but some are more nice than wise, in sewing frocks
and old garments in the same style. However, this is the least common
extreme. It is much more frequently the case that articles which ought
to be strongly and neatly made are sewed so that a nice sewer would
rather pick out the threads and sew over again than to be annoyed with
the sight of grinning stitches, and vexed with constant rips.
If the thread kinks in sewing, break it off and begin at the other
end. In using spool-cotton, thread the needle with the end which comes
off first, and not the end where you break it off. This often prevents
_Work-baskets_.–It is very important to neatness, comfort, and
success in sewing, that a lady’s work-basket should be properly fitted
up. The following articles are needful to the mistress of a family:
a large basket to hold work; having in it fastened a smaller basket
or box, containing a needle-book in which are needles of every size,
both blunts and sharps, with a larger number of those sizes most used;
also small and large darning-needles, for woolen, cotton, and silk;
two tape needles, large and small; nice scissors for fine work,
button-hole scissors; an emery bag; two balls of white and yellow wax;
and two thimbles, in case one should be mislaid. When a person is
troubled with damp fingers, a lump of soft chalk in a paper is useful
to rub on the ends of the fingers.
Besides this box, keep in the basket common scissors; small shears;
a bag containing tapes of all colors and sizes, done up in rolls; bags,
one containing spools of white and another of colored cotton thread,
and another for silks wound on spools or papers; a box or bag for nice
buttons, and another for more common ones; a hag containing silk braid,
welting cords, and galloon binding. Small rolls of pieces of white and
brown linen and cotton are also often needed. A brick pin-cushion is
a great convenience in sewing, and better than screw cushions. It is
made by covering half a brick with cloth, putting a cushion on the
top, and covering it tastefully. It is very useful to hold pins and
needles while sewing, and to fasten long seams when basting and sewing.