Instructions in the Preparation of Body Linen


The  Ladies'  Work Table  Book

Page 2

-Page 2 Night Gowns   Page 1 Frills
-Ladies Drawers Flannel Petticoats   The Work-Box Handkerchiefs
-Shifts Petticoats   The Work Room Scarves
-Ladies Flannel Waistcoat Pockets   Aprons Veils
-Ladies Night Jacket Bustles   Caps Cloaks
Ladies Drawers

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.


These are generally made of fine Irish [linen] or calico. They are made either with gores, or crossed. The latter is the neatest method. Two breadths are sufficient for a full sized shift, and gores are cut off, of a given width at the bottom and extending to a point, in order to widen the garment. In crossing a shift, you first sew the long seams; then you double it in a slanting direction, so as to mark off at top and bottom, ten nails at opposite corners; this done, you join the narrow ends together and sew the cross seams, leaving a sufficent slit for the arm holes. There are various methods of cutting the back and bosom. Some cut a scollop both before and behind; but in this case, the back is hollowed out one third less than the front. Some ladies hollow out the back, but form the bosom with a flap, which may be cut either straight, or in a slanting direction from the shoulders. Another method of forming the bosom is by cutting the shoulder straps separate from the shift and making the top quite straight.; bosom gores are then let in front; the top is hemmed both before and behind, and a frill gives a neat finish to the whole. The sleeves may be either set in plain or full, as suits the taste of the wearer. Sometimes the sleeves and gusset are all in one piece; at other times they are separate. In all cases great care should be taken in cutting out, not to waste the material. For this purpose it is always advisable to cut out several at one time. Shifts for young children of from five to ten years of age are generally made with flaps both before and behind. This is decidedly the neatest shape for them. The bottom, in all cases, should be hemmed with a broad hem.

Ladies Flannel Waistcoat

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 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 are set on; the shoulder straps are of tape, and the waistcoat fastens in front.

Ladies' Night Jacket

The materials are various including lawn, linen and calico. The jackets are made of two breadths, and 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 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 armoles; 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.

Night Gowns

These must be made of a size suitable to 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 is half a breadth; they are 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 selvedge 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 introduced. A slit of about six nails is made in front, which is hemmed round, and the square 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.

Flannel Petticoats

These are not only useful, but indispensable articles of dress. Fine flannel is the best, as it is most durable and keps its color best in washing. The length of the petticoat is regulated by the height of the person for whom it is intended, and the width ranges from three breadths to one and a half. The bottom is hemmed with a broad hem; and the top is gathered and set on to a strong band of calico or jean, leaving the front nearly plain. Sometimes a button hole is made, about two nails from the ends of the band, to which strings of tape are attached; these are passed through the opposite holes, and the parts thus brought over each other form a kind of bustle, which makes the garment sit more neatly to the figure. A slit of about four nails is left on the back, which is to be hemmed round, or bound with strong binding.


Petticoats are worn under the dress for the sake of warmth, and also to make the gown hang more gracefully from the person. They should have three or three and a half breadths of the material in the width, and the bottom is made with a broad hem three nails deep, or with tucks or worked muslin. The latter is extremely neat. They are to be set on to a strong band or stock and are to have a slit left at the back, about four nails in length. The skirt may be gathered full all round, or only at the back and front, leaving the sides plain; sometimes all the fulness is thrown to the back. Having shoulder-straps to keep up the petticoats, is a great advantage; but they are unnecessary if a waist or body, with or without sleeves, be set on a band. In this case the body should be made to fit as tight to the person as possible. The band is generally about one nail in breadth. The materials proper for petticoats are dimity, calico, cambric, jaconet muslin, calamanca, stuff etc. What are called middle, or under petticoats are made in the same manner. Those ladies who pursue the laudable practice of nursing their infants and who wear petticoats with bodies to them, have them to open in front.


These are made of any kind of material you please. You take a piece double and cut it to the shape required. Stitch the two pieces neatly round a little distance from the edge. Then turn it and let the seam be well flattened, and back stitch with white silk a quarter of an inch from the edge; cut a slit down about four nails, which is to be either hemmed, or have a tape laid round it on the inside. Set on the strings and the pocket is complete. Some ladies have pockets attached to the petticoat. In that case, it is only a square of calico, about ten nails long and eight broad, set on to the inside of the petticoat as plain as possible.


These are worn to make the waist of the gown sit neatly upon the person. They are made the width of the material and eight nails deep. The piece is to be so doubled as to make two flounces; one four nails and a half, and the other three and a half deep. A case, to admit of tapes, is to be made one nail from the top, and the bottom of each flounce is to have a thick cord hemmed into it. When worn, the article is turned inside out. The materials are strong jean or calico.

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