Sewing Stitches, historical sewing instructions from The Dressmaker, Butterick 1911, New York
(From The Dressmaker, Butterick 1911, New York)



.....Tucks should be marked with a measure so that they will be of even width. Cut the gauge from a piece of cardboard, and from the end measure down the width of first tuck, making a slash and a bias cut to meet the slash. (Fig.24). Make a second cut as shown in Fig.24 allowing for width of space and second tuck.

Fig. 24.  Tucks

It is quicker and more accurate to make a gage of this sort in measuring short spaces, such as hems, tucks and the spaces between them, than to use the tape measure, as sometimes the eye becomes confused at the small marks on the tape, and mistakes are made that will prove quite serious.

For Gatherings, make a row of small running stitches. The stitches may be the same length as the spaces, or the spaces may be twice the length of the stitches. Always begin by inserting the needle from the wrong side to conceal the knot. It is better to slip the stitches along on the needle and not remove it from the material.

Fig. 25.  Gathering

When the gathering is completed remove the needle and draw the gatherings up tight. Place a pin vertically, close to the last stitch, and wind the thread several times around the pin in the form of an 8. (Fig25). This holds the gathers firmly together and facilitates the stroking.

In Stroking or Laying Gathers the work is held between the thumb and fingers of the left hand, with the thumb below the gathering thread. Put the side of the needle well above the gathering thread and press the little plait under the thumb, drawing the needle down. (Fig.26).

Fig. 26.  Position of Needle in Stroking Gathers

Do not use the point of the needle, as it scratches and weakens the material. Continue entirely across the gathers, putting the needle under each stitch and holding the plait frimly with the thumb. Stroke the material above the gathering thread as well as below it to make the gathers firm and even.

Two Rows of Gathers are often used in dressmaking and do not need stroking. A skirt joined to a band, a sleeve set in a cuff or sewed into the armhole, should be gathered twice so that the gathers will stay in the proper place.

The second row is made with the stitches directly in line with those of the first row and one-quarter or three-eigths of an inch below them. (Fig27). If there is much fulness to be gathered, the spaces between the stitches may be lengthened.

Fig. 27.  Two Rows of Gathers

Embroidery Edging Used as a Facing is shown in Fig28.

Fig. 28.  Embroidery Facing

The plain material above the embroidery is applied as the facing. Cross the edging off at the depth it is to extend beyond the garment. Baste the material along the crease so that the seam will come toward the inside of the garment. Then stitch the seam. Now turn the edging down, fold in the raw edges at the top, and hem down as a facing. The facing should be no wider than necessary to make a neat joining.

To Join Embroidery in a Tuck, make several tucks in the plain material above the embroidery if it is wide enough. Then measure carefully the amount for the space between the tucks, the under part of the tucks and the seam. Cut away the superfluous material and join the edging to the garment. Crease the tuck with the seam directly in the fold so that the raw edges will be encased in the tuck.

Fig. 29.  Embroidery Joined in a Tuck

When the materials of the garment and the embroidery are similar, and there are several tucks above and below the seam, the joining is imperceptible. (Fig.29).

A Rolled Hem may be used as a dainty finish in joining trimming of any kind to a garment of sheer wash material. Hold the wrong side of the material toward you, and after trimming off all ravelings, begin at the right end and roll the edge toward you tightly between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, keeping the edge rolled for about one and a half inches ahead of the sewing. (Fig.30).

Fig. 30.  Insertion Inset with Rolled Hem

Embroidery May be Inserted by different methods. When a straight-edge insertion is used, the plain cambric may be cut away at each side of the embroidery. The material of the garment is then cut away under the embroidery, leaving a small seam, which is rolled and whipped to the embroidery as shwon in Fig.30. If preferred a small seam may be left on the insertion as well as on the garment and be put together by a tiny French seam. [Mock French Seam?]. This is the finish most commonly employed.

Embroidery also may be inserted by a machine fell seam. (Fig31).

Fig. 31.  Insertion Inset by Machine

Baste the insertion to the material with a narrow seam on the wrong side. Trim off all ravelings and insert raw edges in the hemmer of the machine, and stitch as in hemming.

Whipping on Trimming is generally done on an edge. If lace, it should be either gathered by pulling the heavy thread which is usually found at the top, or whipped and drawn as in a ruffle. Roll an inch or two of the garment material, place the lace with its right side to the right side of the material, and whip both together. (Fig.32).

Fig. 32.  Whipping on Trimming

Lace may be whipped on plain if preferred, but it must be eased in. Insertion may be inset in the same way.

A Ruffle Used as Trimming may be whipped and gathered. Roll the raw edge and overcast the material [for the ruffle] as far as it is rolled, taking care to make the stitch below the roll, not through it. (Fig.33).

Fig. 33.  Whipping and Gathering

Draw up the thread, making the ruffle the desired fulness. Divide the ruffle in quarters and mark them with colored thread. Make corresponding marks on the edge to which the ruffle is to be attached. Roll the edge of the garment and overhand the ruffle to it, taking a stitch in every whipped stitch of the ruffle.

Methods of Inserting Lace and Insertion, when the material has a straight edge, are shown in Figs 34 and 35. Fold the material for a hem, creasing the lower fold hard.

Fig.34.  Showing Cut for Lace InsertionFig. 35.  Finished Effect of Inserting Lace

Open the hem and baste the lace edge just below the lower fold and stitch. (Fig.34). Turn back the hem and crease the material on a line with the top turning of the hem. Cut to within a small seam above this crease. Fold in the raw edge, insert the edge of the lace insertion and stitch. Turn a second hem, following the preceding directions, baste the other edge of the insertion just below the lower crease and stitch as before. As many rows of insertion may be used in this manner as are desired.

To Insert Lace Insertion in a garment, pin the lace in the position desired and baste down both edges of the insertion.

Fig. 36. Lace Insert

If the insertion is narrow, the material is cut through the center (fig 36); but if the insertion is wide, the materila is cut away from underneath, simply allowing a seam on each side. The edge is turned ina narrow hem covering the line of the basting. Stitch the insertion close to the edges from the right side and at the same time catching through the materila hemmed down.

Insertion above a Facing is first basted in position and the upper edge is finished as shown in Fig.37.

Fig. 37.  Lace Insert above Facing

The facing is generally used when the outline of the lower edge is curved or pointed so that it cannot be turned up in straight hem. The facing is cut to fit the outline of the lower edge and applied as a false hem, as shown in Fig 37. When edging is used, it is basted to the bottom before the facing is added and all stitched in a seam together. Turn under the facing at the line of sewing, baste in position and stitch insertion from the right side.

To Insert Ruffles in a Hem, turn the hem toward the right side of the garment and crease

Fig. 38.  Ruffle Inserted in a Hem

the fold hard. Divide both ruffle and hem in quarters and mark each division with colored thread. Insert the edge of the ruffle in the hem close to the fold (Fig 38) with the right side of the ruffle to the right side of the garment and the corresponding marks together. Baste and stitch one-quarter of an inch from the fold. Turn the hem back to the wrong side of the garment, fold the second turning, baste and hem. (Fig 39).

Fig. 39.  Finished Ruffle on Right Side

To Cover the Joining of a Ruffle, divide both ruffle and garment in quarters and mark with pins or colored thread. Gather the ruffle and baste it to the garment. Turn the raw edges up on the garment and cover with a narrow bias band which can be bought by the piece, with the edges turned ready for use. (Fig40).

Fig. 40.  Band Covering Joining of Ruffle

This finish may be used on either the right or wrong side of the garment. Frequently this finish is used on berthas or scalloped edges that are not lined or faced.

Trimmings May Be Mitered, so that the joining will scarcely be seen. If embroidery, fold it over so that the crease comes exactly in the middle of the corner, taking care to match the

Fig. 41.  Showing Cut for Mitred Corners

pattern perfectly. Crease firmly and cut on the creased line. (Fig41). Place the right side face to face and buttonhole the raw edges together with short, close stitches. Fig 42 shows the finished corner.

Fig. 42.  Mitred Embroidery

Lace may be mitered in the same way, but it should be cut between the cords, not across them. Overhand the edges together, putting the needle back the depth of two cords. (Fig 43).

Fig. 43.  Mitred Lace

Fig. 44 shows the figures cut round the edge, lapped and hemmed around the figure on each

Fig. 44.  Lapping and Matching Lace

side. If a stronger corner is desired, the lace may be mitered in a very tiny, flat hem.

Hemstitching is a line of open-work made by drawing out parallel threads and fastening the cross threads in successsive small clusters. Draw as many threads of the material as desired at the top of the hem and baste it on this line. Hold the hem toward you and work on the side on which it is turned up. Fig 45 shows the position of the hem with the stitching done from left to right.

Fig. 45.  Hemstitching

Insert the needle in the underfold of the hem at the left-hand edge. Hold the work over the forefinger of the left hand, keeping the thumb over the thread. Take up four or five threads with the needle and draw the needle through, holding the thread frimly by the left thumb. At the extreme right of these stitches take a short stitch in the fold of the hem, as shown in the illustration. Now take up the same number of threads as before and repeat. Care must be taken to keep the warp and woof threads exactly parallel, especially in hemstitching a corner where the material has not been cut away.

Machine Hemstitching is a simple way of making imitation hemstitching on the machine as shown in Figs 46 and 47. Fold the material for a hem and cut the garment off one-quarter of an

Fig. 46.  Preparing for Machine Hemstitching

inch above the sewing line. Fold blotting paper or any soft paper to one-eigth of an inch thickness. Place the two cut edges of the garmnt together,as if to sew a seam. Slip the blotting paper between the two edges, loosen the tension of the machine and stitch a quarter-inch seam through all the thicknesses. (Fig 46). When the seam is stitched, cut the paper close to the

Fig. 47.  Hemstitching by Machine

stitching and pull it out. The stitches between the two edges of the material will then look like Fig 47. The edge toward the hem is turned down and the hem is stitched by machine, close to the turning. The raw edge of the garment is turned in and stitched by machine.

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