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Jlrs. Koss' Tailor System, . $5 «0 

" " witliLmons, 7.00 

Studies in Dressinaliing, - • 1.00 

Extra Instruction Boolis, - - ..50 

Measure Book, 25 

Steel Tracing Wheel 50 

Chalk Tracing Wheel, • • .15 
Satteen Tape I ine, - ■ - • .50 
One Bolt Patent Blind Hemming, .75 
llrafting Paper, per qnire, ■ - .25 
Dress Shields, 25 

A'l the above articles, excepting: Drafting- Paper, can be sent by mail, and 
will be forwarded post-paid to any address on receipt of price. 

Send money, if possible, by Draft, Express, Money Order or Post Office 
Money Order Do not risk money or Postal Notes in the mail without regis- 
tering-. Postag-e stamps of one or two cents denomination sent by mail, will 
be accepted as cash. 


cp^QI^^ NOTICE. J Ladles who have a desire to test our System 
^^—■^^^^-i— i—ii—ii^^^"""""""™' by cutting a dress from a pattern drafted 
by it, can. by taking- their measure as directed, and sending to us, be furnished 
with a Traced Lining ready to be basted to the dress goods. If your measure is 
correct, the garment will fit perfectly. 

Measure for waist as follows: Collar size, length of back, length of front, 
and length under arm (from waist line), size around hip, waist and bust, 
width of chest between front armscyes, width of back between armscyes, 
length of sleeve. All round measures must be taken very snug. 

As measurement is taught as an important part of the System, no one can 
expect to obtain quite as good results before learning, as after. 

A Plain Basque Lining, cut from best Silesia, to ' your measure,' 60 cts. 
Sleeve " " " '* " 25 cts. 

The Xracing Wlieels. 

The Steel Tracing Wheel is an absolute necessity in dressmaking. It saves 
time, prevents inaccuracy, and should be used in marking seams on all goods, 
upon which it will make an impression. Where a steel Tracer cannot be used, 
the convenient CHALK TRACER is an excellent substitute. Any colored chalk 
may be used, and the line made by it is very fine and even. The Tracing- 
Wheels furnished by us are of best quality, and are reliable. 

All orders should be addressed to 

65 Beach St., BATTLE CREEK, MICH. 


1^7 I8W 



Amateur Dressmaking. 


Especially Adapted to use in Schools 
AND Families. 

By MRS. H. A. ROSS. 


w M . C . Gage & .^ o n , P k i x t e h ; 


OOPyRIGHT 1837, 

Mrs. H. a. ROSS. 



Amateur Dressmaking. 


Especially Adapted to use in Schools 
AND Families. 

I By MRS. H. A. ROSS. 


Wm. C. Gage & Son, Pkinteri 



Mrs. H. a. ROSS. 



S in music, discord offends the educated ear, 
and has a demoralizing effect on the sym- 
phonious aspirations of the uncultivated, so 
in dress, a badly fitting garment is very of- 
fensive to the artistic eye, and detrimental to 
the growth of the aesthetic sentiment in those 
whose artistic tastes have not been educated 
and developed. It is like a weed in the gar- 
den of Fashion, marring the beauty of its 
surroundings, and encouraging the growth 
of more. How requisite it is, therefore, to encourage 
an art, the acquirement of which makes it easy to avoid 
the defects and imperfections which result from the 
clumsy though probably labored efforts of the unskilled. 
In the "good old da}'s" the women were celebrated 
for their needlework, but the sewing-machine work has 
in a great measure superseded hand work, until the lat- 
ter is almost a lost art. Happily, educators have awak- 
ened to the fact that a girl's education is incomplete 
without this useful art, and needlework is about to be an 
important part of every girl's education. To become a 
dressmaker without a thorough knowledge of the rudi- 
ments of plain sewing is impossible, hence the necessity 
of beginning at the foundation, and acquiring the de- 
sired knowledge step by step. In presenting this work 
to the public, the writer aims to make plain the rules 
and methods of scientific dressmaking. To give all the 
various ways of doing each part would require unlimited 
space, and would only tend to mystify the beginner. 
Any complicated or difficult methods are to be avoided, 
while simplicity, accuracy and artistic effect are to be 
the aim in this study. In the hands of competent teach- 
ers, this work may be made highly useful in schools, 

— 4 — 

since it affords material for a valuable course of lessons 
in needlework, plain garment making and dressmaking. 
Every woman should know how to make a dress, that 
she may dress becomingly and economically. The art 
of dressmaking must be acquired, the one thousand and 
one things to be done or left undone must be understood; 
the whole system of dressmaking, fitting, draping and 
trimming must be learned before one is in a position to 
dress economically or artistically. 




* ~o^SJLq 1. 

RESSMAKING is an art, and a science, the 
individual the artist, the science consisting 
in the combined experience of the most suc- 
cessful dressmakers of past and present time. 
To avail herself of the benefits of science, 
the seamstress must be a regular subscriber 
and diligent reader of the best books bearing 
upon her business. Any new invention, in- 
tended to perfect or simplify her work, should 
be investigated. The sewing room should 
contain the best scientific helps to be obtained, and, 
with a proper attention to her business affairs, success 
miist attend her efforts. Whenever practicable, a sewing 
room should be devoted to sewing alone. It is especially 
disagreeable to sew in a dining or a general living room, 
as many of the conveniences necessary to sewing are 
not adapted to such a room, and there is also some dan- 
ger of the work becoming soiled. A smooth ingrain car- 
pet is more easily kept clean than any other, and for 
that reason should cover the sewing room floor. Select 
a light-running sewing machine, which takes a straight 
and uniform stitch. Keep the machine well oiled, and 
perfectly clean. A mirror should be placed near the 
window. The cutting-table should be long and smooth, 
without leaves, and unvarnished. Mark the scale of 
inches on table from left to right, corresponding exactly 
with the tape line. A small folding table is more con- 
venient than a lap board for basting linings to goods 
and for trimming skirts. An adjustable dress-figure is a 
great convenience, saving the time of the sewing girls 
occupied in the hanging of skirts and in draping. The 
sewing chairs should be low and comfortable, without 
arms or rockers. A stand work basket for spools, a pin- 

cushion, a wardrobe for the work, a first-class satteen 
tape line, steel tracing wheel, chalk tracer, scissors, yard 
stick, bent shears for cutting, pencils, measure-book, a 
bag or box for waste, a quire of drafting-paper, and a 
piece of stout cloth tacked to the wall, to which to pin 
sleeves, collars, cuffs, and any small parts of work, until 
they are wanted, a smoothing-iron, and last but not least, 
a perfect system of dress-cutting. The primitive and in- 
accurate methods which have so long held sway are not 
equal to the occasion. The system, (on which depends 
the success or failure of the dressmaker), must be a 
method of measurement, accurately applied to the gar- 
ment to be cut. The Mrs. Ross' Tailor system is a sys- 
tem of mathematical calculation, so arranged and sim- 
plified as to be readily comprehended by any girl or 
woman of ordinary ability. This system is fully ex- 
plained on page 3 of cover, and should be used in every 
manual training-school, and sewing room. The benefits 
to be derived from an invention of this kind are readily 
perceived, as no refitting is required. We give on 
page 27. directions for cutting and fitting by purchased 
pattern, and, as compared with cutting correctly, with- 
out difficulty, or changing, offers a decided contrast. 


Success in most things depends on trifles. No work 
can give satisfaction, that is not done with very clean 
hands. Indeed, if they are dirty, the task is made more 
difficult, as they are generally moist also, and the needle 
passes through the material with greater difficulty. No 
one should attempt any work without a thimble. It can- 
not be done satisfactorily without one, and there is dan- 
ger of injury to the finger. To break or bite off the 
thread is a common fault, which should be at once cor- 
rected. Always cut the thread with a small pair of scis- 
sors, kept in the apron pocket or other convenient place. 
Having learned to hold the needle in the left hand, and 
to thread and to work it with the right hand, put the 
thimble on the middle finger of the right hand. The 
thread should be rather finer than the thread of the 
cloth, and never more than from sixteen to twenty inches 

— 7 - 

long, except for gathering;. For other work leave the 
thread one-half inch long, and sew in with the seam, or 

The lessons here illustrated, are to be explained by the 
teacher, with work already cut and prepared, until the 
pupil has learned the common rules of sewing. Very 
young beginners should learn to work on paper or coarse 

Ladies who understand the art of plain sewing need 
study only the instructions for cutting and fitting, (Part 
2d), where they will find all the rules necessary to in- 
struct them, in the science of artistic dressmaking. 


Sewing or seaming means joining two edges together. 
Sewing over and over, or overhand seam, is chiefly used 
in joining two selvedges. Lay the edges of the material 
to be joined together, and set the needle regularly from 

Fig. I. 

the back to the front through both materials, taking up 
either one or two threads. Draw the thread tight, but 
do not pucker the seam, and repeat the stitches at regu- 
lar distances of one or two threads, as shown in Fig. i. 
Having completed the seam, smooth it out, so that it 
will lie perfectly flat. 


For hem, first turn down the edge of goods very nar- 
row. In heavy goods it will be necessary to baste the 
first fold, but in cottons creasing will be sufficient. Do 
not pleat or crumple the work; hold it smooth, and with 
the thumb and fore-finger of the left hand pinch the fold 
neatly its entire length. Then turn down the width de- 

sired for hem, and baste. If the ed^^e of goods is straight, 
hern along a thread. In thin material, the first fold must 

be the width of the^hem. For wide hems, measure while 
folding with a card cut the desired width. 

In hemming, set the needle in the material close under 
the hem, then run it up, diagonally through the hem. 
In blind hemming the stitch is the same, but longer, and 
the thread is not drawn tight. Great care is taken that 
but one thread of the material is taken up, and the 
stitches do not show upon the right side. 


For Ruiiniiig: Seam, lay both edges of the goods 
to be joined togeth-er, and run the needle through the 
material a quarter of an inch from the edge, as shown in 
the illustration. If preferred, a back-stitch can be taken 

Fig. 3. 

at every needleful of stitches, by drawing the needle up- 
ward through the material, then setting it back three or 
four threads from where it was drawn out, then drawing 
it out six threads' in front of the same point. 

Before gathering make a crease by laying down a fold 
about J in. from raw edge, and run the gathers in running 
seam, twice as much between each stitch as is taken up 
on the needle. Two threads up and four threads down is 
the rule for fine gathers. Quarter the goods to be gath- 

— 9 — 

ered, and mark with a thread. Do not break the leather- 
ing thread, but wind it around a pin. The fuller the 
gathers, the longer the stitches must be. 

French Gathers, or gauging stitches, are taken up 
very long on the right side of the material, and sHort on 
the wrong side. To prepare the work, line with stiff or 
firm material, turn in the edge to be gauged, and take the 
stitches near the edge. 

Two rows of gathering threads are required in gaug- 
ing. The same threads of material must be taken up and 
passed over, as in the first row. Gathers should always 
be taken up on the right side. 

To Even Gathers, and make them lie in the same 
direction, first push them close together, and hold them 
with the gathering thread in the left hand, and with the 
needle in the right hand, stroke perpendicularly between 
every two gathers. 

To Set Gathers to a Band. Prepare the band, 
cutting (if for waist band) three inches longer than the 
waist measure. Stitch across the ends, half an inch from 
edge and turn. Mark the band in halves and quarters. 
Trim off all the loose threads. Even or stroke the top 
of the gathers, and pin to the band in halves and quarters, 
placing the edge of the band just over the gathering 
thread, which should be drawn so as to agree with the 
band in length, the end secured b}' winding around a pin. 
Hold the work with the thumb upon the first finger of the 
left hand, the gathers lying almost from left to right. 
Only one gather should be taken up at a time, and they 
should be fastened with a firm neat stitch. 

After sewing the gathers, turn the edge of the band 
over, to cover the stitches on the wrong side, and hem 
down neatly, the halves and quarters agreeing with those 
on the right side. 

Tucks are sometimes stitched, but lie more flat and 
even in dress goods if run by hand. In underwear they 
are universally stitched on the machine. The chief diffi- 
culty is in preparing and measuring them. 

When it is decided at what distance the tuck shall be 
run, and what depth it shall be, mark the same on a piece 
of card, and by laying it to the material, mark the ma- 
terial with the point of a large needle or with chalk tracer. 

— 10 — 

Crease the spaces between the marks, and run the tucks 
with very small, even stitches. The edge of one tuck 
forms the guide for measuring the next. 

In sewing on band trimming, rows of braid, or ribbon, 
the same care must be exercised to mark the material for 
each row. 

Flannel Seams are to be run neatly on the wrong 
side, about a quarter of an inch from the edge. Fold one 
side over the other as for fell, but leave the raw edge. 
Hold the flannel across the first two fingers of the left 
hand, keeping it firm with the thumb and third finger. 
Slip the needle under the fold and bring it out about the 
centre of it at the left hand corner. Then take two 
threads of the material on the needle just below the raw 
edge of the fold, working always from left to right, and 
taking up the stitches in parallel lines on the fold, and on 
the material alternately. The needle should generally 
go in at the fourth thread from where it went in the last 
time. The stitches may, however, be taken closer if 

Finishing" Seams. Dress waist seams are hand- 
somely finished ncAV-a-days, and in any of the following 
ways: blind-running, notching, felling, machine-stitching, 
binding or over-seaming. 

Trim the seams neatly, and press open before attempt- 
ing to finish the edges of the seams. For blind-running, 
machine-stitching, or over-seaming, first turn in the edge 
of the lining, then turn the fold of goods, and complete 
by running the needle in and out between the turned in 
edges with thread the same color, or stitch, or sew 
over-hand with fancy-colored silk. To bind the seams, 
use ribbon or galloon. To notch, turn the lining in one- 
fourth of an inch and stitch to the seam, then notch the 
material along the edge. Open seams may be hand- 
somely ornamented by herring-bone or any fancy stitch. 
Plain over-casting is more suitable for wash goods. 

Sewing on Tapes, or "hang-ups." Cut the tape six 
inches long, double it and lay flat against the band or 
seam to which it is to be joined. Sew the tape together 
across the ends and back-stitch to the garment at the 
same time. Turn the tapes over, covering the seam, and 
stitch neatly in any plain or fancy stitch. 

— II — 

Placket. Cut a slit in the material, 8 or lo inches 
deep, and hem both sides. It is customary to hem the 
right side narrow and left side wide ; then lap the wide 
hem over the narrow and sew across the end. Another 
way is to hem both sides the same width, and sew the 
end in a seam on the wrong side, allowing the placket to 
lap either way. For extra strong placket, sew a binding 
one-inch wide on the right side, and face the left. Sew 
across firmly at the end. This facing and lap may be 
cut in one piece, the facing-side cut one inch, and the 
lap-side two inches in width. 

Pockets. Skirt pockets are cut from the skirt-lin- 
ing, and are heart-shaped when opened flat. Twelve 
inches long by six wide is a medium size, leaving one 
side double and straight on the fold ; the other side 
rounded to a point on the top. Sew around the bot- 
tom and five inches of the rounding side, leaving the re- 
maining space to be sewed in the skirt seam. Unless 
covered by the drapery, the pocket should be faced. 
Leave three inches of the pocket at the top, above the place 
for the ha?td. A tape must be sewn to the point, and 
joined to the belt. There is danger of the pocket being so 
narrow at the top that the hand cannot be inserted, al- 
though the pocket was cut plent}- large enough. 

Watch-pockets are cut 3^ by 2^ inches, from the dress 
material lined with silesia, and shaped like skirt pocket, 
and sewed in the left front dart, just below the waist. 

Slit-pockets set in jackets or draperies are cut square, 
and made, and then set in coat-pocket fashion — the top 
seams covered by a flat binding of the goods stitched at 
the ends. 

All pocket seams are sewed in double seam. First 
sew the seam very narrow, upon the right side, the 
pocket turned and stitched again on the wrong side in an 
ordinary seam, without taking in the seam first sewed. 
This makes a strong seam, and requires no over-casting. 

Waist Facings. For basque and sleeves, the fac- 
ings should always be true bias. The edges are then 
readily fulled or stretched to fit the curves or peculiar 
shapes, preventing the clumsy pleats which are unavoid- 
able when using straight facings. 

— 12 — 

Drapery facings sliould be cut the same way of the 
goods as the edge to which they are to be joined. Sew the 
facings on the right side of material, close to the edge, 
fitting carefully. Then turn the facing over on to the 
wrong side. Turn exactly on the seam, and baste along 
the edge of the seam. The corners of facings or hems 
are lapped one above the other, then the over-lapping 
one again folded from the corner, bias zuays, and hemmed 

Skirt Facing's may be either bias or straight. If 
cut straight, fit to the gores in the skirt. When the braid 
is to be sewed on and turned up, the skirt bottom may 
be left a raw edge. Where the woven skirt cord is used, 
or when braid is folded through the middle and sewed 
overhand, sew the facing on in a seam and turn. Turn in 
the top of skirt facing, and if there are no goods covering 
the lining, stitch on machine, otherwise stitch over and 
over by hand, to the lining. In sewing on facings great 
care must be exercised, that no stitches pass through the 
lining, catching it to the outside goods. 

Hooks and Eyes. Prepare the spaces for the hooks 
one-half inch back from the edge of material on the left 
side ; and for the eyes one-fourth inch from the edge on 
the right side. Unhook the hooks and eyes on the card, 
and they are readily removed. Take four stitches in each 
eye of the shanks, and a few cross stitches. Sezv them 
firmly, and with rather coarse thread. 

Lace Edgings. Lace edgings, having a coarse or 
uneven edge, must be sewed on by hand, and may readily 
be fulled without a gathering thread. Edgings may be 
stitched by machine to ruffles or other hems, by first 
creasing both folds of the hem, then placing the lace on 
the right side of material, the edge just above the fold, 
and sewing. Fold the hem back to place and stitch, but 
one row of stitching being visible on the right side. 

Sewing on Buttons. The cloth to which buttons 
are to be fastened should be of several thicknesses. Reg- 
ularity must be observed in spacing for buttons, and they 
should be of a uniform distance from the edge. An ex- 
cellent way to mark the spaces is to take a stitch through 
each button-hole, into the button side. Sew shank but- 

— 13 — 

tons on the face of the goods. Do not push them 

Folding Pleats. Commence to fold at the hem 
edge, and with tape line or a piece of card, measure the 
width of each pleat and the space between pleats. Side 
pleats fold all one way, and are close together. Box 
pleats are folded, first to the left then to the right alter- 
nately. Box pleats should not be crowded close to- 
gether, unless the pleating is ver)' narrow. Double box 
pleats are folded two pleats to the left, then two to the 
right, then a space. The folds or accordion pleats, lie 
one above the other. In basting the upper edge, fold 
each pleat on the same thread of goods as at the hem. 
The beauty of pleatings is the regularity of the pleats, 
and the finish given by pvcss\v\g very lightly. The pleat- 
ing should be laid upon an ironing sheet, and pressed 
upon the ivro7ig side, the iron only moderately hot. Do 
not dampen when possible to avoid it. Very wide pleat- 
ings need to be tacked with tapes. Narrow ones need 
tacking with stout thread only. Catch a stitch to the 
edge of each pleat, on the wrong side. 


Killings. Skirt kiltings are set upon a foundation 
skirt, cut as directed on page 23. Cut straight breadths 
for the pleating. Cut even at both edges, as long as re- 
quired to cover the skirt, and three times as wide as the 
skirt. If the material has not a self-colored selvedge, the 
edges to be joined must be cut off, and the seams basted, 
then stitched or run by hand. Press the seams open with 
hot iron, before the hem. Turn and hem the 
lower edge, over-cast the top edge. Press the hem, and 
mark each half and quarter, before folding the pleats. 
Have ready the foundation, front and sides joined and the 
back breadth joined to the side gore only on one side, 
leaving the left side back seam open. Trim the skirt 
even around the bottom. Mark in halves and quarters. 
Fold the kilts in quarters to fit the skirt, folding under 
each seam, even if the pleating has to be basted over 
several times to accomplish it. When the pleats are all 
laid in the hem, fit the kilt to the foundation skirt at the 
bottom, placing the work flat upon a smooth table or 

— 14- 

upon the floor. At the edges of the back gores, pin the 
pleats straight with the gore, from top to bottom. Then 
pin the centre of kilt to the centre of skirt lengthwise. 
Fold each pleat straight with the grain of the goods, 
agreeing with the pleats in the hem, and so lap one fold 
upon the other at the top, that the pleats follow the di- 
rection of the side gore pleats, all sloping towards the 
front at the top. Patience is required to fit the pleating, 
but there is no other way to accomplish the desired ef- 
fect. Pin each pleat securely in several places. Remove 
the kilt from foundation, and with tapes or patent blind 
tacking, secure at even distances of four or five inches, 
the entire length of skirt. Do not hold the tapes as tight 
as the pleating, and only tack at the back edge of each 
pleat, catching no stitches through to the outside pleats. 
Press with a moderately hot iron, upon the wrong side. 
Turn down the top edge and press flat. Complete the 
foundation skirt with a narrow facing of goods upon the 
right side, and a canvas facing on the wrong side. The 
skirt seams may be sewed upon the side to be covered 
with the kilt, the inside of the skirt requiring no finish- 
ing. Adjust the kilt on the top edge strongly, by hand, 
and at the edges of the gores catch the tapes on kilt to 
the foundation skirt. A kilting cannot be made to hang 
properly mounted on a straight skirt. 


Basting' Linings to Goods. Place the goods face 
down upon a smooth table, and ascertain if there be any 
up or down, or nap to the material, and remember any 
figures or plaids must be matched. Place the front of 
waist lining on the goods, right side up, allowing a hem. 
At waist line the hem of both outside and lining must be 
cut nearly to the fold, to allow the hem to fold smooth on 
French front. Keep the waist line straight with the 
cloth. Baste always every seam exactly on the tracings 
for a guide in joining the seams. Follow the darts with 
the basting thread carefully. The basting stitches should 
not be more than one inch long. Any folds or vest of 
trimming material must be sewed to the lining before 
cutting the outside sfoods. 

— 15 — 

Back Linings are placed on the goods with centre 
back scam towards the schedge, unless the back is to be 
pleated. Then the back lining must be placed about six 
inches from the fold of goods, cutting on the edge of lin- 
ing only above the waist line, leaving the goods entire 
for pleats, as shown in Fig. 4. 

A plain cuirass basque cannot be made to fit smoothly- 
over a full tournure without leaving the back seams open 
below the waist. Keep the waist line straight with the 
goods; baste around each part exactly on the tracing. 

In plaid goods place the waist lines on a certain 
thread of the goods, and in joining the waist the plaids 
will match all around. In the side forms, however, the 
plaids may not match lengtlnvisc. The only sure method 
of matching them perfectly, is to baste the centre back, 
(covered with the goods) to the lining of the side form, 
and from a scrap of goods, fit a side form to match the 
back. This is to be used as a guide in cutting the goods. 
Cut both side forms alike. 

Sleeve Linings are placed upon the goods, the 
grain of the materials matching. The goods and lining 
should be straight, crosswise at the elbow, and bias at 
the wrist. The unders may usually be cut from pieces 
after the remainder of the dress is cut. Baste around 
the sleeve on the seams. To join the sleeves, begin at 
top, and pin at elbow and wrist. Hold the upper towards 
you in basting. Run a thread around the top of sleeve, 
that the gathers may be readily adjusted, and to prevent 
the lining and goods from drawing apart. 


Hasting the Waist. Fold the lining hem (as 
traced on the right or button side) in, between the out- 
side and lining, leaving the edge of goods out as a screen 
for the button-holes. 

Turn in hem for button-hole side, and baste the edge 
of the front with small stitches. 

Fold the darts through the centre and baste very 
firm; at the end of all seams take a few back stitches. 
Baste hook and eye pieces in the front darts, the edge 
one-quarter of an inch from the front. A waist must not 
rip apart when first tried on. Baste exactly on the 

-- 1 6 -- 

threads which follow the tracinj^. The centre back seam 
must be pinned top and bottom, and basted even. Join 
the side forms, commencing at waist line ; next join the 
under-arm pieces, and then the fronts. The shoulders . 
are the most difficult seam in the waist, and as the fit of 
the waist greatly depends upon them, extra care must be 
taken to follow the rule literally. Stretch the front 
shoulders at the seam. You cannot stretch them too 
much. Full the back to the front and hold the back to- 
wards you in basting, always commencing the seam at 
the neck; any unevenness can be easily pared off at the 

To Baste in the Sleeve. Join the back sleeve 
seam to the round seam in the waist, and baste the under 
to the armscye without pleats or gathers. The front 
sleeve seam should be placed above the under-arm seam 
of waist, one and one-half inches. The fullness of the 
top of sleeve must be placed between the shoulder seam 
and the middle of the front armscye (double the armscye 
and mark). The stitches in basting and sewing in a 
sleeve must be taken exactly upon the thread which was 
run around the top of the sleeve. 

To Baste a Skirt, commence at the top to baste ; 
do not stretch the bias gores; trim off any unevenness at 
the bottom ; take only medium length stitches. 


Polonaise or Wrappers, are cut very similar, and 
in basting follow directions for basting basque, joining 
all parts at the waist line. Do not stretch the sides of 
the skirt front of wrapper in joining to the backs. For 
polonaise, leave the seam open below the hips until the 
drapery has been arranged. In back of Fig. 4, from hip, 
line F, follow the outline of basque lining to hip line, 
then leave the edge straight to bottom of skirt. Pleats 
are cut in the centre between the backs, and between 
backs and side forms, making three groups of pleats. So 
arrange the linings on the goods that line F will be the 
selvedge, and line C D will be the fold (in 54 inch goods); 
leave more cloth for pleats between side and back than 
in the centre of back, and the latter, ivhen unfolded, will 

- 1/ — 

ilG. 4. 

be the larger. (See diagram, i, 2.) Fold the pleats in 
the back and sew flat to the waist lining. In apron front 
polonaise, the edge must be faced. 

Fig. 5. 


To work button-holes well requires care and prac- 
tice, and beginners should not at first try to do fine ones. 
With button-hole scissors, cut the slit even to a thread, 

and just wide enougli to reach across the button, then 
take a needle and cotton and run it slightly round, a 
short distance from the edge. This keeps the parts 
neatly together and also strengthens it. In dress goods 
it is best to back-stitch around the button-hole before 
it is cut, then over-cast the edges and bar with chain 
stitches or heavy twisted threads, close to the edge. 
For working the button-hole the thread should be a 
trifle coarse, and from sixteen to twenty inches in length. 
Hold the work straight along the forefinger of the left 
hand and insert the needle, four or five threads from the 
raw edge at the left hand corner. Before drawing it 
quite through, bring the thread from the eye of the 
needle, over the needle, and from left to rigJu under its 
point. Draw the needle out straight from the edge, 
keeping the hand upwards, so that the loops may lie on 
the edge of the button-hole, which the left thumb presses 
close against the finger. One or two threads are left be- 
tween the stitches, depending upon the size of the thread 
used. In the illustration the sides are first worked, then 
the ends, the stitches forming a sort of band on the ends. 
This is a very strong button-hole, and most suitable for 
working on shirts or underwear. Button-holes in dress 
fronts are usually worked round at the end next the edge 
of the front, and the other end barred across in two plain 
stitches. Commence to w^ork at the lower right hand 
corner, hold the workalong the forefinger of the left hand, 
insert the needle, and before drawing it through bring 
the thread from the eye of the needle over the needle, 
and from right to left, under its point. Care must be 
taken that the stitches are all the same depth ; the 
beauty of the button-hole is its regularity. There are 
many other sorts of button holes, but the ones described 
are generally used in plain needlework. Should a new 
thread be used in working a buttonhole, fasten off the 
former one on the wrong side, and join the new one by 
passing it through the loop of the last stitch. To prevent 
the edges of button-holes from fraying, rub each with a 
bit of fine wax, or moistened glue, and press quickly 
with a hot iron, before working. 

— 19 — 


After finishing any part of the work, press neatly with 
a hot iron, upon the wrong side, and pin to the wall or 
fold away where it will not be crumpled, until needed. 
All seams of pleatings, skirts, waists, and sleeves MUST 
be pressed. Do not dampen woolen goods at the seams 
unless it has previously been sponged, or the goods will 
shrink and the gloss will be taken off. 

Velvets cannot be pressed flat, but may be passed 
quickly over the upturned face of a warm iron. Silks 
must be pressed by a cool iron if they are pressed at all. 
They may usually be smoothed with the thumb. The 
selvedges must be clipped at intervals, as they are com- 
monly very tightly woven and will draw the seam. 


Fig. 6. 


Straight Breadths. Even the end of the goods 
by raveling to a thread, or by marking by a straightedge 
or square. Never tear the material; it is ahnost certain 
to prove unsatisfactory. Measure the depth of the 
breadth on the selvedge of material, and draw a thread 
to cut by, if possible. See that both edges of the breadth 
measure the same length, and cut across perfectly even ; 
lay the goods the entire width upon the table, cutting 
through but one thickness at a time. 

For straight dress skirts, cut enough breadths to make 
the skirt from three to four yards in width. Five 
breadths of print is considered enough for a full skirt. 
Edges of materials which fray easily must be over-cast as 
soon as cut. (20) 

— 21 — 

Pleatings. Cut enough breadths to go three times 
around the skirt for kilt or side pleatings; two and one- 
half times around the skirt for box pleating. Gathered 
ruffles require an added fourth for fulling. When made 
without a heading pleatings must be over-cast on the top 
edge, before joining to the skirt (unless whipped previ- 
ously to pleating). 

Bias Cutting. True bias is cut on a line drawn 
from the -diagonal corners of a perfect square. Mark 
with pencil or a chalk tracing wheel, from corner to cor- 
ner for the edg^ of first fold. Cut a card the width the 
biases are to be cut, and holding it square with the first 
line, mark at intervals, draw a straight line between. 
To measure on the selvedge is less accurate, although in 
purchasing bias trimming goods the length is measured 
on the selvedges. 

Joining Biases. Lap each end past the bias edge 
of the fold above it the depth of the seam ; fasten the 
ends of the seams very neatly. Open the seams, if for 
anything except covering for cord, which must be pressed 
all one way. 

Bias skirt trimmings cannot be joined neatly after 
sewing to the skirt. It is much better to measure for the 
trimming accurately and join and press all seams before 
gathering or pleating. Never attempt to fold any but a 
very narrow hem on a bias edge; it should be faced. 
Cords covered with bias must not be caught in the seam, 
or they will draw as badly as if not cut true bias. Fac- 
ings for waists and sleeves should be cut true bias. See 
page 1 1 . 

For Hook and Eye Pieces, or Braces, cut two 
square pieces of the waist lining, 5 inches each wa}", 
double each, and shape the two folded edges to fit the 
French front of the dress waist, tapering the brace to- 
wards the waist line, stitch the seams, top, front, and 
bottom on the wrong side, turn and sew on hooks and 
eyes, as directed in a previous lesson. 

— 22 — 


To Draft Plain Drawers, measure the size of 
waist and length from hip to knee, or longer if desired. 
In Fig. 7, 27 is the length. Double the muslin lengthwise 

Fig. 7. 

and measure upon the fold the length of the garment, 
(See diagram, line A B). Across the top draw with pen- 
cil the line, A D, the length of one-half the waist measure. 
In Fig. 7 the measure is 24, and the line, A D, is cut 12 

At the hem draw a line the width preferred, usually 
9 or 10 inches, make line, B C. Fifteen inches below the 
hip (A), draw a straight line across to selvedge of cloth, 
if the garment is as large as the one illustrated; or a few 
inches narrower, according to measure of the waist. From 
the end of line, F E, draw a curving line to the end of 
line B C. Line D E is drawn straight between D and E. 
The lines on the diagram show both back and front. The 
front is slanted from the fold or hip, towards the line, D 
E, cutting away two inches of material from both length 

and \\Mdth (G), curve the line, G E, as shown in the 
figure. The opening on line, A B, is cut ten inches deep, 
and should always end in a gusset. 

The making of this garment affords a review of nearly- 
all the plain sewing lessons. Seaming, hemming, felling 
seams, gathering, placket-hole, setting gathers to a band, 
button and button-hole. Tucks are to be run in the gar- 
ment before the seams arc joined. 


Gored Skirt. Required, waist measure and 
length of skirt front and back, from belt to floor. 
When completed the skirt should be two and one-half 
inches from the floor in front, and just clear the floor in 
the back. At the bottom the skirt should be 2\ yards 
wide, and cut from goods 24 inches wide. Cut the back 
breadth first, the length from belt to floor. This is long 
enoucfh to allow for bustle and seams. Cut the gfores for 

/ y 








/ tC 1 

; Q 


/ !o 



1 1^ 


^ i 

/ 2 

1 ; 

: 5i 

/ Q 
/ ^ 


! ''^ 

/ V 



/ "« 

fes i 

1 I*- 
1 ^ 

/ '"^ 


Fig. S. 

sides from one breadth, the same length as back. Divide 
diagonally, making the top of each gore 8 in. Cut front 
gore i^in. shorter than the measure. This gore should 
slant one inch in eleven, but for convenience is usually 
cut 15 to 17 in. at the top, according to the waist size. 
Cut the edge straight from top to bottom. 

24 — 

To Baste. Join the breadths together at the top. 
Do not stretch the bias edges. Trim off even at the bot- 
tom, leaving the skirt one inch longer all around than the 
measure, when done. Try the skirt on to the form and 
fit the top by means of darts, before joining to the belt. 




6^ Ji, 

Fig. 9. — Double Breasted Front. 

Most of the difficulty in hanging skirts is caused by set- 
ting the front to the band too scant. Cut placket-hole 
in back ten inches deep, and just below this opening sew 
on the first tape for steels. One or two tapes are sewn 
on below the first, at distances of six inches. Allow the 
ends of the tapes to extend two in, on to the side gores. 

The Corset. Before measuring- a lady for a dress, 
sec that she wears a corset adapted to her figure, and 
moderately tight. Insist that the same corset be worn 
in measuring as in fitting, as the measure represents the 
form to be fitted. 


The diagrams show the patterns as drafted by Mrs. 
Ross' Tailor System. To successfully teach dress-cutting, 
a perfect system of cutting must be employed, by which a 

— 26 — 

correct pattern may be drafted from actual measurements, 
no trying on or refitting being necessary. Practice cutting 
a lining from cheap cotton or silesia. Unbleached mus- 
lin is not good for this purpose, as it will not trace or fold 

Fig. II. 

readily. Place the lining, doubled lengthwise, on a 
smooth table, pinning the selvedges together. Lay the 
pattern for front with the hem to the edge of the lining, 
allowing a hem ih in. deep. See that the waist line is 
straight with the goods. Pin the pattern down in several 

— 27- 

placcs, and with steel tracing wheel or the sewing ma- 
chine, trace for the seams at the edge of the pattern. 
Trace the hems^ the darts, and waist line. In cutting, 
allow seams ^ in. for shoulders, i in. for under-arm seam. 
It is not necessary to allow seams at neck and armscye. 
Place the back pattern on the lining, the centre seam to- 
ward the selvedge and the waist line even with the grain 
of the goods. The waist line of centre back, under-arm 
and side form must be cut straight on the grain of goods, 
or at right angles with the selvedge. A square or rule 
is indispensable for keeping the parts straight. All parts 
of the lining must be cut the same way of the goods. In 
cutting, allow seams \ in. deep on the back, side forms, 
and back seam of under-arm piece. The seam joining 
the front cut i inch. Cut the seams to be joined together 
as nearly even as possible. Trace as directed for seams 
and waist lines. 

The Sleeve Pattern has an elbow line, which is to 
be kept straight with the grain of the goods. The back 
of the upper sleeve will be nearly bias, and the back of 
the under above the elbow will be straight. Allow seams 
and trace at edge of pattern. 

Note. — Basting linings to goods, and basting seams, 
are explained on page 14. 

To cut a waist without a lining, mark the seams with 
pencil or chalk, or baste on a paper lining, which is torn 
out when the parts are joined. 


Re-fitting. Where an inaccurate method of drafting 
is employed, or in using purchased patterns, a cheap 
silesia pattern must be first fitted, from which the waist 
lining is to be cut. Measure the form to be fitted as fol- 
lows : — 

Size of bust, size of waist, length under-arm, length of 
back, length of sleeve. Compare the measure to the pat- 
tern by measuring across the front and back at height 
under-arm, measuring waist front and back, leaving out 
the dart seams. ^Measure length under-arm and length 
of sleeve. Make such changes as may seem necessary. 
Cut the lining, as directed on page 25, and baste care- 
fully together. Baste the seams on the ivrong side of the 

— 2« — 

lining, that in fitting the right side will be rext to the 
form and the seams on the outside, the more readily to 
be refitted. Tr\- the waist on. Pin the fronts together 
in a seam, and observe the following rules of proportion 
given for medium figure : — 

(i). The centre front line curves out a little from neck 
to bust, and slopes in toward the waist. Below the waist 
the line curves out again. 

(2). The line in the centre of back is not curved, but 
slants gradually from neck to waist, the threads of the 
cloth forming a V down the back. 

(3). The round seam in back crosses the bust line 
half-way between the under -arm and the center back 

(4). The round forms at arm-holes should be from i to 
I J in. in width, gradually widening toward the waist line 
to two or two and one-half in. in width. 

(5). The under-arm seams of fronts should be straight 
with the goods above the waist, rounding out over the 

(6). The under piece will often be wider at the arm- 
hole than at the waist line, it should never be narrower. 

(7). The forward dart should be from one and a half 
to two inches from the front, and the space between the 
1st and 2d darts from | to i in. The dart seams are 
taken deepest at the waist line, slanting to a point three 
inches below the bust line and from waist line to bottom 
of basque. They should be straight with the cloth. If 
the darts are too deep the bust and shoulders will be too 
large, and no amount of fitting will remedy the defect. 

(8). Shoulder seams should be placed rather back of 
the top of the shoulder, and should fit without a wrinkle. 

(9). The arm-hole should be cut high on the shoulder, 
and comfortably loose in front. The back arm-hole 
should fit snug, and not so cut as to cause the sleeve to 
cover a portion of the back. 

(10). The lines below the waist are but continuations 
of the waist seams. The front to the hips should be fitted 
quite close, while the back should be amply full to fit over 
the tournure. 

(i i). The two sides of a waist should be exactly alike, 
unless cut for a deformity. The centre back should 
measure at waist line i^ to 2 in. The side forms 2 to 2j^, 

— 29 — 

and the under-arm piece, a trifle wider than either. A 
plain cuirass basque cannot be made to fit gracefully over 
the tournure, and should be slashed at the seams. 

(12). The sleeve should fit smoothly, the back seam 
crossing the elbow. The forward seam follows a line 
from the palm of the hand to the arm-hole. A slight full- 
ness is desirable at the top of the shoulder. The remain- 
der of the sleeve is sewed into the arm-hole plain . Leave 
the wrist quite loose to readily admit the hand, as when 
completed it is considerably smaller. 


Fitting, (i.) Should the waist require changes, com- 
mence by pinning the lining to the corset, front, under- 
arm, waist-line, and back, so that it will not slip to one 
side. If the center back is to be taken up, it should be 
its entire length. Do not change the side forms if it 
can be avoided, as it is the most difficult form to change 
in the waist. 

(2). Draw the cloth forward, and fit at the under-arm 
seams, to regulate the size of waist and bust. 

(3). Fit the dart, by pinning from top to bottom, 
keep them straight, and just deep enough to keep the 
cloth under the arm smooth. If the lining wrinkles from 
the arm-hole to top of dart, the dart seams are too deep. 

(4). Fit the shoulders by drawing up the cloth, front 
and back, stretch the front seam, and full the back. 
When pinning together, fit first at the neck, then at arm- 
hole, then between. Do not draw either front or back 
to one side, but keep the lining straight from waist-line 
to seam. Pin the shoulder seams the same depth. With 
a piece of sharp-pointed chalk mark the waist-line all 
around, that the same parts may come together on each 
surrounding seam. Mark, also, the hems for the fronts, 
and the shape of the basque around the bottom. 

Take the lining off carefully, follow all the pinned 
seams with thread or chalk tracer, remove the pins, 
straighten carefully any crookedness of the seam-lines, 
see that the corresponding parts are the same size, and 
rectify any unevenness at neck and armscye. This pat- 
tern (which is to be preserved for future use), may now 
be transmitted by the tracing wheel to the waist-lining. 

— 30 — 

Pacldiiif?. In makin^j^ up silks or wool goods of 
light texture, it is customary to insert one or more thick- 
nesses of sheet wadding between the outside and lining 
of the fronts. It must be tacked to the lining before 
cutting the dress-goods. If the arm-hole is too loose, 
pad with several thickness of wadding at the lower part 
of front arm-hole. 

The method of cutting the goods, basting, and seam 
finishing, has been already explained, and we will now 
proceed to the stitching. 


Before stitching waist or skirt seams, see that all are 
evenly marked, and so securely basted that they will not 
slip apart. If lengthwise pleats in dress fronts extend 
to the darts, the underside of them must be cut away to 
avoid seaming in with the dart-seams, as the stitching 
through them folds them out of place. It is better to so 
fold pleats at the waist that the difficulty is avoided. 
The waist-seams should be sewed with sewing silk of the 
same color, and with a short stitch and moderately tight 
tension. Stitch upon all the seams, folded forward, 
except the darts. Stitch perfectly straight, and if de- 
sired to make the waist a trifle looser or tighter, it is 
only necessary to stitch a very little inside or outside the 
seam, as there are eleven lengthwise waist seams, and 
the least fraction on each one makes quite a difference 
on the waist. Stitching draws the seams so much closer 
that the waist will be some tighter, even if sewed exactly 
as basted. Ornamental stitching must be upon two 
thicknesses of goods. 

Collar. Cut the canvas lining two inches wide, and 
long enough to fit the neck of the dress, allowing for 
seams (do not get it too small). Make same as a cuff. 
Sew the outside and canvas to the neck, in a seam, and 
fell the lining over the seam. The middle of the collar 
must join the center back seam. For rolling collar, cut 
two straight pieces of goods, and interlining, as long as 
the neck of the dress, and from 2h to 3 inches wide. 
Leave the corners square, sew linings to neck-seam on 
the r/^/it side, and fell the outside over the seam. 

_3i — 

Cuffs. For plain cufts, cut a lining- of canvas to fit 
the sleeve at the bottom, allowing for seams. Baste the 
outside on first, basting all around the edges, then sew 
on a lining of the goods, stitch the seam, cut the corners 
away quite close, turn, and be sure the corners are quite 
square. Baste to the sleeve, then face the wrist with a 
narrow bias fold of the dress goods. Tack the top of 
cuff at sleeve seams. 


The amateur is reminded that there is no royal road 
to the art of draping. Success depends mostly upon a 
tasteful arrangement of a sufficient amount of goods, in 
a style adapted to the figure of the wearer. 

In a work of this kind, in which no fashions are de- 
scribed, we can but give a few general rules and hints. 
Magazines containing illustrations of new designs are 
easily procured, and should be carefully studied. Before 
attempting to cut a drapery, choose some particular 
style, and then do your utmost to follow it. Front 
breadths must be cut wide enough to pass the hips and 
extend under the back widths. The back must be con- 
fined to the back, and not in any case extend ox'er the 

Shawl-draperies are square breadths of goods, draped 
to form a distinct point, by drawing one side up to the 
top, and pleating both the edges into one waist band. 
The corner is left loose on wrong side, forming a long 
loop on the right side. These draperies are not adapted 
to narrow goods, the seams running through them 
lengthwise being very unsightly. It is better to cut the 
wrong way of goods, and then piecing runs across the 

Square back draperies are cut square, one and one- 
half yards each way being ample. Three sides are to be 
hemmed, the top pleated into a band not longer than 
one-third the size of waist. Work a buttonhole in each 
end, and sew buttons to match, on the skirt band; leave 
each side open for a placket. Put the dress skirt on an 
adjustable dress-figure, or the person, and pin the front 
breadth to place, then button on the back, and drape 
first at the sides, regulating the length. Tack the drap- 

— 32 — 

ery to the foundation skirt in iany way to carry out the 
design, giving attention to preserving the outlines, then 
drape in the middle. 

Large and irregular folds and loops are more graceful 
than small and regular ones; indeed, severity in dispos- 
ing the folds is to be avoided. 

Apron Front. Cut one breadth of double width 
goods — allow one-half yard of length for draping, cut the 
top edge straight, and round the lower edge from centre 
front to half the length on the sides. Turn down the 
edge at the top, and sew to the skirt band. Face the 
bottom, and fold the pleats on the sides — bias of the 
goods. This will leave the selvedge " zig-zag.' Draw 
the folds well towards the back and sew to the skirt. 
An apron front cannot be handsomely draped from a 
square. Tasteful draperies appear from time to time 
formed in bag shapes, and disposed in various ways, the 
widths (if of narrow goodsj, are cut double the desired 
length, one lengthwise seam run, and either the top or 
the bottom fastened to the belt, the remaining end looped 
or "managed" to suit the occasion. 

Draping a breadth in two wing-like points is accom- 
plished by cutting a very wide piece of goods a trifle 
longer than the measure, and drawing the middle fold 
hem high in close pleats; sew them very firmly to the 
skirt, and finish the top with a band. The "tie-backs," 
or rubbers holding the skirt steels in place are all that 
are needed to arrange the draperies. 


For Plain Basque, of goods 54 in. wide, required, i^ yds. 

" " " 42 " " 2 " 

36 " " 2| " 

" «< << -,-, i< . (( -) 1 II 


18 " " 4 " 

Skirt and Drapery, of goods 54 in. wide, required, 5.\ yds. 

^2 " " 7 " 

36 " .< 8 " 

«« " " 22 " " !-> " 

18 " " 14 " 

— 33 — 

Suits of cotton f;^oods, J yd. wide, 12 to 14 yds. is required. 
Velvet vest, cuffs, and collar, | yd. is required. 
Cuffs, collar and reveres on basque, ^ yd. is required. 
r\ill drapery. Polonaise, 54 iri- ^oods, 4 yds. is required. 

36 ' " 5 " 


For waist and sleeve linings, 2 yds. best silesia, light col- 
ored preferable. 
For foundation skirt, 5 yds. of 24 in. goods is required. 

3 " 36 

«> (1,1 (( -- (1 <( 

42 ^^ 

Canvas facing, one )'ard. 

Crinoline for trimmings, one yard. 

One skirt braid. 

If the skirt is to be finished with cord at the edge, one 

ball of candle-wick will be needed. 
One card of hooks and eyes. 
Seven whalebones or stays. 
Two spools sewing silk. 
One spool thread. 
One spool basting thread, 
i^ doz. buttons. 
Two spools twist. 
Set of bustle steels. 
If the seams are to be bound, procure one bolt of lustring 

ribbon for the purpose. 
Dress shields. » 

Three plain flat buttons for the belt. 


Choose a design siu'ted to your dress material. If the 
material is rich velvet, brocade or shaggy goods, choose 
a design displaying the goods in plain panels or unbroken 
lines of drapery. On the other hand, if the goods be soft 
or loosely woven, any amount of looping, pleating or ruf- 
fling may be tastefully carried into effect. Wiry or stiff 
goods will not drape gracefully ; they are more suitable 
for plain or kilt skirts and plain draperies. 

— 34 — 

In adaptiiif^ the dress to the shape and size of the 
wearer, a certain knf)\vlcd<^e of drawin^f and of proper 
proportions is the chief help. There are, however, a few 
well ascertained rules which may safely be tau<,dit. One, 
for instance, is that transverse shapes generally tend to 
lessen the height, and increase the breadth, while longi- 
tudinal lines have the opposite effect. Nothing goes so 
far to redeem unusual size as complete repose both in 
form and color. Much trimming, loose bows and stream- 
ers, frills and furbelows, and caprices of all kinds, are apt to 
be intolerable when magnified, although on a small scale 
they may [)lease, proportion almost reversing the effect. 
Short women should never wear double skirts, unless the 
draperies are either very short or very long, as the height 
is greatly decreased by the broken line. Let fussy de- 
signs, and goods with sprawling or large patterns be left 
to women tall enough to wear them. The goods and the 
style of making must be suited to the age and the cir- 
cumstances of the wearer. Extremes should be avoided, 
and a quiet harmony pervade the attire. 


Applk^UE, — Applied, or sewn in place. 
Bizarre, — Conspicuous ; loud. 
Bouffant, — Full ; puffed. 
Burnous, — Bias folds or pleats. 
Corsage, — The dress waist. 

Double-breasted, — One front lapped over the other. 
En-suite, — In company; together. 
Jacket, — A sack, or loose upper garment. 
Jabot, — A cascade, or frill. 
Negili(;ee, — An easy, unceremonious dress. 
Plastron, — A vest. 
Postilion, — Pleated skirt of basque. 
Reveres, — Turned back corners ; reversed. 
TUNICQUE, — An overskirt. 
Tabelier, — The front of overskirt. 
Tournure, — Back of dress skirt, curving out from 

Sash, — An ornamental belt, or bows and ends. 
Yoke, — The waist above the bust line. 
Watteau, — A long, loose pleat. 

— 35 — 

Good sewing is more desirable than elaborate design- 
ing in garments for children's wear. Choose good, firm 
materials and follow some pattern, either illustrated in a 
fashion journal or copied from some dress already made. 
When a boughtcn pattern is used it is only necessary to 
measure the child around the waist and bust, the length 
of back, sleev^e and skirt, and compare the measure to 
the pattern. If it is to be enlarged, cut a new pattern, 
allowing a very little upon each seam. If the pattern is 
found to be too small, it is best to cut a new pattern, 
making the changes at centre of front and back, and on 
under-arm seams, and not changing the round seams of 
back. When no pattern is at hand, an old lining must 
be used as a guide. Measure it at bust, waist and length 
of back, see that the under-arm seam of front is straight, 
and the width of front at bust and waist equal to one- 
fourth of the bust measure. Do not take up any darts. 
The centre back seam slants from neck to waist, narrow- 
ing one-half an inch at waist. The centre back at waist 
measures from 2 to 2.\ inches, and the under-arm seam 
slants in from armscye to waist. Below the waist each 
seam is sloped out to the bottom of the garment. Pleats 
below the waist in the backs of children's waists always 
give them a short-waisted look, and are to be avoided. 
Draped overdresses are not appropriate for girls 
under lO. The length of the dress skirt must be reg- 
ulated by fashion. For very young children, yokes and 
full skirts are simple and easily made. The }'oke and 
sleeves are fitted first, and the skirt seamed, hemmed, and 
lastly set into the yoke between lining and outside. But- 
tons and buttonholes finish the opening of yoke. 

Kilts for small boys are pleated breadths set into a 
band without any foundation skirt under them. The 
pleats are pressed quite hard and taped underneath near 
the top. 

Infants' wardrobes are to be made of the finest ma- 
terials, beautifull)' sewed by hand, only the most delicate 
of lace or embroidery is admissible. Coarse trimmings 
detract instead of adorn any garment worn by a babe. 

Patterns for these garments come in sets, and are to 
be found at any pattern store. 


Children's under waists are cut in four parts: fronts and 
two halves of b;ick. The neck should be just low enough 
to be well below the dress neck. The waist should be 
plain and without sleeves. A two-inch hem or facing, 
finishes the bottom, in which an extra thickness of lining 
is inserted to better stay the buttons. Sew on four but- 
tons, at waist, front, back and each under-arm seam, to 
which the skirts and drawers are fastened by buttonholes. 

Drawers for girls are always made close, and open on 
both sides. It is best to make the seat an inch longer 
than is needed at the time, and a tuck run across, thus 
allowing for growth. It is better to lengthen the gar- 
ment at this point than at any other. The band should 
be of three thicknesses that the buttonholes may not tear 

In making little garments from the least worn portions 
of large ones, select the'very best for the waist and sleeves 
as there is much hard wear upon these parts of the dress. 
Use a firm lining of silesia or drill; cambric is far too un- 
serviceable. Press out all seams and folds before cutting 
the goods, and so manage, in laying on the lining, as to 
avoid any bad spots, freshen the garment by the addition 
of new collars and cuffs of contrasting color or material. 
A novice should not attempt combining two materials in 
a suit without strictly adhering to a design, as there is 
much to be considered in such suits, and any incongruity 
is very noticeable. Choose simple designs and follow 
them carefull}'. Do the work well, and the most unpro- 
fessional dressmaker need not be ashamed of her efforts. 


Although gentlemen's shirts are usually purchased 
ready-made, it is sometimes necessary or expedient to 
make them at home, especially those made from flannel 
or coarse materials. The cut shows a shirt drafted by 
Mrs. Ross' Tailor System, and is drafted from actual 
measures. Where cut paper patterns are used, the size 
of the shirt is entirel)' controlled b}- the size of the collar 
worn, and the garment is therefore frequently too large. 
Measure the pattern from neck to wrist and see that it 
corresponds with the measure of the form from neck to 
wrist. It is a great mistake to cut the sleeves too lone". 

— 37 — 

Bef^in by doubling the cloth lengthwise, and upon it 
place the pattern, the middle of both front and back to 
be on the fold of the cloth. Pin the pattern down and 
cut around it, allowing a narrow seam. Cut the sleeve 

long enough to form a facing around the armhole, unless 
the garment is lined both back and front. If the shirt is 
open in the back, cut a placket sixteen inches deep on 
the fold, and sew a lap on the left side, fold a narrow hem 
on the right-hand side and lap the left side over the right 
and stay the end firmly. If the shirt is to be open in 
front, cut an opening on fold ten to twelve inches deep, 
and in adjusting the bosom see that the middle of bosom 
is exactly on fold. The bosom is made and sewn to the 
front before any seams are joined. Sew the shoulder 
seam, sew the wristbands to the sleeves, join the sleeve 
to the garment, then seam the sleeve and the shirt body. 
Cut the neck band and sew to the neck, being careful not 
to stretch the latter. The band, when done aiid buttoned, 
should measure one-half inch less than the collar size. 

For a plain shirt it is better to finish the neck with a 
rolling collar instead of a neck band, for which cut a 
piece of the shirt goods to fit the neck of the shirt in 
length, and about six inches wide. Leave the corners 


square and join in a scam to the shirt, felh'njT the outside 
of collar over the seam. These collars are suitable only 
for shirts open in front, and should not extend over the 
lap over the opening. 

Flannel shirts are made open in front with the bosom 
sewn on one side and across the bottom, and the other 
side finished with buttonholes and buttons. 


Before American women can dress perfectly, they 
must have the taste of the French, especially in color. 
One reason why we see colors illy arranged, is, that the 
tlifferent articles are purchased each for its own imagined 
virtue, and without any thought as to what is to be worn 
with it. Women, while shopping, buy what pleases the 
eye, on the counter, forgetting what they have at home. 

That parasol is pretty, but it will kill, by its color, one 
dress in the buyer's wardrobe, and be unsuitable for the 
others. Never buy an article unless it is suitable to your 
age, habit, style, and the rest of your wardrobe. Noth- 
ing is more vulgar than to wear costly jewels with a com- 
mon delaine, or cheaj) lace with expensive brocades. 

What colors, it may be asked, go best together.'' 
Green with violet; cold colors with dark crimson or lilac; 
pale blue with scarlet; pink with black and white; and 
gray with scarlet or pink. A cold color generally re- 
quires a warm tint to give life to it. Gray and pale blue, 
for instance, do not combine well, both being cold colors. 
White and black arc safe to wear but the latter is not 
favorable to dark or pale complexions. The selection of 
colors suitable to the complexion is a matter that is too 
often neglected. 

The most comel}' woman in the world would never be 
beautiful in a dark blue hat and a purple dress, or in the 
dark blue hat, by itself, if she were afflicted with a sallow 
complexion. Yellow is a very trying color, and can only 
be worn by the rich toned brunettes, who require bright 
colors, such as scarlet and orange, to bring out the bril- 
liant tints in their complexions. Black may be worn with 
any color, though it looks best with the lighter shades of 
the different colors. Blue is suited to golden or yellow 

--39 — 

hair, and to those of fair complexion. Two vividly con- 
trastinj^ colors should not be used in equal quantities 
upon a dress, as they are both so positive in tone that 
they divide and distract the attention. The lighter shade 
should compose the body of the dress, and the darker 
form the trimmings. Certain colors should never, under 
any circumstances, be worn together, since they {produce 
positive discord to the eye. Red and yellow, red and 
blue (ex'cept in very deep shades), and scarlet and crim- 
son, should never be united. 

Gray is a most beautiful color for old and young — the 
soft silver gray which is formed of equal parts of black 
and white, with no touch of mauve in it. It admits of 
an)' color in trinmiing, and throws up the bloom of the 
skin. On the simple principle of harmony, every dress 
should be adapted, as perfectly as can be convenietly 
done, to the coloring, the size, and the shape of the 
wearer. It is safe to say that such very delicate col6rs 
as lavender, dove-color, sea-green, pale blue, etc., require 
fine materials, as they soon become soiled and faded in 
common or coarse materials, and much of their beauty is 
due to the bloom given by silks or other delicate goods. 

How often is our attention attracted towards some per- 
sons by their appearance, and the harmony of their attire, 
when nothing is personally known of them. 

It is recorded that Napoleon was first attracted to- 
wards Josephine by the pleasing effect produced in the 
contrasting colors of her drapery, and that of a crimson 
chair upon which she was sitting. 


A great secret in making money do its duty, and in 
tempting it to stretch to its furthest limit, is to keep 
clothes and all the accessories in order. If you make a 
new gown for yourself, or have it made at a dress-maker's, 
you should first try it on, to see that it has the right 
number of buttons, button-holes, strings and hang-ups; 
that the skirt hangs evenly all around; that no "sham" 
is exposed, and that it is complete in every particular. 
See that all bastings are removed, and that there are no 
hancfine threads. 

— 40 — 

When all is satisfactory, fold the basque flat and lay 
on a closet shelf, the trimming bows stuffed out with paper, 
and the bodice carefully wrapped up and kept free from 

Never turn a dress-skirt wrong side out, and either 
hang it up, or fold it neatly and lay in a long box. 
Wash goods are better folded, as they are not so apt to 
become limp or stringy. Care has a great deal to do 
with preserving the freshness of a dress. If thrown down 
carelessly when it is taken off, or worn about the house 
upon each and every occasion, a new garment will very 
soon look old and unfit to be worn upon the street. 

Every particle of dust should be removed from a black 
silk or poplin every time it is worn, for nothing cuts 
either out so soon as these often imperceptible little 
motes, with which the air of a city is filled, where coal is 
in such universal use. 


The most carefully kept dress will need some renovat- 
ing after doing service one year, and if it is only soiled, 
it can be freshened and cleaned without ripping entirely 
apart. Remove the breadth to be cleaned, and wash or 
sponge with a decoction of soap bark or weak ammonia 
water. If only a spot here and there are cleaned, the 
grease or soil will frequently spread instead of being re- 
moved, and the spot made worse. Always try a small 
piece of the goods first to be sure it will bear cleaning 
with any liquid, if it will not, try cleaning with gasoline 
or benzine. If the dress is to be ripped apart and en- 
tirely remodeled, all seams must be ripped, linings re- 
moved, and all threads picked out. Brush off all loose 
dust, and after cleaning, press all pieces with a hot flat- 
iron upon the wrong side. See that the ironing sheet is 
perfectly smooth, as any wrinkles will show upon the 

Cashmere and some other soft, all-wool goods are not 
injured by washing, but no soap should be used during 
the process, as it gives the cloth a shiny look when 
pressed. Black silks are stiffened and improved by 
sponging in cold coffee on the wrong side. Black lawn 

— 41 — 

dresses can be fresliened without rippint^ apart, by spong- 
iiiL^ li;^htly with bluing water, and pressing upon the 
wrong side when just a little damp. 

In remodeling, the object is to give to the garment 
the appearance of a new one, and any dingy or worn 
spots should be cut away in making the changes. If it 
is necessary to purchase some new goods to combine with 
the old, it should be arranged where it will receive the 
most wear, as in the waist and sleeves. A new waist and 
drapery with a made-over skirt will do excellent service. 
If the new goods imtst go into the skirt, try to cut the 
sleeves out of the best of the old material. 

To raise the pile on velvet, place a thick wet cloth 
over a hot flatiron (holding the iron face up) and over 
this place a dry cloth ; an assistant should hold the velvet 
.NAT V\\ over the iron, and raise the pile w ith a very fine 
brush, passing the velvet slowly over the iron until it is 
nicely freshened. Crapes may be treated in a like man- 
ner with eood results. 



The Sewing Room, 

Plain Needle Work, 

Seaming, .... 

Plain Hem, 

Punning Seam and Gathers, 

French Gathers, 

To Even Gathers, 

To Set Gathers to a Band, 

Tucks, . . . . 

Flannel Seams, 

Finishing Seams, 

Sewing on Tapes, 

Placket, . . . . 

Pockets, ... 

Waist Facings, , . 

Skirt Facings, 

Hooks and Eyes, 

Lace Edging, 

Sewing on Buttons, 

Folding Pleats, 

Kilting, . . . . 

Basting Linings to Goods, 

Front Lining, 

Back Lining, 


Side Form Lining, 

Sleeve Lining, 

Basting the Waist, 

Basting the Sleeve, 


































— 44 — 

Basting the Skirt, . . . . . 1 1> 

Polonaise or Wrappers, ...... 1() 

Plain Buttonhole, . . . . . . . 17 

Pressing, . . . . . . . 19 

Lessons in Cutting, . . . . . . . '20- 

Straight Breadths, . . . . . . . :^(» 

Pleatings, ........ .21 

Bias Cutting, . .' . . . . . . 21 

Joining Biases, ........ 21 

Hook and Eye Pieces, or Braces, . . . . . 21 

Plain Drawers, ....... 22 

Gored Skirt, . . . • . . . . . . 2.'1 

To Baste, 24 

The Corset, 25 

Cuttins; from Patterns, < t .' ' ' ' " 25 
° [ Inaccurate, .... 

The Sleeve Pattern, 27 

The Waist Pattern, 27 

Fitting, ..'..,.... 29 

Padding, ......... 30 

Stitching, 30 

Collars 30 

Cuffs, 31 

Draping, ......... 31 

Apron Front, ........ 32 

Dress Materials, ......•• 32 

Designs, ......... 33 

Definitions, ......... 34 

Children's Clothes, . . " . . . • • 35 

Plain Shirt, 36 

Selection of Colors, ....... 38 

Care of Clothes, ' • 39 

Renovating, ........ 40-41