Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. A list of corrections is found at the end of the text. Inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been maintained. A list of inconsistently spelled and hyphenated words is found at the end of the text.
LADIES' WORK-TABLE BOOK;
CLEAR AND PRACTICAL INSTRUCTIONS
PLAIN AND FANCY NEEDLEWORK, EMBROIDERY, KNITTING, NETTING, AND CROCHET.
WITH NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS, ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE VARIOUS STITCHES IN THOSE USEFUL AND FASHIONABLE EMPLOYMENTS.
NEW-YORK: J. WINCHESTER, 30 ANN-STREET 1844.
If it be true that "home scenes are rendered happy or miserable in proportion to the good or evil influence exercised over them by woman—as sister, wife, or mother"—it will be admitted as a fact of the utmost importance, that every thing should be done to improve the taste, cultivate the understanding, and elevate the character of those "high priestesses" of our domestic sanctuaries. The page of history informs us, that the progress of any nation in morals, civilization, and refinement, is in proportion to the elevated or degraded position in which woman is placed in society; and the same instructive volume will enable us to perceive, that the fanciful creations of the needle, have exerted a marked influence over the pursuits and destinies of man.
To blend the useful, with the ornamental and to exhibit the gushing forth of mind, vitalised by the warm and glowing affections of the heart, is the peculiar honor and sacred destiny of woman. Without her influence, life would be arrayed in sables, and the proud lords of creation would be infinitely more miserable and helpless than the beasts that perish. To render then those "terrestrial angels" all that our fondest wishes could desire, or our most vivid imaginations picture, must be, under any circumstances, a pleasing and delightful employment; while for a father or a brother to behold her returning all the care bestowed upon her, by the thousand offices of love, to the performance to which she alone is equal, is doubtless one of the most exalted sources of human felicity.
Providence has, in a remarkable manner, adapted woman's tastes and propensities to the station she was designed to occupy in the scale of being. Tender and affectionate, it is her highest bliss to minister to the wants, the convenience, or the pleasure of those she loves; and hence, her inventive powers have been, in all ages, called into early and active exercise, in the fabrication of those articles calculated to accomplish those desirable ends. Amongst these, Useful and Ornamental Needlework, Knitting, and Netting, occupy a distinguished place, and are capable of being made, not only sources of personal gratification, but of high moral benefit, and the means of developing in surpassing loveliness and grace, some of the highest and noblest feelings of the soul.
To become an expert needle-woman should be an object of ambition to every fair one. Never is beauty and feminine grace so attractive, as when engaged in the honorable discharge of household duties, and domestic cares. The subjects treated of in this little manual are of vast importance, and to them we are indebted for a large amount of the comforts we enjoy; as, without their aid, we should be reduced to a state of misery and destitution of which it is hardly possible to form an adequate conception. To learn, then, how to fabricate articles of dress and utility for family use, or, in the case of ladies blessed with the means of affluence, for the aid and comfort of the deserving poor, should form one of the most prominent branches of female education. And yet experience must have convinced those who are at all conversant with the general state of society, that this is a branch of study to which nothing like due attention is paid in the usual routine of school instruction. The effects of this neglect are often painfully apparent in after life, when, from a variety of circumstances, such knowledge would be of the highest advantage, and subservient to the noblest ends, either of domestic comfort, or of active and generous benevolence.
The records of history inform us of the high antiquity of the art of needlework; and its beautiful mysteries were amongst the earliest developments of female taste and ingenuity. As civilization increased, new wants called forth new exertions; the loom poured forth its multifarious materials, and the needle, with its accompanying implements, gave form and utility to the fabrics submitted to its operations. No one can look upon THE NEEDLE, without emotion; it is a constant companion throughout the pilgrimage of life. We find it the first instrument of use placed in the hand of budding childhood, and it is found to retain its usefulness and charm, even when trembling in the grasp of fast declining age. The little girl first employs it in the dressing of her doll: then she is taught its still higher use, in making up some necessary articles for a beloved brother, or a revered parent. Approaching to womanhood, additional preparations of articles of use, as ornaments of herself and others, call for its daily employment; and with what tender emotions does the glittering steel inspire the bosom, as beneath its magic touch, that which is to deck a lover or adorn a bride, becomes visible in the charming productions of female skill and fond regard. To the adornments of the bridal bed, the numerous preparations for an anxiously-expected little stranger, and the various comforts and conveniences of life, the service of this little instrument is indispensible. Often too is it found aiding in the preparation of gifts of friendship, the effects of benevolence, and the works of charity. Many of those articles, which minister so essentially to the solace of the afflicted, would be unknown without it; and its friendly aid does not desert us, even in the dark hour of sorrow and affliction. By its aid, we form the last covering which is to enwrap the body of a departed loved one, and prepare those sable habiliments, which custom has adopted as the external signs of mourning.
The needle is also capable of becoming an important monitor to the female heart; and we would impress this truth seriously upon their recollection, that as there is
"Sermons in stones, And good in every thing."
so the needle they so often use, is, or may be, a silent but salutary moral teacher. They all know that however good the eye of a needle may be, if it were rusted and pointless, it would be of little use. Let them also recollect, that though it may posses the finest point and polish in the world, if destitute of the eye, it would be of no use at all. The lesson we wish them to derive from hence, is this; that as it is the eye which holds the thread, and that it is by the thread alone that the needle becomes useful, so it is the eye of intelligence directed to the attainment of useful ends, that gives all the real value to the point and polish, which is so much admired in the educated female; and that unless the intellectual powers of the mind be engaged in the pursuits of goodness, all other endowments will be useless to their possessor. Let them learn also, not to despise such of their companions as, though intelligent and useful, are neither possessed of wit or elegance equal to their own. Circumstances may have rendered them, like the needle, rusty and pointless; but the eye of intelligence is there, and they may still be useful.
The want of a work containing clear instructions, without unnecessary diffuseness, by which the uninitiated may become their own instructors, has long been sensibly felt; and this want, the following pages are intended to supply. Our aim is, not to make young ladies servile copyists, but to lead them to the formation of habits of thought and reflection, which may issue in higher attainments than the knitting of a shawl, or the netting of a purse.
Indeed, it is only when accomplishments are rendered subservient to the development of moral goodness, that they may become pursuits at all worthy of an accountable being. We were not sent into this world to flutter through life, like the gaudy butterfly, only to be seen and admired. We were designed to be useful to our fellow beings; and to make all our powers and capabilities, in some way or other conducive to the happiness and welfare of our co-journeyers on the path of time. To this end, we wish our fair countrywomen to devote their best attention; and, in its attainment, to exert every energy which they possess. We wish them to make all the knowledge which they may acquire subserve some noble purpose, which will outlive the present hour. But to do this, the well-spring of the purest affections must be opened in the soul; and the elegant productions of taste and genius become vitalized, and animated, by the spirit of love. Thus, and thus only, can the occupations of a leisure hour be converted into efficient ministers of good; and such they will assuredly be found, if practised from right motives, and placed in due subordination to the right exercise of more important duties, which we owe to Heaven, to our fellow beings, and to ourselves.
We are anxious to render elegant amusements conducive to the attainment of moral ends; and to lay that foundation of intellectual superiority, and affectionate regard, for the comfort and happiness of others, which can alone give light and animation, sweetness and blooming freshness, to the interesting scenes of future life. All engagements, which are calculated to elevate, soften, and harmonize the human character, have this tendency; and it is in the assured conviction that the employments here treated of, are, when cultivated in due subordination to higher duties, well adapted to secure these objects, and to promote these domestic ends, that the Ladies' Work-Table Book has been prepared, and is now presented to the lovely daughters of our land. The public will be the best judge how far we have succeeded in our effort. Small as the work is, it has not been produced without much labor, and considerable exercise of thought; and it is dedicated to our fair countrywomen, in the fervent hope, that it will not be found altogether unworthy of their favorable notice and regard.
In concluding these introductory remarks, we wish to say a word or two to the parents and guardians of those, whose excellence of character is so essential to the welfare of our beloved country. We trust by you, our little manual will be cordially approved, and placed, as a memento of affection, in the hands of those you most desire to see models of sincerity, elegance, and accomplishments. This will be well; but we trust the matter will not be allowed to rest there. It is not when good instructors and proper books are provided for the young, that the duties of the parental relationship are performed. No; care must be taken to give efficiency to the means thus called into requisition, by the most assiduous care, devoted attention, and judiciously expressed approval on the part of those who claim the highest regard from the rising generation. The path of education is not always strewed with flowers, nor can it ever be pursued with either pleasure or advantage unless a foundation of practical piety and moral worth be laid, on which the superstructure may securely rest.
It has been well remarked "that intellect may be cultivated at school, but that the affections of the heart can only be properly developed amid the scenes of home." Our aim in this work has been, while seeking to promote the purposes of genuine education, to raise high the moral sentiments, and cultivate to an eminent degree the best sensibilities of the soul. In this we ask for your cordial and careful co-operation. We know the influence of a judicious mother, and we confidently commend our labor to your favorable regard.
CHAPTER I. MATERIALS AND IMPLEMENTS FOR WORKING 17
CHAPTER II. PLAIN NEEDLEWORK—EXPLANATION OF STITCHES 28
CHAPTER III. PLAIN NEEDLEWORK—INSTRUCTIONS IN THE PREPARATION OF BODY LINEN 37
CHAPTER IV. PLAIN NEEDLEWORK—INSTRUCTIONS IN THE PREPARATION OF HOUSE LINEN 54
CHAPTER V. PLAIN NEEDLEWORK—MISCELLANEOUS INSTRUCTIONS 59
CHAPTER VI. FANCY NEEDLEWORK—EXPLANATION OF STITCHES 63
CHAPTER VII. FANCY NEEDLEWORK—EXPLANATION OF PATTERNS 71
CHAPTER VIII. FANCY NEEDLEWORK—INSTRUCTIONS IN EMBROIDERY 79
CHAPTER IX. FANCY NEEDLEWORK—PREPARATION OF FRAMES 82
CHAPTER X. FANCY NEEDLEWORK—APPLICATION OF FANCY NEEDLEWORK TO USEFUL PURPOSES 88
CHAPTER XI. FANCY NEEDLEWORK—SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS 91
CHAPTER XII. KNITTING—EXPLANATION OF STITCHES 97
CHAPTER XIII. KNITTING—EXAMPLES IN KNITTING 111
CHAPTER XIV. NETTING—EXPLANATION OF STITCHES 125
CHAPTER XV. NETTING—EXAMPLES IN NETTING 135
CHAPTER XVI. CROCHET—EXPLANATION OF THE PRINCIPAL STITCHES IN CROCHET WORK 142
CHAPTER XVII. CROCHET—EXAMPLES IN CROCHET 148
CHAPTER XVIII. TATTING—EXPLANATION OF STITCHES 153
CHAPTER XIX. CONCLUDING REMARKS 155
THE LADIES' WORK-TABLE BOOK.
MATERIALS AND IMPLEMENTS FOR WORKING.
MATERIALS FOR PLAIN NEEDLEWORK.
The subject of this chapter is one to which it is hardly possible to pay too much attention; since, on the judicious selection of materials, depends, to a vast extent, the success of that prudent and well-regulated economy, which is so essential to the welfare and prosperity of every family. On this account, we have thought it right to place before our readers the following observations, which should be carefully attended to, as of the utmost importance. In purchasing goods, be careful to examine the quality; and, if not experienced in such matters, take with you an experienced friend. Cheap goods generally prove the dearest in the end. The following rules may assist you in this respect, if under the necessity of relying upon your own judgment. Be careful, in purchasing articles, such as linen, calico, &c., for a specific purpose, to have it the proper width. A great deal of waste may be incurred, by inattention to this important direction.
CALICO is often so dressed up, as to make it extremely difficult to ascertain its real quality: hence, it is best to buy it undressed. It should be soft, and free from specks. It is of various widths, and of almost all prices. A good article, at a medium price, will be found cheapest in the end.
LINEN is of various qualities. That which is called Suffolk hemp is considered the best. Irish linen is also in great repute. But you must be careful to escape imposition; as there are plenty of imitations, which are good for nothing.
MUSLIN CHECKS are much used for caps, &c., and are of various qualities. You may form a good judgment of these, by observing the thin places between the checks and the threads; if the former be good, and the latter even, they may generally be relied on.
BLUE CHECKS.—These may be procured either of cotton or linen; but the linen ones, though highest in price, are cheapest in the end: they will wear double the length of time that the cotton ones will.
PRINTS.—Give a good price, if you wish to secure a good article. Some colors, as red, pink, lilac, bright brown, buff, and blue, wear well; green, violet, and some other colors are very liable to fade. The best way is to procure a patch, and wash half of it. This will test the color, and may prevent much disappointment.
FLANNELS.—The Welsh flannels are generally preferred, as those that are the most durable. Lancashire flannels are cheapest, but are far inferior in quality. You may know the one from the other by the color: the flannels of Lancashire are of a yellowish hue; those of Wales are a kind of bluish gray tint.
WOOLLEN CLOTHS.—These vary exceedingly, as to quality. The low-priced ones are not worth half the purchase money. Good woollen cloth is smooth, and has a good nap. If the sample shown you, be destitute of these qualities, have nothing to do with it, unless you want to be cheated.
STUFFS.—The quality of these is sometimes very difficult to detect. Holding them up to the light is a good plan. You should also be particular as to the dyeing, as that is sometimes very indifferently managed, and the stuff is dashed. Black dye is liable to injure the material. Low-priced stuffs are rarely good for anything.
CRAPE.—This is often damaged in the dying. You should spread it over a white surface before you purchase it, as by that means, the blemishes in the material, if any, will be more likely to appear.
SILKS.—These are, if good, costly; and great care should be exercised in selecting them. They should not be too stiff, as in that case they are liable to crack; and on the other hand, they should not be too thin, as that kind is liable to tear almost as soon as paper. A medium thickness and stiffness is the best. If plain, you must be careful that there are no stains or specks in them; and if figured, it is advisable to have the pattern equally good on both sides. This will enhance the price at first, but you will find it to be good economy afterward. In silks that are to be sold cheap, a kind of camel's hair is frequently introduced. This may be detected by pulling a piece of the suspected silk cross ways, and if camel's hair be mixed with it, it will spring with a kind of whirring sound. This should be attended to.
SATIN.—It is of various qualities and prices. The best is soft and thick. When used for trimmings, it should be cut the cross way, as it then looks better, and has a much richer appearance than when put on straight.
These general observations will be of great use, and should be well impressed upon the memory, so as readily to be called into exercise when needed.
In making up linen, thread is much preferable to cotton. Sewing-silk should be folded up neatly in wash leather, and colored threads and cotton in paper, as the air and light are likely to injure them. Buttons, hooks and eyes, and all metal implements, when not in use, should be kept folded up; as exposure to the air not only tarnishes them, but is likely to injure them in a variety of ways.
MATERIALS FOR FANCY NEEDLEWORK.
Canvas (coarse) eighteen threads to the inch. Work in cross stitch with double wool. This is proper for a foot-stool, sofa-pillow, &c.
Canvas (very coarse) ten threads to the inch. Work in cross stitch, over one thread, with single wool. If used for grounding, work in two threads. This will accelerate the work, and look equally well.
Silk Leaves.—If no grounding is required, work in tent stitch. The pattern should be large in proportion to the fineness of the material. The finer the canvas, the larger the pattern.
Color.—An attention to shade is of the utmost consequence; as on this, in an eminent degree, depends the perfection of the work. The shades must be so chosen, as to blend into each other, or all harmony of coloring will be destroyed. The canvas must be more distinct in tent stitch than in cross stitch, or rather more strongly contrasted, especially in the dark shades of flowers: without attention to this point, a good resemblance of nature cannot be obtained.
Wool, (English and German) white, black, and various colors.—Two, three, four, five, or six shades of each color, as the nature of the work may require. The same observation applies to silk and cotton, in cases where those materials are used.
Split wool, for mosaic work.
Silk. Split silk. Floss. Half twist. Deckers. China silk. Fine purse silk.
Cotton, of various kinds.
Gold twist. Silver thread. Chenille.
Beads. Thick and transparent gold. Bright and burnt steel. Silver plated, &c.
Canvas, called bolting, for bead work.
SCALE OF CANVASES.
English Canvas. —————————————————————- Canvas No. Cross stitch. Tent stitch. —————————————————————- 16 4-1/2 9 18 5 10 20 5-1/2 11 22 6 12 24 6-1/2 13 26 7 14 28 7-1/2 15 30 8 16 32 9 18 34 9-1/2 19 36 10 20 38 10-1/4 21 40 11 22 42 11-1/2 23 45 12-1/2 25 48 13 26 50 14 28 55 15 30 60 17 34
Silk Canvas. —————————————————————- Canvas No. Cross stitch. Tent stitch. —————————————————————- 14 28
French Canvas. —————————————————————- Canvas No. Cross stitch. Tent stitch. —————————————————————- 10 6-1/2 13 12 7-1/2 15 14 8-1/2 17 16 9-1/2 19 18 10 20 19 11 22 20 12 24 22 13 26 24 14 28 26 30 15 30 40 16 32
MATERIALS FOR EMBROIDERY.
Silk, satin, velvet, and cloth.
MATERIALS FOR KNITTING, NETTING, AND CROCHET.
SILK.—This material is extensively used in the various productions of which we are about to treat. The kinds usually employed in Knitting, Netting, and Crochet, are purse silk, or twist; coarse and fine netting silk; second sized purse twist; plain silk; China silk; extra fine, and finest netting silk; second sized netting silk; coarse and fine chenille, and crochet silk. These are so well known that it would be a waste of time to describe them in detail. They are of a great variety of colors, and of different qualities; some sorts being much more durable, both in fabric and color, than others. No young lady should trust, at first, to her own judgment in making the selection: but a little attention will soon render her a proficient in the art of choosing the most profitable materials. The China silks of the French surpass all others, of that kind, with which we are acquainted, both as to the nature of tints, and the brilliancy of the various dyes and shades.
WOOL.—This is of various colors and shades; German wool, single, and double; Hamburgh wool, fleecy, of three, four, five, six, seven, and eight threads; embroidery fleecy Shetland wool; English wool, coarse yarn, for mitts.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF WOOLS.
German wool is the produce of the merino breed, in its highest state of cultivation, and is the best sheep's wool we possess. The merino fleece is brought to the greatest perfection in Saxony, and the adjacent states. It is chiefly manufactured for the purposes of needle-work, &c., at Gotha; the dyeing of it is performed at Berlin, and in other parts of Germany. The wools of Germany are, in fineness and softness, much, superior to those of Spain. The wool is prepared in various sizes, and for some kinds of work, may be split with great advantage. A large quantity is imported into this country in a raw state, and is dyed and manufactured here. Some of this is equal to the wools prepared in Germany, as to quality; but the brilliancy of the color will not bear comparison. This remark does not extend to the black German wool, prepared in this country, and which is far superior to that prepared on the continent. Much wool, of a very superior quality is annually prepared for the market; and so great is its resemblance to a superior article, that it requires much attention, and an experienced eye, to detect the fraud. English wool, or what is often called embroidery wool, is much harsher than that of Germany; yet it is of a very superior kind, and much to be preferred for some kinds of work. The dye of several colors of English lamb's wool is equal to that of the best dyes of Germany; especially scarlet and some of the shades of blue, green, and gold color, which for brilliancy and permanency, may justly claim equality with the most finished productions of the continental states.
Worsted is another description of our native produce, and is extensively used for a great variety of useful purposes, which are familiar to every one. A great portion of the needle-work of the last century was done in a fine kind of worsted, called CREWELS: and some specimens still remain, which do great credit to the venerable grandames of the present generation. Yarn is a coarse kind of worsted, much employed in making garden nets, and for various other purposes. Fleecy (English) is manufactured from the Leicestershire breed, and is much used in knitting and netting: it is of two qualities; both varying in size, from an eighth to a quarter of an inch in diameter. They are made up of threads, varying from two to twelve, and are both equally good. They are applied to crochet as well as to the other descriptions of work named. German fleecy, thought but little used, is much superior to that of this country. Hamburgh wool is an excellent article, but has not hitherto been much in request. Great care is necessary, in selecting wool of good quality: but let the young novice give to the subject her best attention; and should she find herself sometimes deceived, still persevere, remembering that "practice makes perfect."
COTTON, of various sizes, as numbered from one to six, or higher if required. In the choice of this material, much care is needed, not only in the selection of colors and shades, but also to ascertain if the color has been stained with a permanent dye.
DOWN.—This is sometimes used for stuffing knitted cushions, muffs, &c., and is too well known to need any description here.
GOLD AND SILVER THREAD AND CORD.—The precious metals are now very generally employed in the ornamental parts of all kinds of fancy work. Gold and silver threads consists of a thread of silk, round which is spun an exceedingly fine wire of the metal required. For gold, silver or copper gilt wire is employed, as pure gold could not be so easily wrought. These threads can be employed in almost any way which the taste of the fair artist may induce her to devise. Besides the thread, gold and silver cord is also in much demand, and looks extremely beautiful, when employed with taste and judgment. This material is a twist, and is composed of different quantities of threads, according to the thickness required. Much care is required in working with it, or the beauty of the material will be spoilt. It is much used in crochet, and without due attention, the point of the needle is liable to catch the cord, and to break the wire, which would entirely destroy the beauty of the performance.
BEADS.—These beautiful fabrications of art, are composed of gold, silver, polished steel, and glass. There is also a beautiful sort called garnet beads, with gold points. All these can be procured at any of the establishments for the sale of fancy articles, and are to be employed as the judgment or fancy may direct. The gold beads are used in making all kinds of knitting, netting, and crochet, and look well either by themselves, or when in connection with those of the other materials named. Glass beads, may be procured of any variety of color, and when in combination with gold, silver, or steel, form a beautiful relief.
NECESSARY IMPLEMENTS FOR FANCY NEEDLEWORK.
Frames. Cross stitch needles. Sewing needles. Meshes, of various sizes—at least three. Chenille Needles. Pair of long sharp-pointed scissors. Cartridge Paper. Tissue Paper. A fine piercer. Seam piercer. Camel's hair brushes.
Mixture of white lead and gum water, to draw patterns for dark materials.
Mixture of stone blue and gum water, for light colors.
Black lead pencils.
NECESSARY IMPLEMENTS FOR KNITTING.
Needles of various sizes. The Nos. referred to are those of the knitting needle gauge. Needles pointed at either end, for Turkish knitting. Ivory, or wooden pins, for knitting a biroche. A knitting sheath, &c., to be fastened on the waist of the knitter, toward the right hand, for the purpose of keeping the needle in a steady and proper position.
NECESSARY IMPLEMENTS FOR NETTING.
A pin or mesh, on which to form the loops. A needle called a netting needle, formed into a kind of fork, with two prongs at each end. The ends of the prongs meet and form a blunt point, not fastened like the eye of a common needle, but left open, that the thread or twine may pass between them, and be wound upon the needle. The prongs are brought to a point, in order that the needle may pass through a small loop without interruption. Twine to form foundations. A fine long darning needle for bead work. Meshes of various, sizes from No. 1 to 11. Flat meshes, and ivory meshes; also of various sizes. The gauge is the same as that for knitting-needles.
NECESSARY IMPLEMENTS FOR CROCHET.
Ivory crochet needles of various sizes. Steel crochet needles. Rug needles and a pair of long sharp pointed scissors. These implements should be disposed in a regular and orderly manner, as should also the materials for working. Order and regularity are matters but too frequently neglected in the gay and buoyant season of youth; and this fault, which is the parent of so much annoyance in after life, is but too generally overlooked by those whose duty it is to correct these incipient seeds of future mischief. No pursuit should be entered into by the young, without having some moral end in view, and this is especially needful to be observed in cases, where at first sight, it might appear a matter of indifference, whether the pursuit was one of utility, or of mere relaxation. We earnestly entreat our young friends, never to forget, that even our amusements may be rendered an acceptable sacrifice to their heavenly Father, if they assiduously endeavor to make the habits they form in their seasons of relaxation from graver studies, conduce to the development of the higher faculties of their nature, and subordinate preparations for a more exalted state of being, than any which this transitory scene can of itself present to their contemplation and pursuits. Dyer, speaking of Tapestry, has beautifully said—
"This bright art Did zealous Europe learn of Pagan lands, While she assayed with rage of holy war To desolate their fields; but old the skill: Long were the Phrygian's pict'ring looms renown'd; Tyre also, wealthy seat of art, excell'd, And elder Sidon, in th' historic web."
But we would have our fair friends to place before them a high and a definite object. Let them seek, like the excellent Miss Linwood—
"To raise at once our reverence and delight, To elevate the mind and charm the sight, To pour religion through the attentive eye, And waft the soul on wings of extacy; Bid mimic art with nature's self to vie, And raise the spirit to its native sky."
EXPLANATION OF STITCHES.
Before commencing those directions, which we deem it necessary to place before our readers, in reference to this important portion of the work-table manual, we wish to say a word or two to our fair countrywomen, on the importance of a general and somewhat extensive acquaintance with those arts, on which so much of the comfort of individual and domestic life depends. Economy of time, labor, and expenses, is an essential requisite in every family; and will ever claim a due share of attention, from her who is desirous of fulfilling with credit to herself and advantage to others, the allotted duties of her appointed station. To those, who are at the head of the majority of families, an extensive knowledge of the various departments of plain needlework is indispensable. The means placed at their disposal are limited; in many instances, extremely so: and to make the most of these means, generally provided by the continual care and unremitting attention of the father and the husband, is a sacred duty, which cannot be violated without the entailment of consequences which every well regulated mind must be anxious to avoid.
The following are the principal stitches used in plain needlework.
SEWING AND FELLING.—If you have selvages, join them together and sew them firmly. If you have raw edges, turn down one of the edges once, and the other double the breadth, and then turn half of it back again. This is for the fell. The two pieces are pinned face to face, and seamed together; the stitches being in a slanting direction, and just deep enough to hold the separate pieces firmly together. Then flatten the seam with the thumb, turn the work over and fell it the same as hemming. The thread is fastened by being worked between the pieces and sewn over.
HEMMINGS.—Turn down the raw edge as evenly as possible. Flatten, and be careful, especially in turning down the corners. Hem from right to left; bring the point of the needle from the chest toward the right hand. Fasten the thread without a knot, and when you finish, sew several stitches close together, and cut off the thread.
GERMAN HEMMING.—Turn down both the raw edges once, taking care so to do it, as that both turns may be toward your person; you then lay one below the other, so as that the smooth edge of the nearest does not touch the other, but lies just beneath it. The lower one is then to be hemmed or felled to the piece against which you have laid it, still holding it before you. You are next to open your sleeve, or whatever else you have been employed upon; and laying the upper fold over the lower, fell it down, and the work is done.
MANTUAMAKER'S HEM.—You lay the raw edge of one of your pieces a little below the other; the upper edge is then turned over the other twice, and felled down as strong as possible.
RUNNING.—Take three threads, leave three, and in order that the work may be kept as firm as possible, back-stitch occasionally. If you sew selvages, they must be joined evenly together; but if raw edges, one must be turned down once, and the other laid upon it, but a few threads from the top. It is, in this case, to be felled afterwards.
STITCHING.—The work must be even as possible. Turn down a piece to stitch to, draw a thread to stitch upon, twelve or fourteen threads from the edge. Being thus prepared, you take two threads back, and so bring, the needle out, from under two before. Proceed in this manner, to the end of the row; and in joining a fresh piece of thread, take care to pass the needle between the edges and bring it out where the last stitch was finished.
GATHERING.—You begin by taking the article to be gathered, and dividing it into halves, and then into quarters, putting on pins, to make the divisions. The piece, to which you are intending to gather it, must be gathered about twelve threads from the top, taking three threads on the needle, and leaving four; and so preceding, alternately, until one quarter is gathered. Fasten the thread, by twisting it round a pin; stroke the gathers, so that they lie evenly and neatly, with a strong needle or pin. You then proceed as before, until all the gathers are gathered. Then take out the pins, and regulate the gathers of each quarter, so as to correspond with those of the piece to which it is to be sewed. The gathers are then to be fastened on, one at a time; and the stitches must be in a slanting direction. The part to be gathered must be cut quite even before commencing, or else it will be impossible to make the gathering look well.
DOUBLE GATHERING, OR PUFFING.—This is sometimes employed in setting on frills; and when executed properly has a pretty effect. You first gather the top, in the usual way; then, having stroked down the gathers, you gather again under the first gathering, and of such a depth as you wish the puffing to be. You then sew on the first gathering to the gown, frock, &c. you design to trim, at a distance, corresponding with the width of the puffing: and the second gathering sewed to the edge, so as to form a full hem. You may make a double hem, if you please, by gathering three times instead of only twice; and one of the hems may be straight, while the other is drawn to one side a little. This requires much exactness, in the execution; but if properly done, it gives a pleasing variety to the work.
WHIPPING.—You cut the edge smooth, and divide into halves and quarters, as for gathering. You then roll the muslin or other material very lightly upon the finger, making use of the left thumb for that purpose. The needle must go in on the outside, and be brought through, on the inside. The whipping-cotton should be as strong and even as possible. In order that the stitches may draw with ease, they must be taken with great care. The roll of the whip should be about ten threads.
BUTTON-HOLE STITCH.—These should be cut by a thread, and their length should be that of the diameter of the button. In working, the button-hole must lie lengthways upon the forefinger; and you begin at the side which is opposite to the thumb, and the furthest from the point of the finger on which it is laid. The needle must go in on the wrong side, and be brought out on the right, five threads down. To make the stitch, the needle is passed through the loop before it is drawn close. In turning the corners, be careful not to do it too near; and in order that a proper thickness may be obtained, it is necessary that the needle should go in between every two threads. Making button-holes, requires great care and attention.
FANCY BUTTON-HOLE STITCH.—This resembles a very wide button-hole stitch, and is very neat for the fronts of bodies, where it has a very pretty appearance; likewise for the bands and the shoulder bits, and above the broad hems and tucks of frocks.
CHAIN STITCH.—In making this stitch, you are to employ union cord, bobbin, or braid, whichever you think most suitable. Make a knot at the end, and draw it through to the right side. While you put in the needle, let the end hang loose, and bring it out below, so as to incline a little towards the left hand. Pass your needle over the cord, as you draw it out, and this will form a loop. In drawing out the mesh, you must be careful not to draw the stitch too tight, as that would destroy the effect. You proceed in the same manner to form the next, and each succeeding loop; taking care to put the needle in a little higher, and rather more to the right than in the preceding stitch, so that each loop begins within the lower part of the one going before it, and you thus produce the resemblance of a chain.
FANCY CHAIN STITCH.—The only difference between this and the common chain stitch, is that very little of the cord is taken up on the needle at a time, and the stitches are far from each other. Its appearance will be varied, according as you put in the needle, to slant little or much. If you should work it perfectly horizontal, it is the same as button-hole stitch.
HERRING-BONING.—This is generally employed in articles composed of flannel, or other thick material. The edge is to be cut even, and turned down once. You work from left to right, thus: Put your needle into the material, and take a stitch of two or three threads, as close as possible, under the raw edge, and bring the needle half way up that part which is turned down, and four or five threads toward the right hand; make another stitch, and bring down the needle; thus proceed until the work is finished. This stitch is something like the back-bone of a fish, and is sometimes used as an ornament for children's robes, and at the top of hems. It looks both neat and elegant, when carefully executed.
FANCY HERRING-BONING.—This is the same as common herring-bone, only it is done in a perpendicular manner, instead of being worked horizontally from left to right; and the thread is brought round behind the needle, so as to finish the work in a more elegant manner. It has an exceeding neat and pleasing look, when it is well executed, and is considered as highly ornamental, in appropriate situations.
ANGULAR STITCH.—This stitch resembles button-hole stitch, only it is carried from right to left to form the pattern. It is a neat ornament for cuffs, skirts and capes, and children's pelisses. As much of its beauty depends on its regularity, care should be taken to make the patterns very even and straight, and of an equal width; without due attention to this, the work will be spoiled.
DOUBLE HERRING-BONING.—This pattern is a kind of double herring-bone, on each side; it is too intricate to describe minutely. The engraving will give a better idea of this stitch than any description we could give. Great care being required to keep the pattern even, it is advisable to run a tacking thread down the middle of it, to serve as a guide.
HORSE-SHOE STITCH.—This is done with thick, loosely-twisted cotton, or bobbin, and is worked from left to right, as shown in the accompanying engraving. It has a very neat and pretty appearance, when worked near the edge of hems, robings, &c.
FANCY BOBBIN EDGING.—This is formed by a succession of loops made in the following manner: Make a knot at the end, and put the needle through to the right side, just below the hem. Bring the bobbin over the hem, and, putting the needle in at the wrong side, bring it through to the right. Draw the loop to the size you desire, pass the bobbin through it, and commence the next stitch, proceeding as before.
CHAIN STITCH, ON GATHERS.—This looks well, if worked in colored worsted, or in cord. Two gathers are taken up for each stitch, taking care always to take one of the previous stitches and one new gather on the needle at the same time.
CORAL PATTERN.—This requires great accuracy in the working, and it is advisable for the inexperienced to run lines, in long stitches, to fix the middle and outsides of the pattern. It may be best understood by the engraving, merely observing that the stitch is begun on the left hand, and continued alternately from left to right, always pointing the needle toward the centre. It is very suitable for the waist-bands of children's frocks, the tops of broad hems, &c.
SERPENTINE STITCH.—This is exceedingly pretty, and is much employed for children's dresses. It is worked with the hand, being sewn on to the material when made. Take the cord, knot it so as to form a loop at the end; then pass the other end through the loop, toward the front, to form another loop to the right hand; continue passing the bobbin through the loop on one side, then through the loop on the other, directing the cord so as to pass from the side of the work invariably towards the inner, or that part next the work.
BIASSING.—In this operation, the first part of the stitch is the same as gathering. You then stitch down; and upon the right side of the gather, you lay a thread a good deal thicker than the one you used for gathering thread. Over this thread you sew, taking care to take hold also of the gathering thread. The needle is always to be pointed toward your chest. You may work two or three rows in this way, on the sleeves and shoulders of dresses, &c., which has a handsome effect. You must take great care to bring the needle out between each one of the gathers.
HONEY COMBING.—The material may be velvet, silk, &c.; and the mode of working is as follows: The piece you intend honey-combing, must be creased in regular folds, taking care that they are as even as possible. Then make the folds lie closely together, by tacking them with a strong thread, and in long stitches. You then take silk of the right color; stitch together at equal and proper distances the two first folds, and proceed, with each succeeding two, in the same manner, only taking the stitches in the intermediate spaces. Thus the stitches of each alternate row will correspond together. Draw out the thread, when the work is finished, and on pulling it open, it will form diamonds on the right side. This work is proper for the inside of work-boxes, and is sometimes employed to ornament the tops of beds. It looks well, if carefully executed.
A perfect acquaintance with these various stitches, will enable the practical needlewoman to pursue her occupation with ease and pleasure.
INSTRUCTIONS IN THE PREPARATION OF BODY LINEN.
In order to secure economy of time, labor, and expense, and also to do everything neatly and in order, the lady who is intending to engage in the domestic employment of preparing linen necessary for personal and family use, should be careful to have all her materials ready, and disposed in the most systematic manner possible, before commencing work. The materials employed in the construction of articles, which come under the denomination of plain needlework, are so various, that a mere list of them would occupy more than half our space; and they are so well known, that no necessity exists for naming them in detail. We shall therefore proceed, at once, to give plain directions, by which any lady may soon become expert in this necessary department of household uses, merely observing, that a neat work-box, well supplied with all the implements required—including knife, scissors (of at least three sizes,) needles and pins in sufficient variety, bodkins, thimbles, thread and cotton, bobbins, marking silks, black lead pencils, india rubber, &c., should be provided, and be furnished with a lock and key, to prevent the contents being thrown into confusion by children, servants, or unauthorized intruders.
The lady being thus provided, and having her materials, implements, &c., placed in order upon her work-table, (to the edge of which it is an advantage to have a pincushion affixed, by means of a screw,) may commence her work, and proceed with pleasure to herself, and without annoyance to any visitor, who may favor her with a call. We would recommend, wherever practicable, that the work-table should be made of cedar, and that the windows of the working parlor should open into a garden, well supplied with odoriferous flowers and plants, the perfume of which will materially cheer the spirits of those especially whose circumstances compel them to devote the greatest portion of their time to sedentary occupations. If these advantages cannot be obtained, at least the room should be well ventilated, and furnished with a few cheerful plants, and a well filled scent-jar. The beneficent Creator intended all His children, in whatever station of life they might be placed, to share in the common bounties of His providence; and when she, who not for pleasure, but to obtain the means of subsistence, is compelled to seclude herself, for days or weeks together, from the cheering influence of exercise in the open air, it becomes both her duty, and that of those for whom she labors, to secure as much of these advantages, or of the best substitutes for them, as the circumstances of the case will admit.
We now proceed to lay down what we hope will be found clear though concise rules, for the preparation of various articles of dress and attire.
APRONS.—These are made of a variety of materials, and are applied to various uses. The aprons used for common purposes, are made of white, blue, brown, checked, and sometimes of black linen; nankeen, stuff, and print, are also employed. The width is generally one breadth of the material, and the length is regulated by the height of the wearer. Dress aprons are, of course, made of finer materials—cambric, muslin, silk, satin, lace, clear and other kinds of muslin, &c., and are generally two breadths in width, one of which is cut in two, so as to throw a seam on each side, and leave an entire breadth for the middle. Aprons of all kinds are straight, and either plaited or gathered on to the band or stock at the top. Those with only one breadth, are hemmed at the bottom with a broad hem; those with two breadths, must be hemmed at the sides likewise. The band should be from half a nail to a nail broad; its length is to be determined by the waist of the wearer. It should be fastened at the back, with hooks and eyelet holes. To some aprons, pockets are attached, which are either sewed on in front, or at the back, and a slit made in the apron to correspond with them. The slit, or opening of the pocket is to be hemmed neatly, or braided, as may be most desirable. In some kinds of aprons, bibs are introduced, which are useful to cover the upper part of the dress. Their size must be determined by the taste of the person who is to wear them.
DRESS APRONS.—Take two breadths of any material you choose, dividing one of them in the middle. Hem all round, with a broad hem, three-fourths of a nail deep. The band is to be one and a-half nails deep in the middle, into which a piece of whalebone is to be inserted, on each side of which work a row or two in chain stitch. The band is scolloped out from the centre on its lower side, five and a-half nails, leaving the extremities of the band one nail broad. To the scolloped portion, the apron is to be fulled on, so as to sit as neat as possible; leaving the space beneath the whalebone plain. Confine the folds, by working two rows of chain stitch, just below the curved lines of the band, leaving half an inch between each row. The lower edge of the band is ornamented with a small piping, but is left plain at the top.
VANDYKE APRON.—This may be made either of silk or muslin. The edge of the apron is to be turned down, once all round, on the right side, to the depth of three-quarters of a nail; and the vandykes are formed by running from the edge of the apron to near the rough edge of the material, which is afterward to be turned in. When the vandykes are completed, they are to be turned inside out, and made as smooth as possible. A braid, or a row of tent stitch, on the right side, over the stitches, is a pretty finish. In setting on the band, the plaits must be placed opposite each other, so as to meet in the middle. You may line the band with buckram, or stiff muslin, and ornament it with piping if you please.
APRON FOR A YOUNG PERSON.—Clear muslin is the best material. Hem round with a hem, three-fourths of a nail deep; lay all round, within the hem, a shawl bordering, not quite so broad as the hem. Of course, the latter must be taken off before washing.
A MORNING APRON.—This may be made like the last, but instead of the shawl bordering, surround the outer edge of the hem by a deep crimped frill, a nail in breadth. The material most in use, is jacconet or cambric muslin: the frill, of lawn or cambric, which you please.
GIRL'S APRON.—Use any material that is deemed advisable. The bib is to be made to fit the wearer, in front, between the shoulders, and sloping to the waist. The apron is to be gathered, or plaited to the band; and the shoulder straps may be of the same material, or of ribbon. The bib, either plain or ornamented, with tucks or folds, as may be deemed most suitable.
BATHING GOWN.—The materials employed are various, flannels, stuff, or calamanca, are the most preferable, giving free ingress to the water. The length must be determined by the height of the wearer, and the width at the bottom should be about fifteen nails. It should be folded as you would a pinafore, and to be sloped three and three-quarters nails for the shoulder. The slits for the arm-holes must be three nails and three-quarters long, and the sleeves are to be set in plain: the length of the latter is not material. It is useful to have a slit of three inches, in front of each. The gown is to have a broad hem at the bottom, and to be gathered into a band at the top, which is to be drawn tight with strings; the sleeves are to be hemmed and sewn round the arm or wrist, in a similar manner.
BUSTLES.—These are worn, to make the waist of the gown sit neat 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.
CAPS.—These are made of a great variety of patterns, and the materials are as various as the purposes to which the article is applied. Muslins of various kinds, lawn, net, lace, and calico, are all in request; and the borders are extremely various. Muslin, net, or lace, being those most in common use. The shapes are so multifarious, as to preclude us from giving any specific directions. Every lady must choose her own pattern, as best suits the purpose she has in view. The patterns should be cut in paper, and considerable care is requisite, in cutting out, not to waste the material. A little careful practice will soon make this department familiar to the expert votaress of the needle.
CHILD'S COLLAR.—This is made of double Irish linen, and is stitched round and made to fall over the dress. Frills are generally attached to them, and give them a pretty finish. They are proper for children, of eight or nine years of age.
CRAVATS.—These are of fine muslin, and are made in the shape of a half handkerchief. They are hemmed with a narrow hem, and should be cut from muslin, eighteen nails square.
CLOAKS.—These useful and necessary articles of dress are generally made up by a dress-maker; it is unnecessary therefore to give particular directions concerning them. The materials are silks and stuffs, of almost every variety, including satin, merino cloth, real and imitation shawling plaids, and Orleans. The latter is now very generally used. Travelling cloaks are made of a stronger material, and are trimmed in a much plainer style than those used in walking dresses. Satin cloaks look well with velvet collars, and are also frequently trimmed with the same material. Merino, and also silk cloaks, are often trimmed with fur, or velvet, and lined with the same. Sometimes they are made perfectly plain. The lining of a silk or satin cloak, should be of the same color, or else a well-chosen contrast; and care should be taken, that the color should be one that is not liable to fade, or to receive damage. An attention to these general remarks, will be found of much advantage to the lady who, in making her purchase is desirous of combining elegance of appearance with durability of wear, and economy of price.
FRILLS.—These are used as ornaments, or a finish to various articles of dress. The materials are cambric muslin, lace, net, &c., and the manner in which they are made is various. Sometimes they are set on quite plain, that is, hemmed round and plaited up into neat folds, to the width required. At other times, frills are fitted to a band, and the edge that is to be hemmed, is stiffened by rolling it over a bobbin; it is put on as an ornament to a gown, and is tied with strings at the end. Crimped frills are worn by young children, and look extremely neat. They are made of lawn or cambric, and sewed on to a band. The other edge is hemmed, and the frill is double the size round the neck. The band should be half a nail in depth, and the frill is to be crimped as evenly as possible.
GENTLEMEN'S BELTS.—These are worn by persons who have much and violent exercise, and are extremely useful. They are made of strong jean or other material, and sometimes of leather, and may either be made straight, or a little slant, or peaked. Runners of cotton are inserted, to make them more strong, and they must be furnished with long straps of webbing at the ends, sewed on with leather over them. The straps are about three inches in depth.
GENTLEMEN'S COLLARS.—These are very generally worn, and are shaped in a variety of ways. They are made double, and ornamented with a single or double row of back stitch. They are made to button round the neck, or are set on to a band for that purpose. It is best to cut the pattern in paper, and when a good fit is obtained, cut the cloth by the paper model.
GENTLEMEN'S FRONTS.—The material is fine lawn or cambric. Sometimes the sides are composed of the former, and the middle of the latter. A false hem is made down the middle, furnished with buttons, as if to open; the neck is hollowed to the depth of a nail, and is plaited or gathered into a stock or band. In order that it may sit neat upon the bosom, two neck gussets are introduced.
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.
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 same in 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 set on; the shoulder-straps are of tape, and the waistcoat fastens in front.
LADIES' NIGHT JACKETS.—The materials are various, including lawn, linen, and calico. The jackets are made of two breadths, and as 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 to be 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 arm holes; 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 for 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 half a breadth; they are to be 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 selvage 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 to be introduced. A slit of about six nails is made in front, which is hemmed round, and the space 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.
NECK AND POCKET HANDKERCHIEFS.—These are made of a great variety of materials, as silk, muslin, cambric, lawn, and net. The neck handkerchiefs are generally a half square, and are hemmed all round. It is a good plan to turn up the extreme corners, as it makes it more strong and durable. A tape is set on, which comes 'round the waist, and ties in front. Sometimes a broad muslin hem is put on the two straight sides, which looks extremely well. Some ladies work a border to their neck handkerchief, which gives to those made of net the appearance of lace. Pocket handkerchiefs are neatly hemmed, and sometimes have a worked border. Those used by gentlemen are of a larger size than those of ladies.
PETTICOATS (FLANNEL).—These are not only useful, but indispensable articles of dress. Fine flannel is the best, as it is most durable, and keeps 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 hemmed round, or bound with a strong binding.
PETTICOATS are worn under the dress for the sake of warmth, and also to make the gown hang more gracefully upon 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 petticoat, is a great advantage; but they are unnecessary if a waist, or body with or without sleeves, be set on the 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, jacconet muslin, calamanca, stuff, &c. What are called middle, or under petticoats, are made in the same manner. Those ladies who pursue the laudable practice of nursing their own infants, and who wear petticoats with bodies to them, have them open in front.
PINAFORE.—This is a useful article of dress, especially in large families. Holland is the best material. For an open one, one breadth is sufficient. Double the pinafore into four, and cut the arm holes to the required depth in the two side folds, so that half will form the front. The neck is to be hollowed out about a quarter of a nail in the middle, and the pinafore is to be set on to the neck band, which fastens by a button behind. Sleeve lappets are attached to the arm holes, being gathered near the edge, and set on before the arm hole is hemmed, so that when the edge is turned down no stitches will appear. The lappet is a second time to be gathered at the edge, and sewed down as fast as possible. Then hem the other edge, and conceal the stitches with silk braid that will wash. A small gusset put into the bottom of the slits is an advantage, as it makes it stronger. They are to be fastened round the waist with a band, or with a strap and buckle. The latter is most to be preferred. For a close pinafore, two breadths of Holland, or other material, will be required. It is seamed up at the sides, leaving slits for the arm holes, and has a collar and sleeves; as also a band to go round the middle of the wearer. Neck gussets may be introduced, but the much neater way is, to double the pinafore into four, and let in a piece at each shoulder, about a nail wide, and two nails in length, gathering each quarter from the arm holes, into the pieces so let in, and felling similar pieces on the inside of the shoulder. The two middle quarters are to be gathered into half the collar, and the back in the same manner. The sleeves are made with gussets like a shirt, and are gathered into the arm holes. A slit is made at the hands, and the bottom is gathered into a wristband about an inch in breadth.
POCKETS.—These are made of any kind of material you please. You take a piece of 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.
A RIBBON SCARF.—This is made of broad satin ribbon, and must not be less than two nails and a half wide: its length is two yards and three quarters. The ribbon is to be doubled on the wrong side, and run in a slanting direction so as to cause it to fall gracefully on the neck. The ends are to be embroidered and ornamented with braid, or left plain, as may suit the fancy. The scarf is to be surrounded by an edging of swan's down. This is an elegant article of female attire.
PLAIN SCARF.—This is generally made of net, the whole breadth, and two yards and a half long. It is hemmed all round with a broad hem so as to admit a ribbon to be run in, which gives it a neat and finished appearance.
AN INDIAN SCARF.—This is an elegant article of dress and can be easily made. The material is a rich Cashmere, and three colors are required: that is, black, scarlet, and a mazarine blue. You must have the scarf four nails and a half in width, and one yard and six nails in length: this must be black. Then you must have of the other two colors, pieces seven nails long, and the same width as the black, and you are, after finding the exact middle of the black stripe, to slope off one nail and a half toward each side, and then slope one end of the blue and of the scarlet piece, so as to make them accord precisely with the ends of the black previously prepared. You are to cut one nail and a half from the middle to the ends. You are then to split the blue and the scarlet stripes down the middle, and join half of the one to the half of the other, as accurately, as possible. The pieces thus joined together are to be sewed to the black stripe, and the utmost care must be taken to make the points unite properly. You are to sew the pieces fast together, and herring-bone them all round on the right side. You finish by laying a neat silk gimp all round and over all the joinings. It should be of a clear, bright color. The ends are to be fringed with scarlet and blue, to correspond with the two half stripes. This is suitable for a walking dress, or an evening party.
A DRESS SHAWL.—Take a half square of one yard and twelve nails of satin velvet or plush, which you please, and line it with sarcenet either white, or colored; trim the two straight edges with a hem of either silk or satin, from one to one nail and a half in breadth, and cut crossway. Or you may trim it with fur, lace, or fringe.
CASHMERE SHAWL.—You will require for the centre a piece of colored Cashmere, one yard six nails square, which is to be hemmed round with a narrow hem. You must then take four stripes all of Cashmere, or of a shawl bordering to harmonize or contrast well with the centre, which must be hemmed on both sides, and then sewed on, so as that the stitches may appear as little as possible. The border should be three nails broad, and of course joined point to point at the corners; and it must be so set on as that the two corners shall fall properly over each other. The shawl is finished by a fringe set on all round, and sometimes by a colored gimp laid on over the joinings.
A LADY'S WALKING SHAWL.—This may be made of cloth, merino, or silk; and either a whole, or half square, at pleasure. The dimensions are one yard and twelve nails, and the lining is of silk. In order that when the shawl is doubled the hems of both folds may appear at the same time, care must be taken, after laying on the border on two successive sides, to turn the shawl, and then lay on the remainder of the border. The trimmings for these kind of shawls are of great variety.
A TRAVELLING SHAWL.—This is easily made, and is very warm and convenient. Take a square of wadding, and double it cornerways; cover it with muslin, or silk, and trim it as you please.
MOURNING SHAWLS.—These may be made either of half a square of black silk, entirely covered with crape, which is proper for deep mourning, or you may take half a square of rich and rather dull black silk, and border it with a hem of crape, two nails deep, laid on upon the two straight sides of the shawl.
SHIFTS.—These are generally made of fine Irish, 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 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 the top and bottom ten nails at opposite corners; this done, you join the narrow ends together, and sew the cross seams, leaving a sufficient slit for the arm holes. There are various methods of cutting the back and bosom. Some cut out 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, 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 sleeve 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.
SHIRTS.—These are generally made of linen; but calico is also made use of. The degree of fineness must be determined by the occupation and station of the wearer. A long piece of linen will, if cut with care, make several shirts of an ordinary man's size. In cutting, you must take a shirt of the required dimensions, as a pattern; and, by it, measure the length of several bodies, not cutting any but the last. Then cut off the other bodies; and from the remainder, cut off the sleeves, binders, gussets, &c., measuring by the pattern. Bosom-pieces, falls, collars, &c., must be fitted, and cut by a paper or other pattern, which suits the person for whom the articles are intended.
In making up, the bodies should be doubled, so as to leave the front flap one nail shorter than that behind. Then, marking off the spaces for the length of the flaps and arm holes, sew up the seams. The bosom-slit is five nails, and three nails is the space left for the shoulders. The space for the neck will be nine nails. One breadth of the cloth makes the sleeves, and the length is from nine to ten nails. The collar, and the wristbands, are made to fit the neck and wrists, and the breadths are so various, that no general rule can be given. You make the binders, or linings, about twelve nails in length, and three in breadth; and the sleeve gussets are three; the neck gusset, two; the flap gussets, one; and the bosom gusset, half a nail square. The work, or stitches, introduced into the collar, wristbands, &c., are to be regulated according to the taste of the maker, or the wearer.
Gentlemen's night shirts are made in a similar manner, only they are larger. The cloth recommended to be used, is that kind of linen which is called shirting-width. Where a smaller size is required, a long strip will cut off from the width, which will be found useful for binders, wristbands, &c.
VEILS.—These are made of net, gauze, or lace, and are plain or worked, as suits the taste of the wearer. White veils are generally of lace: mourning ones are made of black crape. The jet-black is to be preferred, as it wears much better than the kind termed blue-black. Colored veils look well with a satin ribbon of the same color, about a nail deep, put on as a hem all round. For white ones, a ribbon of a light color is preferable, as it makes a slight contrast. A crape, or gauze veil, is hemmed round; that at the bottom being something broader than the rest. All veils have strings run in at the top, and riding ones are frequently furnished with a ribbon at the bottom, which enables the wearer to obtain the advantage of a double one, by tying the second string round her bonnet, where she is desirous to screen her eyes from the sun and dust, and at the same time to enjoy the advantage of a cool and refreshing breeze. Demi-veils are short veils, fulled all round the bonnet, but most at the ears, which makes them fall more gracefully. It is advisable to take them up a little at the ears, so as not to leave them the full depth: without this precaution, they are liable to appear unsightly and slovenly.
INSTRUCTIONS IN THE PREPARATION OF HOUSE LINEN.
BED-ROOM LINEN.—This includes quilts, blankets, sheets, pillow covers, towels, table covers, and pincushion covers.
QUILTS.—These are of various sizes and qualities, in accordance with the purposes to which they are to be applied. They are generally made of the outside material and the lining, (wadding or flannel being laid between,) and stitched in diamonds or other devices. The stitches must pass through the whole, and the edges of the quilt are to be secured by a binding proper for the purpose. They are best done in a frame.
BLANKETS.—These are bought ready prepared for use. It is sometimes advisable to work over the edges at the end, which should be done with scarlet worsted in a very wide kind of button-hole stitch.
SHEETS.—These are made of fine linen, coarse linen, and calico. Linen sheets are in general to be preferred. The seam up the middle must be sewed as neat as possible, and the ends may either be hemmed or seamed: the latter is the preferable method. Sheets, and all bed-room linen, should be marked and numbered. To add the date of the year is also an advantage.
PILLOW COVERS.—These are made of fine or coarse linen, and sometimes of calico. The material should be of such a width as to correspond with the length of the pillow. One yard and three nails, doubled and seamed up, is the proper size. One end is seamed up, and the other hemmed with a broad hem, and furnished with strings or buttons, as is deemed most convenient. We think the preferable way of making pillow covers is to procure a material of a sufficient width when doubled, to admit the pillow. The selvages are then sewn together, and the ends seamed and hemmed, as before directed. Bolster covers are made in nearly the same manner, only a round patch is let into one end, and a tape slot is run into the other.
TOWELS.—Towels are made of a diaper or huckaback, of a quality adapted to the uses to which they are applicable. They should be one yard long, and about ten or twelve nails wide. The best are bought single, and are fringed at the ends. Others are neatly hemmed, and sometimes have a tape loop attached to them, by which they can be suspended against a wall.
DRESSING TABLE COVERS.—These may be made of any material that is proper for the purpose. Fine diaper generally, but sometimes dimity and muslin are employed, or the table is covered with a kind of Marseilles quilting which is prepared expressly for the purpose. Sometimes the covers are merely hemmed round, but they look much neater if fringed, or bordered with a moderately full frill. Sometimes a worked border is set on. All depends upon taste and fancy. A neat and genteel appearance in accordance with the furniture of the apartment, should be especially regarded.
PINCUSHION COVERS.—A large pincushion, having two covers belonging to it, should belong to each toilet table. The covers are merely a bag into which the cushion is slipped. They may be either worked or plain, and should have small tassels at each corner, and a frill or fringe all round.
TABLE LINEN.—This department of plain needlework comprises table cloths, dinner napkins, and large and small tray napkins.
TABLE CLOTHS.—These may be purchased either singly or cut from the piece. In the latter case, the ends should be hemmed as neatly as possible.
DINNER NAPKINS.—These are of various materials; if cut from the piece, they must be hemmed at the ends the same as table cloths. Large and small tray napkins, and knife-box cloths, are made in the same manner. The hemming of all these should be extremely neat. It is a pretty and light employment for very young ladies; and in this way habits of neatness and usefulness may be formed, which will be found very beneficial in after life.
PANTRY LINEN.—In this department you will have to prepare pantry cloths, dresser cloths, plate basket cloths, china, glass, and lamp cloths, and aprons. Pantry knife-cloths should be of a strong and durable material. The dresser cloths, or covers, look neat and are useful. They are generally made of huckaback of moderate fineness; but some ladies prefer making them of a coarser kind of damask. The plate basket cloth is a kind of bag, which is put into the plate basket to prevent the side from becoming greased or discolored. They are made of linen, which is well fitted to the sides, and a piece the size and shape of the bottom of the basket, is neatly seamed in. The sides are made to hang over the basket, and are drawn round the rim by a tape, run into a slit for that purpose. China cloths, and also glass cloths, are to be made of fine soft linen, or diaper; and the cloths used in cleaning lamps, &c., must be of flannel, linen, or silk. All these articles are to be made in the same manner, that is, hemmed neatly at the ends; or if there be no selvages, or but indifferent ones, all round. Nothing looks more slovenly than ragged or unhemmed cloths, which are for domestic use. Little girls of the humbler classes might be employed by the more affluent, in making up those articles and a suitable remuneration be given them. They would thus become more sensible of the value of time, and would contract habits of industry, which would be of essential service to them in the more advanced stages of their progress through life. A fair price paid for work done, either by a child or an adult, is far preferable to what is called charity. It at once promotes industry, and encourages a spirit of honest independence, which is far removed from unbecoming pride, as it is from mean and sneaking servility. Benevolence is the peculiar glory of woman; and we hope that all our fair readers will ever bear in mind, that real benevolence will seek to enable the objects of its regard to secure their due share of the comforts of life, by the honest employment of those gifts and talents, with which Providence may have endowed them.
HOUSEMAID AND KITCHEN LINEN.—The next subject to which the attention of the votress of plain needlework ought to be directed, is the preparation of housemaid and kitchen linen. On these subjects, a very few general observations will be all that is necessary. In the housemaid's department, paint cloths, old and soft, and chamber-bottle cloths, fine and soft, are to be provided. To these must be added, dusters, flannels for scouring, and chamber bucket cloths, which last should be of a kind and color different from any thing else. All these must be neatly hemmed and run, or seamed, if necessary. Nothing in a well directed family should bear the impress of neglect, or be suffered to assume an untidy appearance. Clothes bags of different sizes, should also be provided, of two yards in length, and either one breadth doubled, in which case only one seam will be required; or of two breadths, which makes the bag more suitable for large articles of clothing. These bags are to seamed up neatly at the bottom, and to have strings which will draw, run in at the top. The best material is canvas, or good, strong unbleached linen. In the kitchen department, you will require both table and dresser cloths; which should be made as neat as possible. Long towels, of good linen, and of a sufficient length, should be made, to hang on rollers; they are generally a full breadth, so that hemming the sides is unnecessary. They should be two yards long, when doubled, and the ends should be secured strongly and neatly together. If the selvage is bad, the best way is to hem it at once. Kitchen dusters, tea cloths, and knife cloths, may be made of any suitable material; but in all cases let the edges be turned down, and neatly sewed or overcast.
PUDDING CLOTH.—This should be made of coarse linen, neatly hemmed round, furnished with strings of strong tape, and marked.
JELLY BAG.—This is made of a half square, doubled so as to still form a half square. The top must be hemmed, and be furnished with three loops, by which it is to be suspended from the frame when in use.
Some miscellaneous instructions, which could not otherwise be introduced, are to be found in the concluding chapter.
BINDING.—Various kinds of work have binding set on to them in preference to hemming them, or working them in herring-bone stitch. Flannel is generally bound; sometimes with a thin tape, made for that purpose, and called "flannel binding." It is also common to bind flannel with sarcenet ribbon. The binding is so put on, as to show but little over the edge on the right side, where it is hemmed down neatly; on the other side, it is run on with small stitches.
BRAIDING.—Silk braid looks pretty, and is used for a variety of purposes. In putting it on, it is best to sew it with silk drawn out of the braid, as it is a better match, and the stitches will be less perceived.
MARKING.—It is of essential importance that cloths should be marked and numbered. This is often done with ink, but as some persons like to mark with silk, we shall describe the stitch. Two threads are to be taken each way of the cloth, and the needle must be passed three ways, in order that the stitch may be complete. The first is aslant from the person, toward the right hand; the second is downward, toward you: and the third is the reverse of the first, that is, aslant from you toward the left hand. The needle is to be brought out at the corner of the stitch, nearest to that you are about to make. The shapes of the letters or figures can be learnt from an inspection of any common sampler.
PIPING.—This is much used in ornamenting children's and other dresses. It is made by inclosing a cord, of the proper thickness, in a stripe of silk, cut the cross-way, and must be put on as evenly as possible.
PLAITING.—The plaits must be as even as it is possible to place them, one against another. In double plaiting they lie both ways, and meet in the middle.
TUCKS.—These require to be made even. You should have the breadth of the tuck, and also the space between each, notched on a card. They look the best run on with small and regular stitches. You must be careful to take a back-stitch constantly, as you proceed.
MAKING BUTTONS.—Cover the wire with a piece of calico, or other material of the proper size; turn in the corners neatly, and work round the wire in button-hole stitch; work the centre like a star.
Some may think that we have been too minute; but we were desirous to omit nothing that could be generally useful; and we have had regard also to those ladies who, having been under no necessity of practising plain needlework in their earlier years, are desirous of preparing articles for their humbler fellow creatures, or by the sale of which, they procure more ample supplies for the funds of charity. We have good reason to believe, that many well-disposed persons would be glad, in this way, to aid the cause of humanity—and to devote a portion of their leisure hours to the augmenting of the resources of benevolence—but they are destitute of the practical experience necessary to enable them to do so. To all such, we hope our little manual will be an acceptable offering, and enable them, by a judicious employment of the means and talents committed to their trust, to realize the truth of the saying of the wise man, "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth."
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In order to render the elementary stitches of fancy needle-work as easy of acquirement as possible, we subjoin the following diagram; any lady will thus be able to form the various stitches, by simply taking a piece of canvas, and counting the corresponding number of threads, necessary to form a square like the diagram; she will perceive the lines represent the threads of the canvas, the squares numbered being the holes formed by the intersection of the threads; and following the directions given in the accompanying chapter, she will soon be able to work any patterns here exhibited, and such new ones as her inventive genius may lead her to design.
EXPLANATION OF STITCHES.
The Art of Fancy Needlework is closely allied to the sister ones of Painting and Design; and appears to have been well understood amongst the most polished nations of antiquity. We know that the art was practised with considerable success, by the Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, and Arabians, as well as by the Greeks and Romans. The Jews brought the art of needlework with them, out of Egypt, as we learn from the directions for building the Tabernacle, and preparing the holy garments; and Sidon is celebrated for the rich wares of broidered cloths, in which part of her extensive traffic consisted. In more modern times, we find the fair hands of the ladies of Europe employed in depicting the events of history, in tapestry, of which the much celebrated Bayeux tapestry—supposed to have been wrought by Matilda, the beloved wife of William the Norman—detailing the various occurrences in the life of Harold, from his arrival in Normandy, to the fatal battle of Hastings, is a standing proof. Ladies of high rank employed themselves thus, for various purposes, previous to the reformation; and it is a fact, worthy of especial notice, that in those ages, when it has been required for the adornment of the temples, and the encouragement of honorable valor and has thus become associated with the sanctifying influences of religion and manly virtue, it has flourished most.[64-*] Queen Adelicia, wife of Henry I.; Ann, queen of France; Catherine, of Aragon; Lady Jane Grey; Mary Queen of Scots; and Queen Elizabeth, all excelled in this delightful art. At the Reformation, or soon after that event, needlework began sensibly to decline, and continued to do so, until the commencement of the present century. At that time, a new and elevated development of mind began to appear, which was accompanied by a very visible advancement in every department of arts and sciences. This revival of the fine arts, like the mental and sacred gushing forth of mind, which gave it birth, was often in extremely bad taste; but as the latter becomes more purified and exalted, the former advances in improvement—mind asserts its superiority over matter, and infuses into the useful and ornamental, a living spirit of moral affection and enlightened sentiment. The year 1800 gave to the world, the celebrated Berlin patterns; but it was not until a lapse of thirty years, that their merits became generally appreciated; but now, such is the perfection attained in the cultivation of the art of needlework, that some of its productions, for delicacy and expression, may almost bear comparison with painting in oil.
TENT STITCH.—Work the cross way of the canvas, bringing your needle up through the diagram, No. 2 down 11, one stitch; up 3 down 12, up 4 down 13, and so continue to the end. This stitch is proper for grounding, and for groups of flowers; but in the latter case, it will produce the best effect if the flowers are done in tent stitch, and the grounding in tent cross stitch (which is the same as tent stitch, only crossed.)
CROSS STITCH.—Is the same as marking stitch; bring your needle up 21 down 3, up 23 down 1, one stitch, up 41 down 23, up 43 down 21, and so continue till your work is finished. All the stitches must incline to the right, or the work will appear imperfect and unsightly.
DOUBLE CROSS STITCH.—This is a stitch very easy of execution. Bring your needle up No. 41, over four threads, down 5, up 1 down 45, up 43 down 25, up 3 down 25, up 3 down 21, up 43 down 21, one stitch. Four, six, or eight threads may be taken in depth, and two in width, according as taste may suggest. This is an admirable stitch for large pieces of work. Gold thread introduced between each row is a desirable addition to its attractive beauty.
STRAIGHT CROSS STITCH.—This is a new invention, and has a pretty appearance. Bring your needle up No. 11 down 13, up 2 down 22, one stitch; up 31 down 33, up 22 down 42, and so on in like manner, till the work is finished.
DOUBLE STRAIGHT CROSS STITCH.—Bring your needle up No. 3 down 43, up 21 down 25, up 14 down 32, up 12 down 34, one stitch. Owing to the number of times the wool is crossed, each stitch has a very bead-like appearance. A piece wholly worked in this, has an admirable effect.
GOBELIN STITCH.—This truly beautiful stitch is especially calculated for working on canvas traced with flowers, leaves, &c.; and also for working designs, copied from oil paintings. Bring your needle up No. 2 down 21, one stitch, up 3 down 22, up 4 down 23, and so on to the end of the row. The stitches may be taken either in height or width, as may best accord with the taste, or with the subject represented.