UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.
'Received J^iz^z^ * ,
Accessions No. 3^7 - CAzss No.
A Course of Study in Sewing designed
for use in Schools
OLIVE C. HAPGOOD
TEACHER OK SEWING IN BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
" Learn the sound qualities of alt useful stuffs, and make everything
of the best you can get, whatever its price. , . . and then, every day, make
some little piece of useful clothing, sewn with your own fingers as strongly
as it can be stitched ; and embroider it or otherwise beautify it moderately
with fine needlework, such as a girl may be proud of having done.' 1 ' 1
& COMPANY, PUBLISHERS
BY OLIVE C. HAPGOOD.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
0tnn & Company
THE importance of instruction in sewing in the Public
School is now generally recognized. As manual training
comes into greater prominence, new methods and helps
are necessary. The demand for these was felt by the
author, and this book is the result of practical experience
in the class-room. Its purpose is to assist both teacher
and pupil ; lightening the teacher's labors by saving
constant repetition, and giving the pupil a manual for
reference, with the hope that the information thus ac-
quired will assist in fitting her for the duties of life.
Simplicity with completeness has been the aim through-
In the teacher's edition, the work is further supple-
mented by practical hints and suggestions as to successful
methods of teaching the lessons, and by courses of study
for Kindergarten, Primary, and Industrial Sewing. It
also contains a list of articles obtainable for a sewing
cabinet, and talks on kindred subjects.
The author wishes to acknowledge her indebtedness to
the teachers who have so kindly assisted her, and to
members of the School Board for their advice and interest
in the preparation of the work
PART I. PAGE
GENERAL DIRECTIONS i
PLAIN SEWING - - 13
ORNAMENTAL STITCHES - - 115
DRAFTING, CUTTING AND MAKING GARMENTS - 129
TEACHING THE LESSONS - - - - - 163
COURSE OF SEWING - - 172
PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS - 176
KINDERGARTEN SEWING - 187
PRIMARY SEWING 199
COURSE OF SEWING FOR INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS - - - 220
FACTS FOR OBSERVATION LESSONS - 222
SCHOOL-CABINET ... 239
DEAR GIRLS : You have now become old enough to
prepare for woman's duties ; one of these is the art of
sewing, which we will take up as simply as possible. By
following the given directions carefully, you will become
able to dress your dolls, assist your mothers in mending,
make garments, fancy articles, etc.
A convenient outfit for your school sewing consists of
a bag large enough to hold certain necessary materials
and the garment to be made. The bag should be made
of dark or medium-colored cloth, so that it may not soil
easily, and should have a strong gathering tape.
The following articles are needed. i . Half a yard of
bleached or half-bleached cotton cloth for a trial-piece
and sample work.
2. Spools of white cotton, Nos. 40-80, also one of No.
50 colored cotton for basting.
3. A well-fitting silver or celluloid thimble, for the
second finger of the right hand.
4. An emery bag to brighten the needle, when it does
not go through the cloth easily.
5. A paper of Nos. 5-10 ground-down needles.
6. A pinball well filled with small pins.
7. A tape measure.
8. A piece of wax.
2 SCHOOL NEEDLEWORK.
9. A pair 6f scissors, for girls in the higher classes.
Your name should be written with ink on the bag,
paper of needles, spools of thread, and sample cloth. An
easy way to remember the necessary articles is to let the
hand represent the cloth ; the thumb, the bag ; the first
finger, the spools of cotton ; the second finger, the thimble
and emery bag ; the third finger, the needles and pins ;
and the fourth finger, the tape measure and wax.
Directions for putting away the work, i . Before fold-
ing the work, run the needle in and out of the cloth, near
the last stitches, so as to keep it secure and aid in finding
the place at the next sewing lesson.
2. To fold the work, smooth it out, fold it lengthwise
and narrow enough to go into the bag ; then fold it the
3. Put the thimble into the bag first, as it is apt to be
4. After all the articles are placed in the bag, draw it
5. Wind the tape tightly around the bag until about
six inches of it are left.
6. Place two fingers of the left hand over the coil of
tape, and wind once over the fingers and around che bag.
7. As the fingers are withdrawn, slip the end of the
tape through, and draw tightly.
If the above directions are carefully observed, no girl
should report any missing article at the next lesson.
Directions for sewing. I . Be very careful to have clean
2. Sit in an erect position, never resting any part of
the arm on the desk.
3. Do not fasten the work to the desk or knee.
SCHOOL NEEDLEWORK. 3
* 4. Never sew without a thimble, either the top or the
side of it can be used.
5. Do not put the work or thread to the mouth, as
that will soil it.
6. In plain sewing, begin to sew at the end of the
cloth, or at a seam, holding the part of the work not sewed
in tJic left hand.
7. When scissors are not used, to break the thread
place the left thumb-nail firmly over the last stitches ;
wind the thread around the right forefinger, and break
the thread with the right thumb-nail.
8. Do all sewing nicely, making the stitches small and
even, having the wrong side look as neat as possible, and
sewing the corners with great care.
9. When obliged to take out the stitches, use the eye
of a needle, and pick out one stitch at a time ; in stitch-
ing, pick out the thread on one side, then on the other.
10. Before showing the work to the teacher, fasten the
needle securely in the work.
We will call the fleshy or soft part of the forefinger a
What are the necessary articles for school sewing? Upon which finger is the
thimble worn ? For what is an emery bag used ? Where should the needle be placed
before putting away the work ? What should first be put into the bag ? Why should
the bag be tied up carefully ? In what condition should the hands be ? How should
a child sit while sewing? Should the work be fastened to the desk or knee?
Should you ever sew without a thimble ? Should the work or thread be put to the
mouth ? Why ? In plain sewing where should you begin to sew ? In which hand
should the part of the work not sewed be held ? How should the thread be broken ?
How ought all sewing to be done ? Where should great care be taken ? What is
called the sewing cushion ?
NEEDLES AND THREAD.
Needles. A needle is a small piece of steel, pointed at
one end, and having an eye at the other to receive a
Needles are of various sizes and shapes, according to
the uses for which they are intended.
Three kinds of needles are used in sewing on cotton
cloth, sharps, ground-downs, and betweens ; the sizes
range from No. I, the largest, to No. 12, the smallest.
Sharps are long needles, ground-downs are shorter, and
betweens are still shorter. Ground-downs are excellent
for school use, as they do not bend or break easily.
Betweens are used for heavy work.
Worsted and darning needles are used for yarn, and
are of different sizes. Worsted needles have a long eye,
and either a sharp or a blunt point. A very long needle
is used in millinery work. A bodkin or tape needle has a
long eye, and is used for running tape into a hem or
Let us examine our paper of needles. It is assorted
so that we may have needles suitable for all kinds of
stitches. To open it, place a ringer between the folds of
the paper and separate them. Now, opening the sides
and short ends which cover the needles, we find twenty-
five needles in a secure case. Keep them in their places
so that we may know the proper size to use for the thread
or stitch. Beginning at the middle, we find three No. 5
needles, which should be used only with very coarse
thread ; they are suitable for sewing on boot-buttons, etc.
The needles on each side are alike, so following down one
NEEDLES AND THREAD. 5
side, we find two No. 6 needles, used for sewing on coarse
materials ; next are three No. 7 needles, suitable for hem-
ming on towels, etc. ; then there are three No. 8 needles,
for stitching ; next are two No. 9 needles, used in hem-
ming cotton cloth ; and the last is a No. 10 needle, for
very fine work.
After taking out a needle, fold and tie up the paper so
that none may drop out. Never use a bent needle, as it
makes uneven stitches. In passing a needle, hand the
eye of the needle to the person, keeping the point towards
Thread, A small twist made from flax, silk, cotton, or
wool, is called thread. Thread made from flax is called
linen thread, and is very strong. Thread made from silk
is called silk or twist, and is used when sewing on nice
textures. Cotton thread can be obtained in many num-
bers, and is used when sewing on wash goods ; the finer
the thread, the higher the number. Thread made from
wool is called yarn, worsted, zephyr, etc., and is used for
darning, canvas-work, and fancy-work.
A new spool of thread can be unfastened by slipping a
pin under the thread, where it is caught in the wood. To
unwind the thread, hold the spool in the left hand, with
the end of the thread between two fingers. Unwind the
thread until it is of the required length. Break it by
holding it securely in each hand, and snapping it across
the ends of the thumbs. When not using a spool of
thread, keep the end of the thread fastened in the
Use a piece of thread the length of the desk, or about
as long as the arm. When using very fine thread, take
a shorter needleful. If the thread kinks, remove the
6 SCHOOL NEEDLEWORK.
needle, and beginning at the work, draw the thread tightly
between the thumb-nail and the end of the forefinger.
To prevent thread from kinking, thread the needle with
the end that hangs from the spool. When using double
thread, as in gathering, sewing on buttons, etc., before
making the knot, draw the double thread, beginning at
the needle, across the wax.
Threading the needle. i . Sit erect, bringing the needle
and thread as close to the eyes as necessary.
2. Roll the end of the thread between the thumb and
cushion of the forefinger, so as to twist it tightly.
3. Hold the needle steadily between the thumb and
forefinger of the left hand, with the eye a little above.
4. Take the end of the thread between the thumb and
forefinger of the right hand, letting about half-an-inch
protrude, and put the thread through the eye of the
If preferred, the thread can be held in the left hand,
and the eye of the needle passed over it.
To aid in threading a round-eyed needle with worsted
or loosely twisted thread, a few fibres of cotton-batting or
a fine thread can be rolled over the end. Waxing the
end of the thread before rolling it, is also helpful.
Threading a long-eyed needle. i . Hold the end of the
zephyr between the left thumb and forefinger, allowing
half-an-inch to show.
2. Place the pointed end of the needle on the cushion
of the forefinger, and over the zephyr.
3. With the left thumb fold the end of the zephyr
tightly over the needle.
4. Withdraw the needle, and pass the eye of the
needle over the loop of zephyr.
NEEDLES AND THREAD. 7
Knots. To make a knot, as in Fig. I, wind the thread
around two or three fingers,
and crossing it, put the end
through the loop.
To bring a knot closs to the
end of the thread. i. With
the thumb and forefinger of the Fig. I . Showing the thread
right hand, take hold of the in a knot before !t is drawn U P"
thread a few inches from the end.
2. Wind the end around the forefinger of the left hand,
about midway of the finger-nail.
3. Pressing tightly, roll the end of the thread down-
ward on the side of the thumb, twisting it once or
4. Bring the second finger upon the thumb, and over
5. Lifting the forefinger, draw up the thread with the
The knot can also be made with the right hand.
To fasten the thread in sewing, take two or three stitches
in the same place, or sew back a few stitches. Fasten
silk very securely as it is apt to work out.
When learning to sew, it is best to use colored thread
on white cloth, as it makes the stitches plainer, and mis-
takes are more easily seen. For colored work, choose
thread or silk a shade darker than the material, as it will
work lighter. Twist is twirled the opposite way from
The size of the needle and thread to be used, depends
upon the quality of the work. A coarse needle and thread
are used for coarse work, and a fine needle and thread for
8 SCHOOL NEEDLEWORK.
The numbers of needles and thread needed for the
different kinds of stitches in cotton cloth :
_ . . r No. 9 needle, No. 70 or 80 thread.
f No. 8 needle, No. 50 or 60 thread.
Button-holes, No. 7 or 8 needle, No. 40 or 50 thread.
Gathering, ' N ' 7 r 8 needle > Na 3^ or 40 thread.
What is a needle ? Why is an assorted paper of needles necessary ? Why should
they be kept in their places in the paper ? Why should the paper of needles be kept
tied up ? How should a needle be passed to any one ? What is thread ? What is
thread made from flax called ? What is thread made from silk called ? What is said
about cotton thread? What is thread made from wool called? How is thread
broken from the spool ( How long a piece of thread should be used ? If it kinks
what should be done ? Which end of the thread should be put into the needle ?
What is done to the end of the thread before threading the needle ? What part of
the finger should the thread be wound around, in order to bring a knot close to the
end of the thread ? How many times should the thread be twisted, when rolling it
down the side of the thumb ? What is the next thing to do ? Next ? How is thread
fastened in sewing ? When should a coarse needle and thread be used ? A fine
needle and thread ? What size needle and thread should be used on cotton cloth for
hemming? tucking? running? stitching? overhanding? overcasting? button-holes?
Cloth is a fabric woven from cotton, wool, linen, or silk.
Cotton is the cheapest, and silk the most expensive in
price. From cotton are made many qualities of un-
bleached, half-bleached, and bleached cloth, also calicoes,
ginghams, muslins, nainsooks, cambrics, etc. From wool
are made flannels, cashmeres, and many varieties of dress
goods. Linen cloth is made in all grades, from the finest
linen lawn to heavy canvas ; it is generally used for
collars, cuffs, handkerchiefs, table-cloths, napkins, towels,
etc. Silk is made into dress-silks, ribbons, satins, vel-
vets, etc. Soft, pliable, white cotton cloth (often called
muslin) of medium quality is best for a beginner to use
The threads of the cloth are called the warp and the
woof. The threads running lengthwise are the zuarp,
those running across from selvedge to selvedge are the
woof ; both can be easily seen on a piece of coarse crash.
The warp is usually stronger than the woof, and for this
reason, any part of a garment requiring strength, should
be cut lengthwise of the cloth.
Cloth is woven straight, but is sometimes drawn out of
shape by pressing. When you can ravel a thread the
width or length of the cloth, it is straight, or will become
so after washing. If it looks uneven, it can be drawn
into place by stretching it on the bias. Calico, when
torn, often looks very uneven, and should be pulled into
The selvedge of cloth is the finished lengthwise edge,
and cannot be ravelled. The raw edge is the edge that
is cut or torn. A fold is the edge made by doubling one
part of the cloth over the other. The nap is the shaggy
substance on the surface of the cloth. To tear a piece of
cloth, cut in one inch by a thread, then, holding a corner
of the cut between the thumb and forefinger of each
hand, roll the edges from you, and tear steadily ; a fine
piece of cloth must be torn carefully.
What is cloth ? Name some kinds of cloth made from cotton ; from wool; from
linen ; from silk. What are the threads of the cloth running lengthwise of the goods
called ? Those running across ? How can you tell when a piece of cotton cloth is
straight ? If it looks uneven, how can it be drawn into shape ? What is the selvedge
of cloth ? The raw edge ? What is a fold ? How should a piece of cloth be torn ?
SCISSORS AND CUTTING.
A pair of scissors is an instrument used for cutting,
consisting of two blades crossing each other, and moving
on a pivot.
Scissors are of many sizes. Large scissors are called
shears (Fig. 2, c), and small scissors with the ends of the
blades rounded are called pocket scissors (Fig. 2, d\ as
they are convenient to carry in the pocket. In shears,
the round bow is for the thumb, and the oval bow is for
two of the fingers ; one blade is more pointed than the
other, and when cutting this blade should be held down-
Fig. 2. a, Showing ladies' scissors ; b, button-hole scissors ;
i; shears ; d, pocket scissors,
ward. In button-hole scissors (Fig. 2, b) a screw is
attached to regulate the size of the button-hole. When
passing scissors, hand the bows to the person, keeping
the point towards yourself.
In order to cut straight, draw out a thread of the cloth,
and cut along the line thus made (for drawing a thread,
see page 1 16). In materials from which a thread cannot
be easily drawn, fold the cloth where it is to be cut, pin
the selvedges together on each side, crease, and cut on
the crease. In materials in which the threads are plainly
SCISSORS AND CUTTING.
marked, either by plaids or stripes, there is no need of
drawing a thread or folding the cloth.
Pig. 3. Showing a bias cut. Fig. 4. Showing an exact bias cut.
To cut bias, cut on a slanting line across both the warp
and the woof.
To cut an exact bias, lay the selvedge or a warp thread
of the cloth, on a line with a woof thread, and cut on the
What is a pair of scissors? Name the different kinds of scissors. How should
shears be held ? How can cloth be cut straight ? How can it be cut when a thread
is not easily drawn? How is an exact bias cut?
Sewing is work done with the needle and thread.
The following directions should be before the pupil
during class work. 1
Fig. 5. Measure.
The above represents a three inch rule, to use when
certain measurements are required. The first inch is
divided into halves and quarters, the second inch into
eighths, and the third inch into sixteenths.
Fractions of a yard :
3 feet or 36 inches is a yard.
27 inches is three quarters of a yard.
1 8 inches is one half of a yard.
9 inches is a quarter of a yard.
4^ inches is an eighth of a yard.
2^ inches is a sixteenth of a yard.
' How many inches in a yard ? Three quarters of a yard ? One half ? A quarter ?
An eighth ? A sixteenth ?
1 The illustrations generally represent the stitches enlarged.
14 SCHOOL NEEDLEWORK.
Drill No, 1, For practice in using the needle and
Materials. A needle and a thimble.
Directions. i . Place the thimble on the second finder
of the right hand.
2. Hold the pointed end of the needle between the end
of the thumb and forefinger of the right hand.
3. Place the thimble on the eye of the needle.
4. Push the needle between the thumb and forefinger,
being careful not to cramp the other fingers.
5. With the left hand push the point back into its
6. Repeat until it can be done easily.
Drill No. 2. For practice in the motion of stitching,
Materials. No. 8 needle, No. 50 thread, and a strip of
white cotton cloth.
Fig. 6 Showing the work and hands in position.
Directions. I . Thread the needle, but make no knot.
2. Hold the cloth over the forefinger of the left hand,
DRILLS. I 5
keeping it in place with the thumb and second finger, as
in Fig. 6.
3. Hold the needle between the thumb and the fore-
finger of the right hand.
4. Insert the needle from right to left, taking up a
little of the cloth, and push the needle nearly through.
5. Take the pointed end of the needle between the
thumb and cushion of the forefinger of the right hand.
6. Draw the needle and thread through, bringing the
thimble finger down near the forefinger, with the thread
passing between the third and little fingers. Keep the
little finger nearly straight to guide the thread.
7. Repeat until the motion is learned.
Drill No. 3. For practice in the motion of basting,
running, gathering, etc.
Materials. No. 8 needle, No. 50 thread, and a strip
of cotton cloth.
Fig. 7. Showing the work and hands in position.
Directions. I. Have the needle threaded, but make
2. Hold the cloth between the thumb and forefinger
of each hand, as in Fig. 7.
3. With the right elbow away from the side, put the
point of the needle through a few threads of the cloth,
placing the thumb and forefinger of the right hand over it.
4. Pressing the end of the thimble against the eye of
the needle, take three or more stitches in the cloth over
the cushion of the left forefinger, moving only the elbow
joint. (Fig. 7.)
5. Draw the needle and thread through as in Drill
6. Repeat until the motion is learned.
Drill No. 4. For practice in the motion of overcasting.
Materials. No. 8 needle, No. 50 thread, and a folded
edge of cotton cloth.
Fig. 8. Showing the work and hand in position.
Directions. I. Have the needle threaded, but make
2. Hold the fold of the cloth slanting across the edge
of the cushion of the left forefinger, keeping it in place
with the thumb and second finger, as in Fig. 8.
3. Put the needle in from the back of the fold, point-
ing it towards the left shoulder.
4. Draw the needle and thread through as in Drill
Drill No. 5. For practice in the motion of over-
Materials. No. 8 needle, No. 50 thread, and a folded
edge of cotton cloth.
Fig. 9. Showing the work and hand in position.
Directions. i. Have the needle threaded, but make no
2. Hold the fold of cloth horizontally along the edge
of the cushion of the left forefinger, and around the end'
of the finger, keeping it in place with the thumb and
second finger, as in Fig. 9.
3. Hold the right elbow away from the side, without
bending the wrist, and so that the palm of the hand is
4. Insert the needle from the back of the fold, point-
ing it directly towards the chest.
5. Draw the needle and thread through as in Drill
The stitches in sewing can be easily learnt on canvas,
using bright-colored single or split zephyr, according to
the quality of the canvas.
pig. 10. Showing different stitches taken on canvas.
CREASING AND PINCHING. 19
Fig. 10 represents a corner of a square of canvas, with
the stitches taken in the following order: -
1. Uneven basting. 6. Catch-stitch.
2. Running. 7. Button-hole stitch.
3. Stitching. 8. Darning.
4. Overcasting. 9. The edges are worked with
5. Overhanding. the blanket or loop-stitch.
CREASING AND PINCHING.
A crease for sewing is made by folding the cloth, and
pressing the edge until a line is made, which serves to
Materials, A ten-inch strip of bleached or half-
bleached cotton cloth. (A more distinct line can be
made on the bleached than on the half-bleached cotton
Fig. II. Showing the position of the hands.
Creasing. i . Hold the cloth firmly with the hands as
in Fig. 1 1.
2O SCHOOL NEEDLEWORK.
2. Beginning at the upper right-hand end of the cloth,
turn down towards you the edge one-fourth of an inch in
depth, for three or four inches.
3. Holding the cloth tightly between the hands, crease
the edge with the end of the thumb-nail and the cushion
of the left forefinger, until it will remain flat and has a
4. Fold and crease the next three inches in the same
manner, and so continue to the end.