How to Sew

Mar 31, 2013 by

how to sewHow to Sew originally published in 1904 for 25 cents by the National Correspondence School is a long lost goldmine of a manual for anyone interested in hand sewing. It teaches (with photos and drawings too) “All Varieties of Hand Stitches used in dressmaking.”

Here are a few pointers from the introduction:

“Sewing does not require anyone to sit in a stooped or cramped position as that is injurious to the health and besides very ungraceful and is apt to cause round shoulders. Have your chair drawn up to the table and then sit well back in it and hold your work so that you will hardly have to stoop your head. If you wish your material to be held firmly do not fasten it to your knee but fasten it to something on the table or put a heavy weight on it. It is really better to have it fastened higher than your sewing.

Always buy good quality of needles so that they will not bend or break. For white work use long fine needles or half long needles. There are special needles made for millinery and embroidery. Never use a needle that is too large as fine stitches cannot be made with it. No. 8 and 9 are good for ordinary sewing and No. 7 for basting. Do not use too coarse thread. Always thread your needle with the end of the thread that you break off next the spool to prevent knotting. Do not use too long a thread but just about the length of your arm from shoulder to the fingers. Break the thread off from the spool but cut it at all other times, never bite or break it. Al- ways have a pair of small scissors handy for this purpose.

When used, knots must be made very small making them by twisting the thread at the end only once. Be careful not to let any knots show in your work as nothing looks so untidy. If the knots cannot be well hidden, do not use them, but catch your thread by making two small quick over hand stitches, one on top of the other. In hemming, knots can always be used as they can be well covered. In basting, use knots and always leave them on the outside so that they can be easily pulled out. Scisssors should always be kept sharp, never dull or rusty If possible, have two or three different sizes of scissors, as in cutting heavy cloth you will have to have a very large pair and for lighter work they would be too clumsy. Button-hole scissors are a great help in keeping button-holes even, if there are a number to work.”

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