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THE ART OF
MILLINERY AND DRESSMAKING
HOW TO MAKE A DRESS.
The number of yards required depends on the width of the naterial. Ten yards of any material eighteen inches wide, wil. make a dress for a moderate-sized person, with full body, but nc trimming on the skirt. Six yards of French merino, or any other. material oi thai Wiuin, will ic found sufficient.
Cutting Out When you are arúuit 'n vegin to cut in a dress, recollect whether it is to be cle on the cross or straight of the inaterial. This will in some measure depend on fashion ; therefore get a fashion book of the month, and study it a little. They are to be had at any of the bookstores. It will tell you if sleeves, bodies, trimmings, or flounces, are cut on the straight way of the material, or on the bias or cross way. By taking notice of any lady well dressed, that you may meet with, by a little attention you can observe how her dress is made, supposing you to know already something about the making of a dress. Fashion is an imaginary idea, and there is much less change, than many persons think. I would recommend to any one who wishes to see what is going on in the way of a dress, to pay a visit to Broadway any fine afternoon. When that is not in your power, go to any public place where there are genteel people, and make your own observations. With the help of these you will never be far behind the genteel style. Those who can afford to get a few things made, let them go to a respectable dressmaker, and then, if your means are limited, and it suits you, take your ideas from them, and set to work with courage. Many dresses are spoilt in the making, by too much fullness being put in the bodies. It is a mistake, to suppose that it adds to the richness of the dress. Anything of a dress is spoilt by being overloaded with trimmings or material.
Waist or Bowy. All thin figures ought to wear full bodies ; with stout persons it is a matter of taste. Plain bodies require more care in making than full ones. Every small imperfection is sean in plain bodies. Great care must be taken with seems in front. They must dot look ful or puckered; stretch them well and notch them ; lut the stitches be even ; do not draw the hand too tight. If you have 110 paper pattern that fits, unpick half an old body that fits well; lay your new lining on your cutting board, with an old body on top of it, and with your piercer prick through both, in the old stitches of your body pattern; prick them well
, as the marks are apt to rub out; tack all the body well in the holes round it, before you begin, and be very careful to stitch your body to the tacking thread; take care and attend to this. Five out of six persons have their dresses made too tight across the chest; it is a sad fault; I have many times seen waists out of reason in length, and the front two inches too narrow; if a penknife were run up the middle, it would burst open; when I have had occasion to do it, I have never found any one willing to have the seam sewn up again ; and I feel convinced, that any lady, once wearing an easy dress, would never go back to a tight one; to say nothing of its being healthy and beautiful. Great care must be taken with the arm-holes; do not make them too large or too small; thirteen inches is a nice size for a person not more than twenty-four inches in the waist ; fourteen inches is a large size, only required for stout persons. If you have to alter the arm-hole, never do it under the arm; in nine cases out of ten, it will spoil the dress, and it takes away the free uso of the arm; a very small piece cut off round the arm-hole, except underneath, will be all that is necessary. Do not forget your sleeve must be larger than the arm-hole an inch and a half; when put in, it never looks the least full, and sets better. The seam of your sleeve must not be even with the seam of your body, but half an inch in front of it. In cording the neck, do not stretch it; hold the cord tight. The waist, must, on the contrary, be pulled well, when the cord is put on, or it will never fit; it requires much stretching. The fit of the body often depends on the finishing of the waist. In putting on a waistband, let it be larger than the body; the fashion at the present moment, I am glad to say, is not carried to the extreme; the waists are moderate in length, and I do hope sensible womer will cease to think tight waists are an ornament. Nothing is so beautiful as nature, we will only let it alone; it is presumption to think we can improve it; so much has been said by all our clever physicians on this subject, that more than a passing remark from me, will be unnecessary. It is a common error to make the backs of a dress of a different size; both halves should be of the same size; as one comes under, and the other over, they must of course wrap equal, and certainly require to be both alike. Put the hooks uot more than one inch apart, and a quarter of an inch from the edge of the back. If the dress fastens in front, make the fasteninge the same; and I think a hem down the back, a decided improvement; it takes off the width of the bach, for narrow backs and wide chests are what is considered right. In gathering a body at the waist, if it is at all thick material, guage it with strong silk or thread and large stitches, for it is a small compass it has to be put in; all full bodies are made with quito a straight piece of material wenty inches long, and eighteen wide; this is half the front gather it straight at the bottom, and then place it on your tight lining; fix it firmly, and then gather it at the shoulder; but mind and do the bottom guaging first; to make a body with folds, stil: have your material twenty inches long, and nineteen wide; the selvage must reach from waist to shoulder. Have the piece on a table before you, and make about four folds quite straight; lay them on your lining, push them close together at the waist, and pull them wider apart at the shoulder. I find it makes the folds set better, to cover over half the body lining with a plain piece of the dress, like you would wear a stomacher, and then place your folds to meet it; so that a folded body will be in two pieces, the plain part put on first, and the folds after. in putting folds on a body, let it be on the straight, or a good cross ; don't let it be neither one nor the other, which is too frequently the case, and always will
, as a matter of course, set badly; do not put your folds into the neck, let thens come towards the shoulder, it widens the chest; they had better be laid a little on the sleeves, than pushed all towards the neck. In making your body lining ready to put on the part, be careful it is very exact and smooth ; and mind your body is neat inside as well as out; don't let raw edges be seen; turn them, so that the outside fullness or plates cover what you can, and make the seam under the arm and on the shoulder neat, by sewing them over with white cotton: that is, if your body is lined with white, which it certainly ought to be; do not let your body lining be very stout; it is a mistake with many persons so to do. A stout lining prevents the dress going into the figure, and is not stronger than one of moderate quality. A nice twiiled lining at 8 or 10 cents per yard, will answer the purpose. A yard and a quarter is plenty for a moderate sized person. We all admire the gracefulness of the French dressmakers; they are shocked at our body linings, and well know we shall never fit nicely while we use them. They use little or no bone in a dress; if a dress does not fit nicely without bone, it will never fit with. Evening low bodies require a little. The jackets are made to fit without bone, then why not a dress body ? In making jackets you require a pattern; if you buy one on paper, a middle size is best; you can cut it smaller or larger, without injuring the pattern. It is a good plan to fit on a jacket in a common lining, and then cut out the material. Never make them very tight, and be sure to give ease in the arm-hole, and width on the chest.
Sleeves : How to make them. In making sleeves, with one good pattern, strange as it may seem, you can very easily make six different fashions by cutting your sleeve a little longer ir a little shorter, and putting on different trimmings, or making some in a band at the wrist, or leaving thein loose. The same shape is by a dressmaker altered in the man. Der I describe, and with a little observation I think can be done Try and procure a good pattern at first. With taste, one pattest,
can be made to look like six. A trimming on the top of the sleov: is a great improvement to thin persons, and, to my taste, really pretty. It should match the bottom part of the sleeve and body trimming. Let it all match. Most sleeves are now cut on the straight, but cross will do. This must be decided by the wearer, and sometimes by the material. If it is stripes, they do not always look well on straight way; and if a sleeve is tight to the arm, it would hardly fit on the straight. In making up any open sleeve, lay the material on the lining, cut them both the same size, and tack them together flat on the table. Line the bottom of the sleeve with silk to match the dress, or a piece like the dress, about three inches deep. Put your sleeve together, and let the fullness for the elbow come in the half of your seam. Stitch up your sleeves, and nicely sew them over. Do not leave large turnings. If the material is not soft, you had better stitch up three pieces of your sleeve, and let one side of your lining fell over the three other pieces, and you will find this quite neat. Don't forget to cut both sleeves at once; that is the outside double, and the lining double. Double your material and lay the two right sides together; you cannot then make up both sleeves for one arm, a very common occurreuoe with young beginners. One good pattern is absolutely necessary for cutting out your sleeves. Some persons think almost anything will do for a sleeve pattern ; it is a mistake; no part of a dress re quires a better pattern to cut by.
Skirts: How to make them. Supposing you have measured over your material, have your inch ineasure ready to cut the skirt from it. It is a good plan to write down in a little book the number of inches iong your skirt is required. Measure it at the back of the dress, and then from the seam under the arm. The slope begins here, and gradually goes to the point. Lay the skirt on a table, and have both halves exact, pin them together at the bottom, and pull them even at top. A dressmaker would have a person to hold the skirt at the bottom, while she made it even at the top. Put seam to seam. Care should be taken to cut your skirt even, every breadth the same length; and iet your seams be nicely pinned before you begin to run them. Make yourself a heavy cushion, to pin your seams to. A commor brick covered makes å very good one. In cutting off the skirt, if the length, we will suppose, should be forty-two or forty-six inches long, leave four inches more for the hem and turnings at the top. Cut the lining for the skirt exact to the material, and mind it fits when finished. Supposing you to have run the seams of the skirt and the seams of your lining, lay the lining on the table, placing the skirt on top, and then tack the seams of your skirt to the lining. Begin at the first seam, and gradually go on to the last seam; stitch up thrée pieces together, and fell over the fourth ; having done this, hem the bottom. Fix your hem all round before you begin, and do not take the stitches through : unless your heri is