(Disclaimer - please use common sense if using some of these tips. Remember - these are 100 years old!)
This department is open to all our subscribers. If you have made a discovery which proves helpful to you in plain sewing, embroidery or lacemaking, do not fail to send it to Needlecraft’s editor, in order that others may share the benefit. For each of the three hints received during the month, and judged to be the most helpful, original, and practical, a crisp dollar bill will be awarded.
How many of us have spent hours sorting out loose buttons from the collection in the button-box or –bag? The question “Button, button, who’s got the button?” I have solved very satisfactorily in the following manner: Procure several sizes of safety-pins, and string each kind of button, putting the large ones on large pins, smaller ones on other sizes, as required. The pins, fastened, may be kept in the box or bag, or may be fastened to a case made of heavy cloth, which may be rolled up to occupy small space, and unrolled when the selection of buttons is in order. ---A New Needlecrafter.
Many find it difficult to put a band on a waist and get it to fit just right. My plan is to leave the band until the last; have the waist cut some longer than necessary, put on and tie down with a small cord, push the gathers neatly into place and draw down to fit correctly. Next, take a pencil and mark around the waist along the cord – or get some one to mark it for you – untie and you have a line to guide you in cutting. Cut a little below the line, allowing enough for seam, gather, put on the band, and you have a perfect fit. ---Esther Hutton.
When making sofa-pillow covers for everyday use, get plain, serviceable material – checked gingham serves nicely, also – trace some simple design upon it, thread your sewing-machine with some bright-colored thread and stitch the design several times, following the outline as closely as possible. You will have a really pretty pillow-cover with the expenditure of little time or labor. Stand-covers, dresser- or table-scarfs and other articles of household use may be treated in the same way. We all like pretty things, even though we cannot spare much time for hand-work on them. ---Mrs. T. David.
When making up nice dress-goods or any fancy material, do not throw away even the smallest scraps, but have a box or bag near your work-basket to save them in; you will find them convenient for many small articles. The same is true of wash-goods, such as gingham, percale, and so on; very tiny pieces may be utilized in making quilts by selecting suitable patterns. ---Miss C. M. Kichline.
A hint for mothers: When making baby’s skirts, have the yoke come about halfway on the armhole. Hollow a space in the body of the skirt, and put in two or three tucks; as the little one grows, let out the tucks to make the skirt fit. This saves putting in new yokes. ---Mrs. F. C.
I find that to use the old-fashioned chain- or lock-stitch as padding makes a buttonholed edge, or other raised work, look heavier and smoother than when ordinary padding-stitches are put in. Work over it with satin-stitch, slightly slanting. ---Mrs. R.M.R.
Use a sadiron, slightly heated, for smoothing out dress-patterns. Lay pattern on fabric to be cut, smooth out, and mark perforations with colored crayon or pencil. By this method you will not tear nor cut the thin paper, as a tracing-wheel is sure to do. No pins will be needed, if care is taken. For hem or facing, press with iron, and no basting is required; thus time and labor are saved. ---Alice Phillips.
To prevent buttonholes tearing out of knitted underwear, take the garments before they are worn and stitch around each buttonhole three or four times on the sewing-machine. Try this, busy mothers, and see what a help it is. ---Mrs. Florida Palsley.
Try this way to use up small pieces of woolen or fleeced goods, making a serviceable and pretty rug: Cut your scraps into strips about two inches wide, and gather through the center, using the ruffler attachment on the sewing-machine; have plenty of dark colors mixed in well with the brighter ones. Stitch closely on a firm foundation of shape and size wanted for the rug. ---Clara Folsom.
When your “men-folks” get a safety-razor blade that is too dull to use as originally intended, do not throw it away, but use it to rip up garments or any seams. There is nothing better. ---Mrs. S.E.H.
When sewing on goods that ravel easily, try overcasting the sleeve and leaving this thread long enough for the gathering-thread. It will prevent the goods raveling more, and also answer nicely for the first gathering, thus saving both time and work. ---Mrs. H. H. Dickinson.
Most mothers know what a trouble it is to keep the little folks- underwear in place and pull a stocking up at the same time. If a piece of tape is sewed on the bottom of the drawer-leg, so that it will come under the instep just as a gaiter-strap does, it will hold the drawers down smoothly. The device is a real “mother’s helper,” too, for most children can put on their own stockings where it is used. ---Mrs. E.A.C.
This is what I call an easy way of padding scallops: Use spool darning-cotton and, if the scallop is very wide, use three strands, catching down at intervals and buttonholing over. For a medium scallop use two strands, while a narrow scallop will require but one strand which can be carried along as you work. Please try this. ---R.C.F.
As the buttonholes in my little boy’s pants were always tearing out because of the strain, when buttoned to the waist, I tired sewing a piece of shoe- or corset-lacing (beginning at one end) firmly to the seam made by stitching the piece of cloth containing the buttonholes fast to the pants, running the lacing up and around the buttonhole, and back to the point where it started. Fasten securely, cut off and work a buttonhole over the string and goods together with very fine thread – coarse thread makes the work too thick or bungling. Since I began practicing this method twelve years ago, both on pants made at home and those purchased readymade, I have never had a buttonhole tear out. ---Mrs. K.
I had a coat of the full-length Raglan style in vogue six or eight years ago. This I carefully ripped apart, brushing thoroughly, gave it a bath of black dye and, after it was washed, dried and pressed, recut it by a Needlecraft pattern of new style, thirty-inch-length coat. I followed Needlecraft’s lessons in coat-making, lined my coat throughout with black satine, made the collar and cuffs of black silk, partly worn, and now have a new and stylish garment at the small expense of twenty cents for die and patter. I sincerely trust other needleworkers may do likewise; to the economical woman such a saving means a great deal. ---Mrs. Howard Palmer.
When woolen skirts, suits, or men’s clothing require pressing, try using a mixture of three tablespoonfuls of coal-oil to a pint of hot water. Dip a towel in the water, place it smoothly over the garment to be cleaned, and press with a hot iron until dry. Remove the cloth and you will find stains, dust, etc., to have vanished. Your garments will look as well as though they and been sent to a professional cleaner. ---M.P.W.
When setting lace insertion in the skirt flounce or the yoke of a lingerie frock, where the lace must stand some strain, place strips of bobbinet or net under the lace. All lace yokes, indeed, should have a net lining. They are made much stronger, and their beauty is rather enhanced than lessened.
One of the newest things in jabots is the frill of maline, in which a plaited piece of the material about twelve inches long is caught together in the center with a strip of the same, and pinned at the collar, forming a semicircular or spreading, fan0shaped jabot. Another, of marquisette, has the lower edges graduated by being cut obliquely, and is decorated with insertion and edging of narrow Valenciennes or Cluny lace, in which a touch of color is often introduced.