Click on thumbnails to enlarge.

After a dress has been well fitted, care must be sued to preserve the shape and good lines by adjusting the bones properly.

Until the last few years the best dressmakers would use nothing but the real whalebone, but we have now such a good substitute, which is sold by the yard and is so much less expensive, that it is used universally. This substitute, featherbone, is made in different weights and widths and covered with either silk, satin or cotton, in black and white. It is used in the waists, collars and sometimes in skirts. The collarbone, which is very narrow and flat, has a variety of styles and coverings and is used in the transparent collars or stocks, where it shows very little. A waist can be boned with featherbone either by hand or by machine. If done by machine, which is by far the easiest method, place the seam, which has been clipped, overcast and pressed open, to the featherbone, holding the waist to the left so the needle will sew through one side of the seam only. Then hold the waist to the right and sew the other side of the featherbone in place. If the machine needle is very strong or a special attachment that comes for the purpose is used it is necessary to stitch the featherbone by once through the center. In using the attachment, use a coarse needle in the machine and forty or fifty cotton the color of the bone and lengthen the stitch a little. Always stitch toward the bottom of the waist. In starting, push goods up to full a little on the bone and stitch an inch or two, then let the seam lie smooth on the bone until two inches above the waist-line, where, by holding the stitched portion to curve up, as it goes through the machine the bone is fulled on the cure at the waist or curved part of the figure.

The length of bones should be as follow; Darts, starting at top, under-arm and side seams, two inches below arm size and center-back and curved seams extending six and five and a half inches respectively above the waist-line. All bones should extend to the bottom of the waist and should be put in as described above, with the exception of the darts and side seams, in which the material is fulled two or more inches down instead of just at the start; and the darts do not need the curve at the bottom, since we are still endeavoring to keep the front rather straight, If the waist fastens either at the front or the back the lining is turned back on fitted line and stitched three-eighths of an inch in from edge to form a casing (Fig. 4), and a bone is slipped in this before sewing on hooks and eyes.

If whalebone or any of its uncovered substitutes are used instead of featherbone, it is necessary to sew on a casing of Prussian binding, which is one thickness by heavier than seam binding.. Turn the end under one inch and overhand the edges together on one side, then run the binding or casing on to center of seam, starting three-quarters of an inch from the end and fulling the binding a little to allow the bone to spring in and give the proper curve at the waist. This fulling and curving, the bone stretches the seam to its utmost and destroys all wrinkles. Run the other side of the binding down in the same way, leaving the three-quarter inch end of the one looks from seam at the top, and the little slit in facings is left open on this side to pass the bone in as the bottom of the waist is finished first if this kind of boning is used. (Shown in dart of Fig. 4.)

The tops of all princess skirts should be boned to make them git close to the figure and give them the proper appearance. The correct method is t start the bone an inch from the top and extend to one or one and a half inches below the waistline according t size of hips, and allow the material to full as little where the bones end as well as the start. You must also leave an end of the bone loose from the seam at the bottom as well as at the top. This loose end prevents the little puffed look which shows on outside of the bone ends with the stitching. This is an important point to be remembered.

To insure a perfect fit in these princess skirts the lining should be fulled on the material in the following manner: Cut the lining to extend from the top down four inches below the waistline. Mark on all parts of the lining horizontal parallel lines at waistline and two inches above and below, then starting with the back, place the lining on the material and baste along the waistline, then ease the lining down from the top and up from the bottom, and baste in the two inch lines, then all around the piece in seam lines, distributing the fullness evenly at the waistline. The center back, side body and underarm are basted in this manner. See Fig. 5.

The front is basted along the waistline from center-front to the last dart line, then the lining is eased in from the underarm and the basting continued at the waistline, distributing the fullness carefully. Ease the lining down from the top and up from the bottom, and beginning at the center-front again, baste in the two inch lines to the last dart line, the adjust the crosswise fullness to underarm seam. See Fig. 6. Baste all around in seam lines and darts, and baste parts together in the usual way, according to notches. The lining will look puffy if fulled in this way, but it caused the outside to be stretch on tighter, and with the bone curved in, it will be impossible for wrinkles to show.

To return to boning-the canvas foundation for girdles has the bone fulled in each seam, and if there are no seams in a narrow girdle then a bone on each side and one in the center front and each side of back is sufficient, if waist size is moderate. In stitching featherbone on a seam that is to be covered, either in a waist or girdle, the stitching may go through the waist instead of on one side of the seam.

For the collar narrow bone is used, six pieces, cut and finished at each end, just the height of collar, and sewed on, dividing the ends of the back and half-way between these. (See Fig. 1.) If any other color is desired than white or black, the covering may be removed and replaced by over-handing a tiny strip of silk around the bone; but it is desirable always to have the bone as near flesh-color as possible as it shows less in a transparent collar. If a person has a short neck it is often necessary to sew the bone around the top and bottom of the collar to keep it from breaking down between the lengthwise bones, but avoid these bones if possible as it forms a sort of vice for the neck, which should always be free and comfortable.

After the waist is boned and a good line marked at the bottom, cut the bones off about five-eighths of an inch from the bottom, then baste an inch bias strip of crinoline or thin canvas three-eighths of an inch up from the bottom, on the inside of the waist, turn the edge of the waist over this and baste and catch-stitch and press; then hem a one and three-quarter inch bias facing of silk or other thin facing material an eighth of an inch from the bottom and turn the other side in over crinoline edge and hem to lining.

The end of all bones should a quarter inch above the bottom of the waist as they are apt to stick out, causing curves all around the bottom if they extend to the lower edge.

The top of a princess skirt should be finished in this same manner. If the top is to be trimmed with stitching this should be done after the crinoline is in and before hemming an facing. The princess skirt should always be fitted over the waist with which it is to be worn, as the fullness of a waist requires quite a little space. These skirts are often finished at the top by draping a bias strip in folds and ending at the left of front or at the center-back with a rosette or a small bow.

The opening at the back of these skirts must be finished very carefully. After the skirt has been fitted an inch strip of crinoline should be basted where the backs are turned under. Then baste all together and then stitch through by machine a space wide enough to slip a bone in, as shown in center-front lining. Fig. 4.

Sew hooks on the right side an inch apart and a quarter-inch in from the edge and sew the eyes to come just o the edge of the left side, then sew a strip for a fly or placket under the left side. All facings should be cut on the bias unless a fitted facing is desire, as such should be necessary on the bottom of circular skirts or in facing certain finishes for sleeves, such as bell-shaped sleeve or flaring cuff. Facings should be nearly always be hemmed in after the edge has been turned back and pressed. See Fig. 3. Sometimes however, it is possible with silk or lightweight material to put the right side of facing to the right of material an stitch all together as shown in Fig. 2; then slip into corners of angles and the curves and cut off points and turn facing to wrong side, baste and press. In this last case all parts are cut the same size, allowing the seam which is turned in. In the first the crinolines is cut the finished size and seams are allowed on material and facing. Nearly all edges of a waist such as the bottom of sleeves, cuffs, bottom of waist, revers, band trimmings, etc., should be cut on the bias, but very often the fitted facing is better. The reason for having interlining and facing on the same grain as the outside is that they may all stretch alike.

In facing turn-back cuffs on short sleeved coats or dresses always interline with crinoline on the same grain as the outside. If the cuff is a continuation of the sleeve and rolled back, then extended the interlining and facing two inches above where it rolls. In this case the facing may be stitched in with the other parts. If the cuff is a separate piece it may be made in either of two ways according to the weight of material and the style or design of the cuff as in a cuff like the one shown in Fig. 2. The stitching all together is much quicker and more apt to keep the corners from raveling. To sew the cuff to the sleeve, if it is desired to roll from the edge of sleeve, baste crinoline in the sleeve a seam up from the bottom and clip the edge of the cuff and baste all edges together, then roll up and catch-stitch to crinoline and face. Another method is to interline and face the sleeve and finish all edges of the cuff and then slip stitch together.

In hemming a bias facing in any round or circular part, such as sleeve, collar, etc., stretch and pin the facing in from right side or outside first as it will be much too loose if laid flat.

In lining many coats a strip of canvas three inches wide is often placed along the front edges and around the bottom (two inches of the latter), producing a very fine finish, particularly when ornamental stitching is employed. This should be basted in position between the interlining and outside. Turn over the edges of the front, turn up the bottom and apply the ornamental stitching-three or five rows, or in clusters of two or three with a broader space between. Where interlining is employed it is placed over the canvas.

A lining of silk or satin, or nearsilk, or any of the new substitutes is now cut like the outside and basted as if it were a separate coat. Many tailors place a pleat down the center of the back broad at the neck but terminating at the waist-line; a similar pleat is placed in the center of the front shoulder and tapers to nothing at the waist. This pleat may be adjusted if liked, but is not compulsory if the lining is put in sufficiently loose to prevent the outside from drawing. This fullness or ease of lining may be effected by stitching a narrower seam when joining the outside material, cut a trifle broader one for the lining, to permit of this.

Place the center back of the lining to the center back of the coat and pin in position carefully. Draw the lining around at the under-arm seams to prove that the back is correct and if a back seam be provided tack the edge of the seam, turning the material and the edge of the seam turning of the lining together at one side of the seam only.

Please contact the webmaster if you are experiencing any technical difficulties with this site.


2003 Across the Ages