( Originally Published 1924 )
Should children's clothes be ready-made? Some garments can be made at home satisfactorily, but a mother should consider carefully whether she has the energy and time to give to it; or whether she will lose her "singing-look" by overworking in order to accomplish this small economy. It is better to have fewer clothes which can be bought carefully with their wearing qualities in mind. Coats and suits should probably be bought ready-made, altho wool remnants may be had at such reduced prices that it seems extravagant to let the opportunity pass. Knitted underwear can be had in a great variety. The "panty" waist, made of drilling or some other strong material, set with but-tons ready for the bloomers or banded plaited skirt, answers a ready-to-wear demand.
Hints for Economizing Time
But if, after due consideration, one decides to make clothes at home she should simplify the process as much as possible. In the selection of pat-terns simplicity should be the keynote. The most beautiful garments are made by using materials with as little cutting as possible. The old-fashioned idea of cutting cloth into pieces and then sewing it all together did not produce garments as comfort-able or artistic as those of to-day. The laundering is better if the garments are simple. The fastening of garments should be so easy that every child can soon acquire independence in dressing; the slip-on is a child's delight. After a style is found to be becoming to a child, all dresses can be made after the same pattern ; a favorite modern idea for grown-ups too. Variety may be obtained by choice of fabrics, combination of materials, trimmings, such as pockets, collars, cuffs, sashes, and neck lines, and length of sleeves.
Here are a few simple suggestions for the home sewer : The standard lengths for children's ready-made dresses are: two years, twenty-one inches; three years, twenty-two and one-half inches; four years, twenty-four inches. Little girls wear their dresses very short.
Hand-run tucks are more easily made if the material is put through a tucker that is properly adjusted, using an unthreaded fine needle.
When sewing buttons on heavy material, sew over a pin held on top of the button; the shank of thread between the button and the garment will make the button stay on longer.
Fasten rompers with large snap fasteners.
Use adhesive tape for marking rubbers, coats, caps.
Run a line of loose tension, close machine-stitching around the tops of stockings, just below the garter line, to prevent runs.
Put buttonholes on a separate piece of material, as they often outwear several garments.
Ornamentation of children's apparel should be a simple matter. There are two types of trimming that are best for children's clothes:
Self-trimming—that which is made from the same material as the garment itself or of contrasting material or color. It may be applied in these ways : bias folds, cut on the true bias; piping, cut on the true bias and basted before applying; binding, straight or bias; cording, which is practical for silk or wool (cording is made by basting true bias over a cable cord) ; tucks ; bound buttonholes; but-tons, either manufactured, made to order, or hand-made and embroidered.
Embroidery—using only the simplest stitches, be-cause children outgrow their clothes so quickly that the time spent in embroidering them is therefore wasted. The following stitches may be used to good advantage : outline, chain, running, blanket, feather, lazy-daisy, French knots, hemstitching, eyelets, Bermuda fagoting, smocking, couching. The simplest designs should be used, including straight lines, dots, geometrical figures. Any mother can make her own designs.