College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Extension Publications

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Extension Publications
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Extension Publications
The Extension Publications collections in the UA Campus Repository are comprised of both current
and historical agricultural extension documents from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at
the University of Arizona.
This item is archived to preserve the historical record. This item may contain
outdated information and is not intended to be used as current best practice.
Current extension publications can be found in both the UA Campus Repository, and on the CALS
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collections, please contact CALS Publications by sending an email to: [email protected]
Let's Mate II DRESS
Helen L. Church
Extension Specialist in Clothing
University of Arizona, Tucson
You have learned how to thread your
sewing machine and how to stkch a
straight seam. You also know how to
change the length of the stitch. This year
you should learn to adjust tensions. Many
adults are afraid to change tensions on
the sewing machine because they have
never learned how to do it.
With the use of nylon and dacron
threads these days, it will be necessary for
you to change the tensions often. But
since this year you will be working with
cotton thread, you will learn a simple
method of adjusting tensions for cotton
Have you ever examined a sewing
machine stitch? To look nice it should
look the same on both sides. The tightness on the bottom and top thread as
they make a stitch is caused by the tensions. There is one for the top thread and
one for the bottom thread. If they both
have the same tightness, the stitch is
locked in the center of the fabric.
Now look at the drawing below. (A)
If the top thread is not as tight as the
bottom thread, the tighter bottom thread
will pull the top one down and a loop will
form on the underside of the material.
(C) If the top thread is tighter than the
bottom thread, then a loop is pulled up
on the top of the material as in (B).
After we have the bottom thread tightened, we usually do most of the adjusting
with the top tension.
Your sewing machine book will give the
location of the tension for the bobbin and
for the top thread. The lower tension is
regulated by a screw in the shuttle or
shuttle case.A small screwdriver will turn
the screw to the right to tighten it and to
the left to loosen it. When you make the
turn, move the screw only a little and then
test the stitch.
Test Tensions for Cotton Thread
To test the tensions for cotton thread,
cut a piece of cotton the weight of muslin.
Fold, making it double thickness. Make
one row of stitching on the true bias. Be
sure that the bobbin and top threads are
the same kind and weight of thread
Hold the material between thumb and
first finger of each hand, pull until the
thread breaks, (as shown below). If the
top thread breaks fim, the upper tension
is tighter than the lower. If the lower
thread breaks Hirst, then the lower tension
is tighter than the upper.
Take your sewing machine book and
find out how and where to lengthen the
stitch. You may use old bobbins half filled
with a color that is not the same as the top
thread. This will help you to know the
bobbin thread.
Set the stitch as long as possible. When
you pull the basting out, pull the bobbin
thread and it will come out easily.
J u ing
J live ads
Tying threads is another task. You can
have your machine do it for you on inside
To tie threads, raise the presser foot
slightly and pull the material to keep the
machine from f e e d i n g t h e material
through. The needle should go up and
down in the same hole 3 or 4 times. Then
clip and cut the thread.
J he C wording
If the tension is even, both threads
should break proving correct tension. If
neither thread breaks, then the tensions
are balanced, but both are probably too
After you have balanced the top and
bottom thread, you may find that the material puckers. Then you must loosen the
bottom tension and proceed to adjust the
top thread again to balance with the bottom thread.
You have learned to use the sewing
machine to make seams, turn hems, etc.
Would you like to machine baste instead
of doing basting by hand? It is a time
saver. When basting is necessary, try using
your machine.
You will need to use the cording foot on
your machine when you put the zipper in
your dress or when making cording. If you
do not have one for your machine, maybe
Mother will let you get one.
A cording foot is an extra attachment
that can be purchased from most sewing
machine companies at a reasonable price.
It may be either a right or left foot. Or it
may be one attachment with a foot that
slides to make it possible to stitch from
the left or right side of the cord or zipper.
(See drawing below).
of ^/Vlacni
Your sewing machine needs oil occasionally. From your sewing machine bopk,
learn where the oil holes are located. Drop
a few drops in each hole before putting
your machine away. Do this about once a
Be sure that you have the best light
weight oil. It should carry the sewing
machine brand name. Never use an "allpurpose" oiL If your father has gun oil,
maybe he would let you use it in preference to other household oils.
The motor of an electric machine also
needs oiling. There is a hard oil available
for that which comes in a tube. This oiling should be done several times a year.
ijou Jjiiy
C <olo
Have you ever had a new dress and had
your friends say, "What a pretty dress for
you," "You look stunning tonight," or
"That is the best looking dress you have
ever had?" Have you ever stopped to think
why such expressions? Could it be that the
color was most becoming to you?
What do you see first when you look
at a garment? Is it the color? Since color
is so important, we need to study it and
become color conscious. We need to develop a color sense. It takes much practice
and interest to become artistic in combining colors. You can have fun looking at
the colors about you. Try to see the lovely
color harmony that nature provides in
trees, flowers, birds, and animals.
If we are to learn about combining
colors that please, we need to know some
of the principles. There are three primary
colors from which all other colors are
made. These primary colors are red, yellow,
and blue.
Mix equal amounts of two primary
colors, and you get secondary colors which
are orange, purple, and green.
Now when you mix a secondary and a
primary color, you will get intermediate
colors like yellow green, blue green, blue
violet, red violet, and yellow and red
As you look at a color wheel, on one
side are colors containing red or yellow.
These are warm colors. On the other side
are colors that are cool and contain blue.
White, gray, and black are neutrals and
harmonize with most all other colors.
There are certain words you will need
to learn if you are to talk about colors. Hue
is the first and by it we mean the name of
the color, such as blue, red, yellow, green,
etc. Value is the difference in the lightness
and darkness of a color. The light colors
are called tints, the dark colors shades.
Combine Colors Carefully
color is pretty alone, but you can
1. • • « ; * . «r,vu
its 1beauty iby combining
it with
the wrong color. There are two general
ways of using colors together.
2. Usually use bright colors in small
3. When combining two colors, do not
" s e e 1 u a l a m o u n t s , U * * e d u uller co,lo< ia
«f, a m o u n t s a n d t h e b " g h t e r c o l o r «*
smaller a m o u n t s ,
4. Use some contrast. Too much of the
same color is monotonous.
5. Do not repeat color contrasts too
1. Contrast- You may create very o f t e n . Twice is usually enough,
striking effects by using colors together
, «
„! ^ 1 ^ , . 6. Light colors make you look larger:
that are opposite each other on the color
© '
, ,
2 J „. « T ^ ^ w <v dark colors make you look smaller,
wheel, such as red and green. 10 make it
pleasing, the contrasting color is usually
7. Smooth, shiny surfaces are less beused in a small amount. It takes skill to coming to most persons than soft, dull textures
^ . .
8. Do not combine white will a dull
2. Like Colors. T h i s is another ^
Use k wMl ^
c f a u e r Qr
method used in combining colors, such as barker t o n e s ,
Heht blue and a darker blue, light green
ar!d a darker green. This gives a soft effect
™ e r e a r e o t h e , r ' ^ ^ r e s t i n g thmgs
t0 learn a
and is pleasing.
^ ° u t ?ol°* ^ m l ? . " ! a " o n s : S e ^ E x '
tension Circular 1/8, Color m Your
Knowing all the terms of color may not Hands" for more detailed information,
help you to select your best colors. Each Your leader should have a copy of k, or
person has his own individual problems. c a n g e t one from the County Home DemYou must experiment to find your best onstration Agent,
Sit down before a mirror and study your
own personal coloring. Your hair may be SzlzctinQt
brown, but are there glints of red in it
or yellow? Analyze your coloring. Your
Last year you learned t o make a simple
skin tones may have pink or yellow pre- blouse and skirt. This year you will learn
dominating. Your eyes — what is their to make a more difficult dress — one of
nice cotton, set together at the waistline,
J 1 •
and one that has a set-in sleeve if the blouse
Record coloring of your:
, . t
—, r , . .rt
you make is sleeveless. T h e fabric will need
to be a cotton — Arizona's most popular
CT .
N o w that you have had some experience
in sewing, Mother probably will allow you
Remember, what the color does to the a f e w m o r e c e n t s P e r y a r d f o r y°m m a t e skin is most important, especially if the r i a l T h e r e a r e s o mmY beautiful cottons
garment allows much of the skin area of m o u r s t o r e s arms and neck to be exposed. Some genLast year you learned two terms that are
eral rules might help you in making color important on the cotton label: "Shrinkage
selection and combining colors.
1 %," which is usually rigmel or sanforized
1. Be sure that the color worn near treated; and "Vat Dye," which is the
your face does not, by contrast, kill your most dependable dye to withstand Arizona
own coloring.
— 6—
It may be a winter cotton which is usually dark in color and appears as other
types of fabric, such as cotton tweed. If
it is a summer dress you are making, it may
be of a nice fabric, such as pique, tissue
gingham, voile, chambray, or novelty cottons.
require skill in handling and pressing. Unless you are skilled, avoid large prints,
plaids, stripes or checks that must be
matched for complete beauty of fabric and
design. Do not select a pile or napped
fabric, such as velveteen or corduroy, for
this project.
If the fabric has no label concerning
shrinkage, then it should be preshrunk as
you have already learned. Do be careful
about this; you would not want to be in
the situation of the 4-H girl who was
selected to be a county's representative at
the 4-H Roundup in the style show. She
wanted her pretty cotton, dotted Swiss, to
look its best, so she washed it. It shrank
in length and width until she could not
wear it. She could not go to the 4-H
Roundup in the dress. Her new dress suddenly became a remodeling problem.
Many of the cottons that you may select
this year may carry the term "crease resistant." This means that k will not muss
and wrinkle badly and that when hung up
it will lose many wrinkles. The finish may
or may not be durable or permanent. Look
for either one of these terms along with
the finish before you buy.
Some fabrics are permanently stiff and
need no starching; some have glazed surfaces. Many designs have been put into
the glazed surface that are not permanent.
As a rule they are not good buys, in that
they cannot be pressed. The material —
when ironed — loses its design and it is
soon old and "tacky" looking. The seams
cannot easily be pressed as you sew, and if
you have to rip or change seams the stitching usually shows. Many of these fabrics
are costly, too.
If you have selected a design with lots
of detail, then select a fabric that is plain,
so that the detail will show. If the design
has pressed pleats, then the fabric must
be firm. Soft, loosely woven fabrics will
do for the unpressed pleat and for shirring and gathering.
The selection of the right fabric can
make your sewing easier. Be sure that the
fabric is suitable to your pattern or design.
Very heavy or bulky fabric is difficult to
work with. Pressing it may be difficult,
Very smooth, glossy fabrics are hard to
handle. For instance, the embossed cottons
Study carefully your cutting chart and
the guide sheet that comes with your pattern. Every minute that you spend studying
the chart will help you to save time when
you are ready to put the garment together.
In your second year you were told to
avoid plaids and stripes because they are
difficult to put together. Possibly you
would like to use a plaid or stripes now.
If so, you need to know how to cut out the
plaid or striped dress.
If you select a plaid, you need to buy
extra material so that you can match the
plaid where necessary. If you bought a
balanced plaid, your problems will be less
difficult. The black and white check is an
example of balanced design.
To decide whether or not a plaid is balanced, take the center of the major design,
fold from right to left to any like center
design and from top to bottom. If they
overlap exactly, then the design is balanced.
Your first plaid should be a balanced
plaid, as you are less likely to make a mistake in cutting.
1. Plan to lay your pattern so that the
most prominent line of the design or center of plaid, if large, is centered at center
waist, and hip measurements. Since you
probably have grown since you took your
last measurements, you will need to take
them again.
Select the pattern that comes nearest
to your measurements. The clerk at the
pattern counter will help you in rinding
the correct pattern size.
All pattern companies have been using
a new measurement chart since June
1956. You will note that now there are
patterns available for:
1. Girls
4. Teens
2. Chubbies
5. Juniors
3. Sub-teens
6. Misses
Compare your measurements to the
chest, bust, waist, length of waist measurements of the different patterns. Buy your
pattern from the group that comes nearest to your own measurements.
You will probably have to make some
alterations, but with the new sizing and
your correct selection, only very little
alteration should be needed.
Make Your Pattern Fit
Your dress will fit if you take time to
change your pattern before you cut your
material If you don't do this, then you
probably will have much ripping to do.
Do you have a dress that seems to fit
you just right? If you do, use it to check
on the measurements of your pattern. Lay
your dress out flat on a table and record
the measurements as shown below. Measure the pattern at the same points.
Sleet e (measure across the sleeve at the
top of the underarm seam)
Garment Pattern Alteration
Skirt (measure waistline and for hips 7
inches below the waistline)
Garment Pattern Alteration
Waist front
Waist back
Hip front
Hip back
Skirt Length
At the righthand side under "Alteration" you have entered how much you will
need to alter the pattern. Remember, your
pattern is only one half of the garment
measurements. This means you will need
to multiply pattern measurements by 2 for
the width measurements you have taken.
Your pattern tells you how to change
length measurements. Follow your pattern
for making these changes.
Here are some suggestions for altering
the width measurements.
To Make the Bust Smaller or Larger:
Make a straight line parallel to center front from shoulder to waistline near
the front dartline. (See drawing below).
Waist length (measure from center of
shoulder line)
Garment Pattern Alteration
Width measurements (measure from
center front and center back to the side
seam at 2 inches below the armpit)
Garment Pattern Alteration
center front, and underarm darts downwards.
H — Make bound buttonholes if pattern calls for them. Machine made buttonholes can be made after finishing the
Waist Back
A — Stay stitch like waist front.
B — Stitch in darts.
C — Mark center back with 2-inch basting at neckline and waistline.
A — Join shoulder seams from neck to
shoulder. Back should be eased to front.
B — Attach collar to blouse or finish
C — Sew side seams from underarm to
D — Set in sleeves; possibly with a
machine basting for first fitting.
Units of Skirt
A — Stay stitch top and left side in zipA — Mark center of collar; baste stitch. per area.
B — Stitch together undercollar and inB — Put in darts or gathers.
terfacing. Then put top collar and under
C — Mark center front and center back.
collar together.
D — Put in pockets.
C — Press seam open.
E — Stitch panels together from bottom
D — Stitch the under edge of the seam of skirt to top.
down. This keeps the edge from rolling.
F — If it is a separate skirt, put in
E — Trim the edges to Vs inch.
placket or zipper and finish waistband.
F — Press and then stay stitch the inFit blouse and skirt separately. Finish
side neckline curves together.
the dress:
A — Join blouse to skirt.
A — Put elbow darts in sleeve if sleeve
B — Finish placket.
is long.
C — Mark andfinishhem.
B — Make two lines of continuous
D — Make machine made buttonholes
stitching Y/k inch apart and with seam al- (finish back of bound buttonholes).
lowance line in center of rows of stitching.
E — Sew on buttons.
C— Sew underarm seam; press.
F — Make belt — put on keepers.
D — Apply cuff or hem.
G — Give final pressing.
se lAJitlt \sonvertiklc
Most girls have as part of their wardrobe a sport shirt or blouse. The collar is
convertible, and the blouse has various
types of pockets and set-in sleeves. In making this garment you will learn two definite things: (1) How to set in sleeves;
(2) How to make a convertible collar.
Select a cotton fabric and a pattern that
meet the two requirements listed above.
Follow the "Unit System of Work" on
page 10 for making your blouse.
There are several methods used in making the convertible collar. We will use a
simple method applicable to lightweight
cotton fabrics.
Your pattern may have a separate facing
to be stitched to the center front, or it may
be cut with the front of the blouse. Follow
your pattern guide carefully in cutting the
facing. Be sure it is cut grain-line true.
— 11-
Ice Cream: Use cold water, then lukewarm suds. If it is dry, use cleaning fluid
first. If this does not get rid of it, use
(5) Soap will often set a stain.
powdered sodium perborate. Dampen it
Many spots on white or even on colored and rub into the spot. l e t stand 1 hour
cotton fabric can be removed with a and then remove. Pepsin powder may
bleach, either a chlorine bleach or sodium need to be used to dissolve the protein
perborate. But the colored fabric must in the milk.
be vat-dyed and you must proceed very
Lipstick: Cleaning fluid first will recarefully in order not to remove the back- move the oil. Then sponge with warm
ground dye.
suds. If the color remains, use diluted deHere are a few common stains and natured alcohol.
Inks: There are so many different
their removal. If you wish to study this
of ink that it is usually safer to send
further, ask your Home Demonstration
Agent for the U.S.D.A. Farmers Bulle- the dress to a reliable dry cleaner. Do not
allow the ink to dry. First try cold water,
tin No. 1474 "Stain Removal."
then a detergent Never use a bleach.
Grease Stains: Carbon tetrachloride
/Coffee and Tea: Use boiling water,
dissolve grease and oil. Use it carethen detergent or soap.
fully. Do not breathe the fumes as you
AH Fats and Oils: Use carbon tetraFruit Stains: Boiling water removes
chloride, then warm water and soap.
most fruit stains from cotton. Stretch
stained area over a bowl and allow boil/Chewing Gum and Bubble Gum: ing water to fall on it with force. The
Remove by chilling the spot with ice. exceptions are cherry, peach, pear, and
Then sponge with cleaning fluid.
(4) Never iron over a spot; you are
apt to set it.
IJotd ama
J3ress on
from other cotton garments. Wash with
mild soap and soft or softened water.
When you have finished your garment
it may be slightly soiled. It should be
washed and ironed and perfectly clean
when ready to be exhibited.
If your dress happens to be dark cotton, it should not be washed with the
family wash. It will need to be laundered
separately so that it will not pick up lint
Be careful about exposing your colored
dresses to Arizona sunlight. It would be
best to dry them in the shade.
Starch is necessary "m some of your
cottons. If the label told you that the
fabric was permanently stiff or starched,
you should not use a starch. If your fabrk
has one of the glazed finishes, or design
made by the finish, such as Picolay, do
not use a bleach on it.
You have made a lovely dress. You have
selected the fight color and design. All
is perfect until you put it on What do
you do for the dress?
Smartness in dress depends upon how
you wear a garment. The way that you
carry yourself and move your body from
top to toe is important to the appearance
that you make. The way that you walk,
sit, and stand makes such a difference.
Poor posture creates many difficult
fitting problems. Round and sagging
shoulders, one high and one low hip,
cause fitting problems. Begin early to
practice good posture and maintain this
posture throughout your growing years.
Good food, plenty of rest and adequate
exercises are important, too, in making
for correct muscle tone to keep good posture.
Practice the Following
1 Place the back of a chair so close to
a wall that you will have to squeeze
through. As you do this note that you
draw in the abdomen and fold the hips
down under. Now push the head up as
if it were holding a load Try walking in
this manner.
2. As you pass store windows note your
walk, your head, and your arms. What
kind of a posture do you have going down
the street?
If you walk correctly from daily habit,
you will not need to fear walking in a
dress revue. You will stand tall, Jpull and
stretch upward until you actually feel
tall. The chest will be high, tummy in and
hips tucked under. The shoulders will be
free and easy.
Check Your Posture
Swing your legs freely from your hips,
not from the knees. Keep your toes
pointed straight ahead with your weight
on the outside of the foot.
As you show off your dress:
Which of these do you look like?
Head up
Chin in
Shoulders straight
Chest high
Abdomen in and flat
Hips tucked under
Knees slightly relaxed
Weight over ankles
1. Let your arms swing lightly at the
2. Pause in front of the guests to let
them see your garment. Smile. Your feet
will not be together. Your weight should
be on the ball of the forward foot.
1. Head forward
2. Shoulders rounded
3. Chest lowered
4. Abdomen relaxed and protruding
5. Hips thrown back
6. Back curves extremely exaggerated
7. Weight on heels
Good posture cannot be attained over
night. It calls for constant practice. It is
the result of every day habits of movement.
3. You will then be ready to turn
easily. As you turn, bring your hands to
the front together at the waistline. You
will show the back of the garment.
4. As you make the next turn, allow
your hands to swing to the si3e.
How Do You Walk and Sit?
Little habits that we make when walking and sitting make us graceful Of awk-
— 28 —
ward. Try to improve your posture by
making good habits.
with the "tummy." This causes swayback
and protruding tummy.
When you walk, balance your weight
from one foot to the other, shifting the
weight from the hips. Point your toes
straight ahead. Your knees should be
slightly flexed. Pick up your feet. Do not
shuffle your feet along. Carry your head
erect as if you were supporting a weight
on top of your head.
When you sit, sit well back in your
chair so that the hips are against the
back of the chair and the upper part of
the body is held upright. Your feet are
flat on the floor, one slightly ahead of the
other, (never crossed if you are on a
stage). When you get up from a chair
place one foot forward, bend the trunk
slightly and push up with thigh and leg,
letting muscles do the work.
When you stand, as you will in a dress
revue, balance your weight evenly or
stand with one foot slightly ahead of the
other. Some models stand with the heel
of one foot at an angle to the arch of
the other. Your weight will fall on the
ankle bone. It will not be on your heels
or your toes. Walk as though your legs
were going in front of you.
Test your walking habits by standing
up to a flat wall (barefoot), with your
back against the wall and hips touching
it, and your feet one inch from the baseboard. Start walking. Do you lead with
your head and shoulders or your hips
and legs? Or do you sag forward at the
waist as you step off and drag your shoulders along after you?
Now try again. This time keep your
upper body in balance. Head high over
chest, chest over the thigh bones. Slightly
lift the knee and thigh bone. Let your
thigh lead.
Note some of our graceful dancers.
As they move, the first walking move
that they make is to lift the thigh, with
knee limber so that it swings the leg
forward gracefully. Be sure that you are
not confusing thigh leading by leading
Good Grooming Counts
It doesn't take lots of money to make
a good appearance and attract attention
of others. It does take a little time. Do
you budget your time so that you can
spend 15 to 20 minutes each night and
each morning with grooming habits? In
the morning do you take time for brushing teeth, combing hair, using deodorant,
arranging hair and make-up? Or do you
get up so late that you fling on your
clothes, and comb your hair and put on
make-up on the way to school?
At night do you plan your time to wash
your teeth; wash your face; put up stray
locks of hair that need attention; take
care of the bare legs with lotion and see
that they are attractive if you go without
hose, free from hair and skin smooth, not
chapped? Once a week you will probably
spend at least 2 hours washing your hair,
manicuring your hands, pedicuring your
Then there is clothing care that will
probably take an hour's time — pressing
your clothes and laundering some of them
yourself if they can not be done with
the family laundry.
— 29 —
Learning to give demonstrations is a
part of your club work. Any and all of
the things you have learned will make
good demonstrations.
1. How to put in a zipper. (Team)
2. How to put interfacing into a collar.
3. How to check sitting and walking
Your leader will help you plan easy,
4. How to adjust tension for cotton
simple demonstrations to be given, in your
club. When you are given such an as- thread.
signment, take advantage of the oppor5. How to mark pattern marking onto
tunity. After you have shown others how fabric. (Team)
to do something, you probably will always
6. How to set in a sleeve. (Team)
remember how to do the job.
7. How to put on mending tape.
Someday you will be interested in giving good team demonstrations at achievement days. Only through practice in giving simple indivdual demonstrations do
you become good at it.
9 Using your machine for basting and
tying threads.
Here is a list of demonstrations. You
may think of others.
10. How to put waist and skirt together.
8. Putting on a convertible collar.
On the record sheet in this book (pages
31 and 32) you will keep a record of all
the things that you have done in your
4-H sewing program. These records may
.mean much to you in future years of
club work. Your work is not finished until
you have made a complete record and
shown it to your leader.
Do a good job!
JZct's JHaL a 2)ress
NAMERural Route_
. Box No-
Club NameLeader's Signature at Completion
Yes No
Selection: (Check)
What colors do you
like best for yourself?
Did you read the
label on cotton?
Was it vat dyed?
Was it sanforized or
Did it have a special
Did you use the cording
Did you learn to adjust
Did you add to your sewing
Tailor's chalk
Dressmaker's carbon
Tracing wheel
You have made:
1. Blouse
Yes No
Did it have set-in sleeves? __
Did you learn to put in
convertible collar?
2 Dress — Cotton
Did it have set-in sleeves?
Was it put together at
Did you put in a zipper?
Did you learn to use
Was your pattern the correct
Did you need to alter your
Did you make the belt and
cover the buckle?
Does your dress fit you?
Did you learn to put on
press-on mending tape?
Did you learn to press cottons
on wrong side?
— 31 —
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

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