Women and their Work


A little leisure for work in a good cause, a little ingenuity, a little taste, and the most dainty and charming gifts imaginable may be made by any needlewoman.

KATHERINE M . CALDWELL December 1 1926
Women and their Work


A little leisure for work in a good cause, a little ingenuity, a little taste, and the most dainty and charming gifts imaginable may be made by any needlewoman.

KATHERINE M . CALDWELL December 1 1926


Women and their Work

A little leisure for work in a good cause, a little ingenuity, a little taste, and the most dainty and charming gifts imaginable may be made by any needlewoman.


THE of charm—everyone gift of thoughtfulness—the is seeking gift it, as Christmas approaches. The Giver-of-giftswhois also a Maker-of-gifts is more than likely to find it, for she is not restricted by shopping problems or the shallowness of her pocketbook. Here are a few suggestions, all well within the abilities of the woman who ‘sews a little, but makes small pretentions to any great talent along that line.

Handmade Nightdresses

THE nightie of the square top and lacetrimmed hem, illustrated here, is of nile green voile with ecru lace in several patterns. The front shows five groups of pleats in the manner so characteristic of the fine French models, one of the little tricks employed in lovely imported things that the painstaking needle-woman can copy without difficulty.

Thirty-inch voile is used and the front employs the full width of the material, with no sloping out at the sides and only a slight arc, cut from the top three inches, to make the shaped arm-hole. The back is only eighteen inches wide, unsloped at the sides, but shaped out at the arm-hole and extending to the top of the yoke, four and a half inches higher than the voile goes in front, being trimmed only with the wide-top lace and the narrow row of insertion that finishes the top of the front yoke. Of course the depth of the laces used in front would really regulate the extra depth of silk in the back.

The pleats may be put in at home or done at the pleaters’; if you do them yourself, baste them in, like a series of tutks, and press with a damp cloth and hot iron.

The front yoke is built up of a wide band of lace, edged with narrow insertion, a broad band of lace at the top and a deeppointed filet lace cutting down into the voile. A three-cornered medallion is placed over the voile, in the centre, and the filet lace follows its outline; the voile is cut away under the filet but not from under the medallion, as it is both prettier and stronger with the color left under the lace.

The broad lace that tops the yoke outlines the arm holes, being put on perfectly smoothly, as much of the charm of this design depends upon a smooth, flat, tailored appearance.

Two bands of two-toned ribbon, in pink and mauve, are used for each shoulder strap, the two being brought

togeHjer and oversewn for alÇout an inch, right on the shoulder. The straps are placed a little nearer the centre, at the back, than they are at the front.

I have assumed, of course, that in sewing the side seams, a hand-sewn French seam would be used— the first seam run on the outside of the goods, then the rough edges trimmed and a second seam run on the inside: this makes a

smooth finish on the inside, with no rough edges showing. The seam is only run to within eight inches of the bottom, the corners being rounded and the bands of insertion and edging that go across the

bottom being run up the opening on each side, as shown in the illustration.

In joining the lace to the voile, a rolled edge may be used, the lace being oversewn to it, or a very tiny hem may be laid first and the lace applied afterwards.

A tiny cluster of French flowers, made out of ribbon of several pastel shades, adds a final touch of color to the front.

The second nightdress is of flesh colored crepe de chine, in a simple design that is also a little out of the ordinary.

If two nightdresses are cut from the same material, in either this or the preceding design, they^can te"very economically

evolved, three lengths of wide material cutting the two gowns. The full width could be used for the front of each gown, and a half-width of thirty-eight or forty inch material would make the back, for this nightie, like the other one, has a full width of the goods in the pleated front section and only a half width in the back. The seam in this case falls not exactly at the side fold, but a couple of inches past it in the back.

Pressed-in pleats again add their note of distinction, this time in eight groups of three each. The armhole is sloped out quite sharply, the front being cut narrower than the back, which is left wide enough to cover the shoulders. After pleating the front, French-seaming the sides as described in the previous gown, and laying a two-inch hem, the fine Irish crochet lace is basted on a pretty, curving line around the neck, crossing the shoulders in place of straps, and following the same line front and back. The silk is cut away under the lace, the edge rolled or minutely hemmed, and the lace oversewn to it. An edge of fine baby-Irish lace is top-sewn to the lace.

A very light and airy touch is given by the ruffle of doubled fine net that is used to edge the armholes; it is best applied by oversewing it to the rolled edge of crepe de chine. Finally and last, is added the inevitable tiny cluster of French flowers in delicate hues.

A Powder Box for the Dressing Table

AS a luxurious little accessory, the powder box illustrated will win a place on the dressing table as much by virtue of its decorative value as of its usefulness. Matching boxes might be made for jewels or toilet trifles.

A strongly made box of desirable size and shape, forms the foundation. A disc of cardboard, slightly larger than the bottom of the box, is cut and on the bottom of it, a covering of silk is glued in place. (A tube of liquid glue is invaluable to the gift-maker). Half-inch-wide gold galloon is glued aound the edge, in binding fashion, the top edge extending to the sides of the box the rest doubled over onto the bottom and completing a very neat base, on which the box is glued.

For the top of the box, the requirements are some taffeta in the color desired, the box shown is of rose and blue shot silk, a little sheet-wadding to pad the top, about a quarter yard of fine gold lace, about an inch and a half wide, half a yard, or better, of fine silk lace (écru color preferred, or more of the gold lace might be used), enough narrow gold lace to go around the bottom of the lid, about three inches of hat wire to make the looped handle, some narrow French trimming and a few French flowers, bought by the yard or made at home of thin, shaded silk ribbon. A little gilt paint or gold ink is very useful for finishing touches.

Cut a straight piece of silk, long enough to go around the box lid and allow for seaming up and deep enough to reach from the bottom of the lid to the centre of its top. Pin the silk around the lid, stretching it smoothly, slip it off, and seam it by machine, with a small stitch to make strong; it is absolutely essential to measure and stitch this cover so that when the silk is turned right side out, it may be drawn smoothly over the box-lid and fit without a wrinkle. Before drawing it on, make a narrow turn-down along the top edge and run a shirring thread along it; draw up closely. Pad the top of the bare lid with cotton batting, fastening it in place with a dab or two of the liquid glue, pull on the taffeta cover, drawing it smoothly down over the sides of the box and fastening at tte bottom with an occasional touch of the glue. Make the bottom edge look neat by painting the edge itself anda narrow band inside the cover, with the gilt paint, and glue the piece of narrow gold lace smoothly around the outside, putting the straight edge flush with the bottom of the box.

Shirr the fine thread lace and stitch it to the silk so that it will just reach to the bottom of the box, and the scalloped edge toward the top. Cut the wider piece of gold lace to exactly fit around the box, with seam allowed; seam it neatly, using a gold thread if possible, slip it over the lid, drawing the straight edge down to meet the flounce of thread lace and catching it to the taffeta. Shirr in the scalloped edge of the lace, which will extend about an inch over the top, and secure it to the gathered taffeta beneath it. Bind the piece of wire with a bit of the silk, twist it in shape for the handle, and stitch in place, trimming the base of the loop with a flower or two. Put a wreath of the French flowers near the edge of the top, and another bit of narrow French trimming to hide the place where the two laces meet, around the side.


THIS especially nice powder-my-back matches the powder-box and suggests that a small powder puff might be made in the same way to fit into the box.

Required; Large swansdown puff (if possible, buy one with back of silk, in color desired; if not, cover with piece of shirred silk or ribbon), seven or eight inches of gold lace about an inch wide, shot taffeta to cover handle (ribbon is convenient), spray of ribbon flowers and leaves in pastel shades, bit of wide gold lace for end of handle, gold paint or ink, and a twelve-inch wooden knitting needle thick as a lead pencil, or a round piece of wood, for handle.

Of course the handle might be bound in over-and-over fashion with ribbon, but a smoothly fitted drawn-on cover is much smarter. It necessitates careful measuring and straight seaming, to make a tube of silk that may be pulled onto the stick and fit quite smoothly. Fasten the end in neatly and stitch on the gold lace, which is not only decorative, but makes a firm grip.

Shirr the narrower gold lace and fasten it on the back of the puff, over the colored silk, catching down the points all the way around, so that they will not curl up. Fasten the stick firmly in place, stitching its cover to the puff. Put the spray of flowers in place, arranging it to run down onto the handle as shown; the flowers are mauve, pink, rose, blue and green taffeta, folded and shirred into petal and leaf form, the edges touched up sparingly with the gilt. Cut circles of silk, fold in half, then in quarters, and shirr the raw edge. A bit of wire covered with pale green makes a stem.

Lamp and Bed Shield

FOR the smart little bed lamp, it is necessary to buy an electrified wire frame, with hooks that catch over the head of the bed, silk to cover, georgette to match, gold galloon to trim, with two tassels of antique gold and a knot of French flowers.

For the shields—wire frames, silk, georgette, antique gold galloon, French flowers.

To make the shield cut strips of silk half an inch wide, turn in one edge, and bind all wires with it, over-and-over, stitching at the end. Stretch a piece of silk over the frame, pin firmly to the bindings, trim around the edge, allowing silk to extend about a third of an inch beyond the wires, stitch well-fitted cover to all outside wires, using strong thread; stretch, fit and stitch, a second piece of silk, in same way; turn back the raw edges on right side, and baste down lightly. Measure circumference of shield, cut strip of georgette to that length and wide enough to reach from outer edge to middle of shield at widest part, and with an inch to spare to allow for work; turn in one edge and gather, drawing thread tight; pin gathered part to centre of shield, pull georgette firmly to edge of frame and pin in place; turn georgette over edge of frame and sew on inside: cover stitches with band of narrow gold trimming and put a similar band around on the outside, so as to hide all stitches and the silk edges that are under the georgette. Finish centre with small cluster of variegated flowers.

Bed Lamp and “Crinoline Lady”

FOR the bed lamp: Cover all wires as for shield. Fit and stretch cover until there are no wrinkles; pin and sew securely. Put on second layer of silk in same way. Georgette may be shirred on for panels, (depending on the shape of your shade), just as directed for the shield. Trim and hide sewing, with the gold galloon; add tassles, if shape requires them, and flowers.

A frame must be selected thatTwill make a convincing ‘hoop skirt’ for the little lady destined to wear it. Buy also a head-and-shoulders doll such as all fancy-goods shops and departments show in variety lately, and organdy in desired color. Peach-yellow was used in this case, for a blue and yellow room.

Bind wires and cover frame with the organdy, as described for shield in the foregoing; or silk, two layers, may be used for the lining (taffeta could be employed throughout, instead of organdy). Trim inside and lower edge of outside, with narrow gold braid. Cut strips of organdy one and a half inches wide; hem one edge; make a single turn-over on other edge and run a shirring thread in it; draw up to pretty ruffled fulness, and beginning at the bottom, sew on the frills; cut frill’ at end of each row, and hem raw edges. One up-turned frill forms the bodice of the dress, a band of the gold braid covering the waist-line.

Bridge Table Cover

FOR the ever-useful cover for the card table, you will require a square of black sateen, not less than thirty-six inches in width, four yards (or more, if square is larger) of handsome gold banding, about an inch and a half wide, heavy blue embroidery floss and blue silk and chenille tassels which may also be enriched with gold.

Turn in edges all around, with rough edge on the right side; baste on the heavy gold banding; mitre the corners neatly; stitch trimming on at both edges, at the same time stitching on a strand of the heavy embroidery floss which gives this the appearance of an amazingly straight line of embroidery. Cover four heavy lead weights with black material and sew at the four corners, on the wrong side; fasten the tassels in place.