Friday, August 12, 2011

The Little Girl's Sewing Book

 Remember The Little Girl's Sewing Book, (I discovered it was printed in 1915).  It was this little book that inspired me to start my embroidery classes.  Today I would like to share with you a little more from this lovely book.

 The chapter on making clothes for Dolly.

Don't you love the table, and the young ladies stockings.

 The book is not only teaching the little girl how to sew, but also setting standards for what being a good Mother means.

 Dolly needed a nightdress, a pair of knickers, a chemise, a white petticoat, and a flannel petticoat.

 The construction of Dolly's garments are all done by hand, and this page shows how to sew a French seam and a fell seam by hand.  The button hole is also sewn by hand, and linen buttons are used.  Remember the linen button that destroyed the cottage industry making the beautiful hand made Dorset buttons.

The fabrics recommended for Dolly's dress are, fancy delaine or creponne, with a pretty floral print or plain.  The dress was lined with nainsook fabric.

  • Delaine a word derived from the French for of wool, is a fabric made of any high-grade woollen or worsted fibre made of fine combing wool. Delaine was originally a high-quality women’s wear dress material.
  • Crepon is defined as a heavy crepe fabric with lengthwise crinkles.
  • Nainsook, a fine, soft-finished white cotton fabric with a polish on one side. Lighter in weight than longcloth, more highly finished; not so closely woven as cambric but heavier than batiste. Sometimes mercerized and schreinerized. A fine nainsook may be called a coarse batiste. Uses: infants' wear, lingerie. Weave—plain. Width, 36", 45", usually 36".
Don't you love the definition of Nainsook, it is from:
Great site for textile terms.

So I have to take the next step and find out what merceized and schreinerized mean.  

The Free Online Dictionary is great for this.

mer·cer·ize  (mûrs-rz)
tr.v. mer·cer·izedmer·cer·iz·ingmer·cer·iz·es
To treat (cotton thread) with sodium hydroxide so as to shrink the fiber and increase its luster and affinity for dye.

[After John Mercer (1791-1866), British calico printer.]

To give a lustrous finish to a cotton fabric by passing it under rollers engraved with fine lines.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

The instructions are given with very few diagrams, and the coat has no pictures at all to help describe its construction, children of this era were used to reading and to using books.

So there you are, isn't that delightful,clothing for a early 19th century doll.


  1. Gosh to think... there were 1915 girls that could make sense of a book which would likely break my brain. Lolol

  2. Yes to think. Hey do you ever come back and read my answers to your comments?

  3. OOOh I'd love some of that dolly's underwear in my size! Check out those cute wee knickerbockers!