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Title: It's Fun to Sew with a Sewing Machine
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                            IT’S FUN TO SEW
                         with a sewing machine

                                PHASE 1
                          4-H CLUB SERIES L-85

                It’s Fun to Sew—With the Sewing Machine

                          HILDEGARDE STRUEFERT
                     Extension Clothing Specialist


Where to find page
  Your guide for the project                                           1
  Plan your project                                                    1
  Become acquainted with your sewing tools                             2
      Measuring tools                                                  2
      Cutting tools                                                    3
      Sewing tools                                                     3
  Organize a box or a basket for your tools and supplies               5
  Learn to use mother’s sewing machine                                 6
      Parts of the sewing machine                                      7
      How to use the sewing machine                                    9
  Enjoy good sewing habits                                            12
  Start to sew                                                        13
      A shears case                                                   13
      Barbeque placemats or traveling kit                             18
  Complete your record book                                           23
  Show others what you have learned                                   23
      Displays                                                        23
      Demonstrations                                                  23
  Are you ready for the next project                                  23

  _Read this book from cover to cover before you start your project._

                       Your guide for the project

What you will learn

  1. The names and use of common sewing tools.
  2. To organize a sewing box.
  3. To develop good sewing habits.
  4. To combine pretty colors.
  5. To use the sewing machine.

What articles you will make

As a club member, you will be required to complete two articles.

First you will make _one_ practice article:

    A case for your sewing shears.

Then you will make _one_ main project article:

    A barbecue placemat or a traveling kit.

Start your record book

Attend all your meetings so that you will be able to complete your
project as soon as possible. When your home agent gives you a 4-H record
book and record sheets, she wants you to record the work you do on your
project. Give her this information in writing. Tell her how much you
enjoyed making the articles and how much you and your family enjoyed
using them.

Learn to give a demonstration

Show others what “tricks” you have learned by giving a demonstration at
one of your club meetings, or ask your mother to invite your family
friends to your home. It will be fun to use the placemats or show them
your other projects. They will be interested in how they were made. Tell
them what you did and what you learned about using your mother’s sewing
machine and the sewing tools.

                           Plan your project

Your projects will be more interesting if you plan them with your mother
and leader, because they can help you to understand and enjoy your new
adventures in sewing. Take your mother with you to your first meeting to
introduce her to your leader and your friends. This will also give her
an opportunity to see the kind of projects you will be working on during
this year.

You will need your mother’s cooperation and advice in selecting both
equipment and fabrics for the projects. She may be able to loan you some
of her sewing tools too. Sharing with your mother as you work will help
you learn to know each other better.

Before shopping for your supplies, read your bulletin to see what
supplies are needed. Plan ahead so you can do all your shopping for your
articles at one time.

It is not necessary for the colors of the fabrics used in these projects
to match or even blend, because they are not going to be used together.
But—since the articles may be exhibited together, they will look nicer
if the colors look pretty when placed next to each other.

                Become acquainted with your sewing tools

Measuring tools   [Illustration: {Measuring gauges}]

  Measuring gauge (6 inches)
  Ruler (12 inches)
  Yardstick (36 inches or 1 yard)
  Measuring Tape (60 inches)

Measuring tools are each marked with many short lines to help you
measure fractions of an inch or inches.

    [Illustration: You will want to use the measuring gauge or the ruler
    for measuring short distances.]

    [Illustration: ruler]

  ⅛ inch
  ¼ inch
  ½ inch
  1 inch

If you want to measure anything longer than 12 inches, you will need to
use either the measuring tape or the yardstick.

    [Illustration: A measuring tape will help you measure inches or

  12 inches—1 foot
  24 inches—2 feet
  36 inches—3 feet
  48 inches—4 feet
  60 inches—5 feet

    [Illustration: The yardstick will measure inches, feet, or yards for

                   1 yard
   12 inches     24 inches     36 inches
     1 foot        2 feet        3 feet

    [Illustration: Material is sold by the yard or fraction of yard.]

Cutting tools

    [Illustration: Pair of Shears]

    [Illustration: Pair of Scissors]

If your mother has several types of cutting tools in her sewing box, you
have already learned that shears and scissors will cut both fabric and
thread, but one is easier to use for cutting thread than the other.

Little scissors like the small pair illustrated are meant to clip thread
or cut narrow things like ribbon, elastic, etc. Scissors have very sharp
and narrow points to make it possible to clip into tiny corners.
Scissors have two handles the same size.

    [Illustration: {holding scissors}]

When you cut with scissors, put your thumb through one handle and a
finger through the other. A pair of small scissors about 4 inches in
length is easy to handle.

    [Illustration: {holding shears}]

Shears are larger than scissors, and they are used for cutting a pattern
out of material. Shears have one large handle and one small one. When
you cut with shears, place your thumb through the small handle and two
or three fingers through the larger handle. A pair of 7-inch shears is a
good size for you.

Sewing tools

    [Illustration: Needles and Pins and Pincushion and Thimble]


    [Illustration: {packet of needles}]

When you buy needles, search for slender ones with long eyes. If they
are slender, they will slip in and out of the material without much
effort. The long eye will be easier for you to thread. Also notice the
length of the needles. Will they be easy for you to handle?


Pins are used to hold the pattern and material together while you cut
out a pattern, or to help you hold the pieces of material together when
you are getting ready to sew.

    [Illustration: {Fabric, Pattern}]

If you borrow some pins from your mother, you will be a smart little
girl if you notice whether they _slip_ into your material easily. Avoid
using pins that are too large or have a blunt point. They are likely to
snag or tear the material.

If you buy new pins, ask the saleslady for _brass pins_. These are
strong pins, but fine in size.


To help you develop the habit of putting pins and needles into a
pincushion, always remember to wear your pincushion when you sew. If you
drop pins or needles they are hard to find because they are small and
will easily slip into a hiding place, where they may hurt someone later.

    [Illustration: {wrist pincushion}]

The wrist pincushion is the most convenient. If you are right-handed,
wear the pincushion near your wrist on your left arm. If you are
left-handed, wear the pincushion near your wrist on your right arm.

    [Illustration: NEVER hold PINS in your mouth!]


People who sew usually wear thimbles for several reasons. They help to
push the needle through the material, and they protect the finger from
being pricked by the needle.

To push the needle through the material with the end of the thimble,
hold the needle between the thumb and the first finger so that the eye
end of the needle is resting against the end of the thimble.

    [Illustration: Buy the size that fits your middle finger snugly.]

    [Illustration: TRICK FOR NEATNESS]

When you begin to use the sewing machine, you will be snipping many
threads. Keep the area around your sewing table neat by using a paper
bag for a wastebasket for scraps of material, paper, and thread. Fasten
it to the edge of the table where you can reach it easily when you are
sitting at the machine.

    [Illustration: {Wastebasket on table}]

            Organize a box or basket for tools and supplies

All of your sewing tools are like a happy family—each has a job to do to
help you sew. You will therefore, find it helpful to know where your
tools are and to keep them in place when you are not using them, instead
of leaving your thimble on the arm of a chair, the shears hidden under a
newspaper, or a bobbin in your pocket.

A box is easy to organize into an equipment box and convenient to store
in your dresser drawer, on your closet shelf, or in a bigger box which
will hold your projects.

You should look for two kinds of boxes—one large box and many small
ones. The large box should be sturdy, clean, and long enough to hold
your longest tool. The pincushion may become the tallest tool when it is
covered with pins and needles.

The small boxes may vary in size. Tiny boxes like those used for
earrings are good for small items like the thimble, bobbins, etc. Bigger
boxes are needed for the pincushion, thread, and other items.

When you have all of your boxes collected you will be ready to start
your project.

Separate the box tops from the boxes. Then arrange the smaller boxes so
they fit into the larger box. Be sure to save enough space for the
12-inch ruler or the length of your shears. Then have mother help you
staple or paste the sides of the open boxes together and fasten them
into the large box.

    [Illustration: Staples]

To make this box even more useful, you could label each little partition
with the names of the tools or supplies you plan to store in each, as
shown in the picture of a well organized box on page 6.

If you would rather have a container which could be easily carried from
room to room, you might like to buy a fishing tackle box like your
brother uses for his supplies. Choosing one with dividers in it will
help you to organize your sewing tools very nicely.

Some girls use little doll suitcases, or a small cosmetic case like
grown-ups use when traveling. Either of these are very nice, because
they are usually pretty in color, and will open up wide so you can see
all your sewing tools at one time. They also have a latch to fasten the
cover and a handle which makes them easy to carry.

    [Illustration: An example of an organized box. The number of small
    boxes and their arrangement will vary.]

  Masking Tape or Scotch Tape
  Pin Cushion
  Measuring Tape
  Seam Gauge (Sewing machine attachment)
  Dressmaker Chalk
  Paper Bag
  12 inch Ruler
  Case Holding Shears and Scissors, Measuring Gauge

                  Learn to use mother’s sewing machine

What could be more exciting than to learn to use a machine which has
“magic power.” Of course, I know when you are older you are going to
learn to drive the family car (which you’ve heard dad say has all sorts
of magic power). But did you know that mother’s sewing machine has
“magic power,” too? The nicest thing is that you do not have to wait
until you are grown up to use it. Even though you are only 9 or 10 years
old, you are ready to learn the secrets of the sewing machine right now.
You will no longer be standing by watching mother or sister sew.
Instead, after you have learned some of the secrets of sewing with a
machine, you can make many exciting things for yourself, your family,
and your friends.

So come—let’s get acquainted with this wonderful machine!

Now look at your sewing machine and find the parts which look similar to
the pictures below. Every machine has these parts, though some designs
may look just a little different. Your leader will show you how each
part works.

    [Illustration: {Sewing machine}]

  Thread Guides
  Take-up Lever
  Bobbin Winder
  Balance Wheel
  Presser Foot Lever
  Stitch Regulator
  Presser Foot

Parts of the sewing machine

    [Illustration: NEEDLE has a long groove in it to guide the thread.]

    [Illustration: BALANCE WHEEL moves the needle in and out of your

    [Illustration: PRESSER FOOT LEVER is the handle which moves the
    presser foot up and down.]

    [Illustration: THREAD GUIDES hold the thread in place as it is being
    unwound from the spool during stitching.]

    [Illustration: TAKE-UP LEVER pulls the thread from the spool as it
    moves up and down with the needle.]

    [Illustration: PRESSER FOOT holds the material so the needle can sew
    through it.]

    [Illustration: BOBBIN WINDER winds the thread from the spool onto
    the bobbin (spool which holds thread in lower machine).]

    [Illustration: STITCH REGULATOR makes stitches small or large. Also
    adjusts the machine to move your material forward or backward.]

    [Illustration: CLOTH GUIDE ATTACHMENT helps to stitch straight

                        Types of control levers

    [Illustration: FOOT CONTROL]

    [Illustration: KNEE LEVER]

    [Illustration: TREADLE]

How to use the sewing machine

                    Is your chair the right height?

    • Can you see the needle easily as it moves up and down?
    • Are you able to reach behind the needle?
    • Can you rest your arms on the table?
    • Do your feet touch the floor?

[Illustration: Using a sewing machine]

If you cannot see the needle or rest your arms on the table, you will
need a taller chair or something to sit on to raise you up a bit. If
your feet do not touch the floor (after you are sitting in the position
to see the needle) and your machine has a foot control you will have to
find a sturdy box. It should be large enough to rest both of your feet,
as well as the foot control from the machine.

                   How to start and stop the machine

With your machine unthreaded and the presser foot raised, it is ready
for you to start. Place your right hand on the balance wheel. (It will
help you to start the machine in motion.)

Keep your left hand a distance from the needle to avoid this—

    [Illustration: WARNING]

                     How to speed up and slow down

Place your foot or knee on the control or treadle.

See how slowly you can make the needle go up and down. If the machine
runs too fast for you, you can press your right hand against the balance
wheel to slow it down.

Practice until your foot or knee can control the speed evenly from fast
to slow, without using your right hand on the balance wheel.

                        How to stitch correctly

Slip a piece of material under the presser foot. (Your leader will have
a piece for you.) Lower the needle into the material by rolling your
right hand on the balance wheel until the needle goes down as far as
possible. Then lower the presser foot onto the material.

Let the machine run without your hands touching the material. You will
notice that it will slip and slide in many directions. To guide the
material, hold your left hand on it with your fingers curved as if you
were holding a ball in your hand. If you hold it gently, you can guide
the material as it slips under your fingers without interrupting its
movement as it is being sewn. Try it!

    [Illustration: {Guiding the material}]

Your right hand will also help you to guide the material. As soon as the
machine is in motion, take your right hand off the balance wheel. You
will soon discover that you will have to practice the trick of sewing

    [Illustration: Do not run off the EDGE of material.]

Slow down your speed when you near the end of your material so that you
can stop when you reach the edge. Roll the balance wheel to raise the
needle—then lift the presser foot to remove the material.

                    How to use the stitch regulator

If your sewing machine has a lever which makes it sew backward, try to
use it now. Move the stitch regulator up as far as it will go. As you
start the machine you will see it moving backward. In order to stitch
forward again, push the lever back down as far as it will go. As you
will learn in your projects, you will always have to sew very slowly and
carefully when you sew backward in order to do it nicely.

    [Illustration: {stitch regulator}]

Another reason the stitch regulator is on your machine is to make the
stitches larger or smaller for you, whichever is best for the material
with which you are working.

    [Illustration: 8 STITCHES]

Some machines have numbers next to the lever to tell you the number of
stitches per inch. If your machine does not have such numbers, you will
be able to tell the number of stitches per inch by putting a line of
stitching into a piece of material, and counting the number of stitches
sewn in a one-inch space.

                       How to practice stitching

Mark some straight and curved lines on your piece of material. (Paper
may also be used but it dulls the needle; material is best.)

Roll the balance wheel to lower the needle at the end of one of the
lines. Lower the presser foot and start the machine. Slowly stitch the
entire line (without thread), guiding your material so the needle
follows the line as much as possible. Practice stitching along a marked
line without thread, going backward and forward with both small and
large stitches.

    [Illustration: {Practice stitching}]

When you can control the speed of the machine and stitch straight, you
have learned some important secrets of mother’s sewing. Soon you will be
ready to start on your first project.

                       How to thread the machine

Would you like to be able to thread the machine as easily as your leader
threads it? Ask her to do it very slowly for you so you can learn it
from her. Watch closely as she hooks the thread onto every finger of
each thread guide until she finally reaches the needle. She will also
show you where the bobbin hides (remember this is the flat spool in the
lower part of the machine) and how you will get its thread to the top of
the machine.

After you have threaded the machine be sure to have your leader check it
before you try to sew. If you want the machine to “work like magic” you
will have to have it threaded correctly.

                   Stitching with a threaded machine

You have probably learned how to follow a marked line very well by this
time. It is also important to see that you will be able to do as well
when you actually stitch with thread.

                        Enjoy good sewing habits

                             Hint number 1

  The first important hint to know
  is—“Join the Clean Clan Club” whenever you sew!

    [Illustration: {Cleanliness}]

  Hands freshly washed and nails clean, too
  will help keep your projects looking like new.

  Clean clothes—“a must” while handling cloth,
  for fear some dust and grime may rub off.

  Last of all—your table must gleam
  to protect nice materials from soil unseen.

  So—_Clean Hands, Clean Clothes, Clean Table_, too,
  is an important trick for you.

                             Hint number 2

  “The Clean Clan Clubs” can boastful be
  of unsoiled projects, delightful to see.

  But here’s another hint for you—
  to keep you from wrinkling your fabrics so new.

  Your lap’s too small and too far away
  to hold your project by night or by day.

  But—your table clean would love to hold
  the bulk of that fabric, while you pin that fold.

    [Illustration: {Sewing at a table}]

  So,—trick number 2, in this sewing trade
  is—_work on a table_ to get your projects made.

                             Hint number 3

  Here’s one last, special hint for you—
  and something easy we would like you to do.

  Look at yourself—as you start to sew.
  How do you sit? And how are your feet below?

  Think of your posture—it’s no chore—
  _to keep your back straight, with both feet on the floor_.

  You won’t get tired so quickly then
  and you’ll enjoy stitching again and again.

                              Start to sew

If you have learned to run the sewing machine smoothly, and to thread it
correctly, you are ready to start making something useful.

A shears case   The first article you will make is a shears case. It can
be used to store your shears in your sewing box. This will help remind
you that these are special shears and should be used only for cutting
fabric. Cutting paper will make them dull.

    [Illustration: The first article you will make is a “Shears Case”]

A shears case will protect the sharp points from being damaged by
hitting other tools in the box. It will also protect your fingers when
you reach for your shears or for your other sewing tools.

                          What you will learn

    • To recognize the feel and appearance of felt or nonwoven
    • To choose and buy pretty material and thread.
    • To read ruler measurements.
    • To make a pattern according to measurements.
    • To pin a pattern to the material.
    • To handle the shears when cutting material.
    • To use tailor’s chalk or a tailor’s pencil for marking around the
    • To use the stitch regulator for backstitching and adjusting the
          size of stitches.
    • To use the toe of the presser foot as a marked line for stitching
    • To make a hem and stitch it.

                         What you will do first

To make a shears case you will need to buy felt or nonwoven interfacing
(suit-weight), thread, and tailor’s chalk or pencil.

If your shears are 8 inches or less in length, the felt swatches (9
inches wide and 12 inches long) sold in many stores are a good buy. If
your shears are over 8 inches long see page 14 for directions. Ask your
leader or your mother to help you decide how much fabric you will need.

If it is easy for you to stitch straight, try a color of thread which is
different from your material to add color to your case.

If you are still having difficulty stitching on a straight line, it
would be better to use thread which matches your material because
mistakes will be less easy to see. You can use either regular or heavy
duty thread.

Tools and supplies you will need to make the case are as follows.

  12-inch ruler
  Paper shears
  Tailor’s chalk or tailor’s pencil

How to make the shears case

                          Make a paper pattern

Measure the length of your shears on a piece of paper. Mark this length
with lines AB and CD. Then draw a vertical line between these two lines
by placing a ruler on the lines as shown.

    [Illustration: {measuring the shears}]

Measure the width of the shears by placing them on the vertical line so
that the intersection of the handles and the points of the shears rest
on the line.

    [Illustration: {making a pattern}]

Measure across the widest part of the handles. (Ask your leader to help
you read the ruler.) Label points E and G. Also measure the width ½ inch
from the point of the shears. Label these two points as F and H.

Make a pattern for the pocket by drawing lines with your ruler, from
point E to F and G to H. Extend these lines to the full length of the

                Mark the fabric; follow the illustration

Use your ruler to measure and mark your fabric. It is most important
that you are careful to measure accurately and mark very straight lines.
Use tailor’s chalk or tailor’s pencil for marking. Then ask your leader
to check your material and your markings. They must be perfectly marked
to prevent trouble when you sew the case together later.

    [Illustration: Shears’ Length + 1 inch]

                             Cut the fabric

Since cutting material, especially heavy material like felt or nonwoven
interfacing, is different than cutting paper, practice on some scraps of
material before you cut the fabric for the case. You will have the best
cut edge if you open the shears wide and take long even strokes in
cutting. Do not close the points of the shears until you reach the end
of the pattern or the material. Cut the piece of fabric along the marked


                       Mark the hem on section A

A hem (material folded back on itself) is needed on the top edge of
Section A to make the top strong enough so it will not tear when the
shears are slipped into the pocket.

    [Illustration: Section A, ½ inch]

Measure ½ inch from the top edge of section A. Mark with pins. Then fold
the edge down so the pins lie on the outside of the fold. Press a fold
along the pins. Ask your leader to show you how to press with a steam
iron or a pressing cloth.

    [Illustration: Press QUICKLY: Material SCORCHES Easily!]

You have learned to stitch straight by following a line. When you stitch
this hem your presser foot _not the needle_ will follow a line. Place
your material under the presser foot with the cut edge touching the
inside edge of the toe of the presser foot. Your leader will show you
how this is done.

    [Illustration: {Sewing hem}]

  Use 8 Stitches per inch
  _Outside_ edge of toe runs along cut edge

You may want to practice before stitching the hem into this part of your
shears case. Look back to page 10 if you have forgotten how to start and
end a line of stitching.

    [Illustration: Cut the flap as illustrated]

                      Shape the flap of section B

In order to neatly fold the top of section B over the shears, and also
to make the shears case more interesting, cut the flap as shown above.

Measure ½ inch from the sides of fabric piece B—points a and b. Then
measure 2 inches from the top of section B—points c and d.

Using a ruler, draw a straight line between points a and c and points b
and d. Cut along a-c and b-d with long, even strokes.

                      Mark the pocket on section A

Fold section A in half. Carefully put pins into the fold to mark the
center. Fold the pocket pattern, which you cut earlier, in half. Place
the center crease of the pocket pattern on the pins marking the center
of section A.

The top edge of the pattern should be even with hemline (folded edge) of
section A.

Open the pocket pattern and pin it in place. Measure the distance
between the paper pattern and the outer edge of section A at the top and
bottom of the pattern.

Trace around the pattern with tailor’s chalk or your tailor’s pencil.
Keep the chalk line very sharp, because you will be using it as a guide
for stitching the pocket.

    [Illustration: {Pattern}]

                     Get the pocket ready to stitch

To make the pocket, you will be stitching section A and section B
together. Since two thicknesses of fabric are more bulky than a single
thickness, it will be necessary to learn how to pin them together so
they will not slip when you are stitching them.

Place section A over section B with cut edges of lower corners and side
edges matching. The hem should be folded to the inside and chalk
markings to the outside.

Pin the two pieces together with the points of the pins directed to the
side edges of the case.


                       Machine stitch the pocket

Adjust the stitch regulator to 8 stitches per inch. Lower the needle on
the stitched hemline of section A. Lower the presser foot after the
threads have been drawn between the toes to the back of the machine.

Backstitch until the needle pierces folded edge, or knot the thread
according to directions on page 21. Then adjust the stitch regulator to
forward motion.

Stitch following the line you have marked, stitching on it as much as
possible. Apply little pressure onto the knee lever or foot pedal so the
machine will not move too fast.

When you reach the point of the pocket, lower the needle into the point
of material, raise the presser foot, turn the material around, lower the
presser foot again, and stitch to the next point. The presser foot needs
to be raised and lowered in this manner each time you want to turn a

    [Illustration: {Presser foot}]

Stitch to the fold of the hem. When you reach the fold, backstitch to
the stitching line of the hem.

With your small scissors clip the threads close to the stitching line.

                     Sew sections A and B together

The side seams of the case must still be stitched together. This is done
on the outside of the case.

    [Illustration: {Case with side seams}]

Place your shears case under the presser foot so that the cut edges are
even with the outside of the narrow toe. Start stitching in the hem of
section A.

    [Illustration: Watch your presser foot when you sew!]

When you reach each corner remember to turn your wheel by _hand_ so the
needle goes into the material at the exact turning point. Turn corner as
you learned on page 16. Do not try to use the electricity when reaching
or turning corners until you know how to use the machine as easily and
as accurately as your mother or leader.

After you have stitched around the entire case, sew over the first
stitches you made in the hem.

Clip the threads short. (Are you remembering to put the clipped threads
into the paper bag fastened to your machine?)

                Change the top of section B into a flap

In order to keep the upper part of section B in a folded position so it
will keep the shears in the pocket, you need to add one more row of

Slip the shears into the pocket of the case. Then turn section B down
over the shears to find the best place to fold the flap. Mark the fold
with a pin.

Remove the shears and fold the flap on the empty case. Measure the
distance from the fold to the cut edge in several places, to be sure it
is folded evenly. Then press the fold lightly and pin into position.

    [Illustration: {Case with pinned flap}]

Machine stitch ⅛ inch from the fold of the flap, backstitching up to the
stitching line, and then moving forward.

Clip your threads closely, remove pins, and you have completed your
first project!

How to make your case colorful

Now that you have learned to measure and to use your sewing machine
accurately, you will find a great deal of enjoyment in combining thread
of a color contrasting with your material. Stitching then becomes a
decoration. If you are really able to stitch straight, stitch each
pocket twice—each row ⅛ inch apart, or the width of the presser foot

    [Illustration: Colored Thread]

You have a pattern and have learned how simple it is to make this handy
case. Why not make a few more for gifts?

You could please your mother, or some of your friends, if you made a
case for their shears, too.

Barbecue placemats or traveling kit   This project will give you more
practice in using the parts of the sewing machine you have learned to
use in making your shears case. You may choose to make either placemats
or a traveling kit or both. The materials and supplies used for each are
the same, and most of the stitching is the same. But the number and size
of pockets, as well as the use of the article are different. Your
bulletin shows you how to make the pockets for each article.

Barbecue placemats

When rolled and tied barbecue placemats are easy carryalls for napkins
and silverware for a barbecue meal. When open, they are placemats.

    [Illustration: {Barbecue placemats}]

Traveling kit

A traveling kit will hold some of the articles you need in order to be
well groomed when you visit your friends—your toothbrush, toothpaste,
comb, hairbrush, hand lotion, kleenex, etc. Or it can be used to hold
some of the supplies you need to keep your clothes well groomed when you
are traveling, such as a clothes brush, shoe polish, and shoe brush.

    [Illustration: {Traveling kit}]

                          What you will learn

  • To choose and match pretty colors.
  • To do some hand basting.
  • To stitch a seam.
  • To top-stitch (stitching one piece of material on top of another).
  • To stitch straight by following a line in the design of the

                         What you will do first

You will need to go shopping with your mother to buy the towels,
washcloths, shoestrings, and thread.

    [Illustration: Will this color look nice with Mother’s dishes?]

Two plain-colored, terry cloth finger towels.

    [Illustration: Does one color MATCH your towel?]

One striped or checked washcloth (the design will be your guide in

    [Illustration: Does their color MATCH a color in The WASH CLOTH?]

One pair of plain colored shoestrings—27 inches long.

Two spools of thread; 1 to match stripes and shoestrings and 1 to match
the towels.

You will also need these tools from your sewing box:

    Large shears
    Pins and pincushion
    Paper bag
    21-inch ruler

Take another good peek at what your placemat will look like when you are
finished (page 18). In order to clearly show how you will stitch the
washcloth to the towel, a plain washcloth is used in the illustrations
instead of a checked or striped one like you will be using in your

                        Start with the washcloth

_Fold_ the washcloth _in half_ with the stripes running up and down.
Then _pin the open edges together_ with 3 or 4 pins.

    [Illustration: FOLD and CUT]

Use shears to cut through the fold of the washcloth to cut it in half.
(Your leader will show you how to handle the shears so that you can take
long, even cutting strokes.)

    [Illustration: PIN, FOLD, CUT EDGE, PIN]

Fold each half washcloth again to find the center. Mark the center with
a pin at the cut edge and on the hem edge.

                          Get the towels ready

Find the center of the towels by folding each in half—crosswise and
right side out. (If you do not recognize the right side of the towel,
ask your leader to help you.)

    [Illustration: Are you working on the RIGHT SIDE of the towel?]

Mark the center of each towel with pins, as you did the washcloth. But
since the towel is bigger than the washcloth, you will need at least
three pins on the fold to mark the center line. Also insert a row of
pins on the right side of the towel, ½ inch from the lower hem of the

                  Sew the washcloth and towel together

Find the place for the washcloth on the towel by matching the center of
the washcloth with the center of the towel. Then bring the cut edge of
the washcloth up to the row of pins.

Pin the washcloth in place as shown in the illustration. Sew a
hand-basting stitch along the hem of the towel to hold the washcloth in
place when stitching it with the sewing machine. Since many of you have
never sewn by hand, your leader will give you a special demonstration on
how to thread the needle and baste. Try to keep the stitches about ¼
inch in length.

    [Illustration: Are the MARGINS even?]

Stitch the washcloth to the towel from the wrong side of the towel. You
will be making a ¼ inch seam, or you might stitch just to the inside of
the hem. Your leader will show you where your stitching line looks best.

Adjust the stitch regulator to sew backward. If your sewing machine
cannot be adjusted to go in reverse, raise your presser foot slightly
above the fabric at the edge of the washcloth and take 4 or 5 stitches.
The fabric will not move but the thread will become knotted and

    [Illustration: Backstitch to edge of Washcloth; 12 STITCHES per

Lower the needle into the towel at a point ¼ inch from the side hem of
the washcloth. Keep both threads to the back of the presser foot. Then
lower the presser foot.

Start to use the machine by turning the fly wheel by hand until the
needle reaches the edge of the washcloth. Adjust the stitch regulator so
the machine will sew forward again—12 stitches per inch. Stitch (using
electricity) until you reach the other side of the washcloth.

Readjust the regulator for backstitching, and hand turn the flywheel as
you did on the other side of the seam, or if you do not have this
regulator, again raise the presser foot very slightly and turn the
flywheel 4 or 5 stitches to knot the thread.

                     Sew pockets into the washcloth

Fold the washcloth up onto the towel, hiding the seam which you just
finished. Pin the washcloth in place, as shown in the illustration.

    [Illustration: ARE YOUR MARGINS EVEN?]

Stitch the side edges into place. If the hem on the washcloth is heavy,
ask your leader to show you how to stitch just inside the hem to avoid
bulk. If the hem is not heavy, stitch close to the edge by having the
edge of the washcloth follow along the inside edge of the presser foot.

    [Illustration: Backstitch]

Pockets for the placemat or traveling kit are made by stitching the
washcloth to the towel as shown in the illustration below.

    [Illustration: Towel; Pockets in Washcloth]

To make the placemat, place a napkin, knife, fork, and spoon on the
washcloth to give you an idea about the size of the pockets needed.

To make the traveling kit, choose the articles you would like to take
and place them on the placemat.

Choose the stripes or checks nearest to the size pocket needed for each
article; they will be your guide for stitching. Pin the washcloth to the
towel along these stripes to make the pockets which you will stitch
later. Slip the articles you want them to hold into the pockets to be
sure you have left enough room for them. If everything slips into
position easily, you are ready to sew. If not, the pockets can be made
bigger by moving the pins to another stripe.

When you have decided which stripe you will use for each pocket, begin
by backstitching at the lower seam and stitch up to the top of the
washcloth. Backstitch again. One—two—three rows of stitching—and your
pockets are finished!

                      Attach the tie to the towel

If the shoestring is very different in color from the towel, change the
spool of thread to the color which matches the shoestring. Fold the
shoestring in half. Pin the midpoint of the string to the towel at the
point marked in the picture.

    [Illustration: {Wrong Side of towel}]

Fasten the string with very small stitches, by sewing back and forth
across the width. Then clip threads close to the stitching line.

    [Illustration: Towel]

                          Finish your project

If you made a placemat insert a napkin, knife, fork, and spoon into the
pockets. Or if you made a traveling kit, put your toilet articles or
brushes in the pockets. Fold the upper edge down to cover the items.
Then roll up the towel from the right to the left. Wrap the shoestring
around it and tie it into a pretty bow. Your simple towel, washcloth,
and shoestring have changed into _barbecue placemats_ ... or a useful
_traveling kit_!

    [Illustration: {Rolled towel}]

                       Complete your record book

Your record book is important. Examine it carefully. As a first year
member, you have just started to build a 4-H record. Each year your
record book adds a new chapter to your 4-H club story. Are you proud of
your record book?

                   Show others what you have learned

Displays   Invite your friends and neighbors to see what you have made.
Be sure your articles are clean and well-pressed and that they look as
nice as you can make them.

Demonstrations   A demonstration means “to show someone else how to do
something.” Choose one special thing you have learned and use it for
your demonstration.

Here are a few suggestions:

    How to use the shears to cut smooth, even edges
    How to use pins, a pincushion, and a thimble
    How to make a divided sewing box
    How to start, stop, and control the speed of the sewing machine
    How to guide material through the machine
    How to use the stitch regulator
    How to stitch straight (following a line or the presser foot)
    How to develop good sewing habits
    How to measure with a seam gauge or ruler
    How to press with a steam iron
    How to make a hem
    How to turn a corner during stitching
    How to match colors in materials and thread
    How to hand baste
    How to top-stitch

                  Are you ready for the next project?

    ........ Have you learned the parts of the sewing machine and how to
          use them?
    ........ Have you been careful of your personal grooming?
    ........ Have you studied and improved your posture?
    ........ Have you made two or more articles using the sewing
    ........ Have you kept your record book up to date?

  I pledge ...
    my HEAD to clearer thinking
    my HEART to greater loyalty
    my HANDS to larger service
    my HEALTH to better living
    for my club, my community, and my country.
    to make the best better

  Cooperative Extension work in Agriculture and Home Economics, F. E.
  Price, director, Oregon State University and the United States
  Department of Agriculture cooperating. Printed and distributed in
  furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914.

                                                     20M—September 1961.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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