Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Fabric selection
 Garment selection
 Dress construction
 Clothing costs

Title: Clothing
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00024818/00001
 Material Information
Title: Clothing
Series Title: Clothing
Alternate Title: Bulletin 74 ; Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Hill, Grace Baker.
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1933
Copyright Date: 1933
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00024818
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aab7658 - LTQF
amt7044 - LTUF
43536046 - OCLC
002570731 - AlephBibNum


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Fabric selection
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Garment selection
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Dress construction
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Clothing costs
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
Full Text

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)





Bulletins will be sent free upon application to the

Bulletin 74

March, 1933

P. K. YONGE, Chairman, Pensacola
A. H. BLENDING, Tampa'
FRANK J. WIDEMAN, West Palm Beach
GEO. H. BALDWIN, Jacksonville
J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee


JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President of the University
WILMON NEWELL, D.Sc., Director
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Vice-Director and County Agent Leader
R. M. FULGHUM, B.S.A., Assistant Editor
E. F. STANTON, Supervisor, Egg-Laying Contest

W. T. NETTLES, B.S., District Agent
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., District Agent, Organization and Outlook Specialist
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent and Agronomist
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
HAMLIN L. BROWN, B.S., Dairyman
E. F. DEBUSK, B.S., Citriculturist
N. R. MEHRHOF, M. AGR., Poultryman
WALTER J. SHEELY, B.S., Agent in Animal Husbandry1
J; E. TURLINGTON, Ph.D., Agricultural Economist2
FRANK W. BRUMLEY, M.S.A., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
W. R. BRIGGS, B.S.A., Assistant Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
D. E. TIMMONS, M.S.A., Agricultural Economist, Marketing
CARLYLE CARR, B.S., Specialist in Rodent Control1

LUCY BELLE SETTLE, B.S., District Agent
RUBY MCDAVID, District Agent
MARY E. KEOWN, M.S., District Agent
VIRGINIA P. MOORE, Home Improvement Agent
ISABELLE S. THURSBY, Economist in Food Conservation
ANNA MAE SIKES, B.S., Nutritionist

A. A. TURNER, Local District Agent
ROSA J. BALLARD, Local District Home Demonstration Agent

lIn cooperation with U. S. D. A.


I. INTRODUCTION .............................................. 5

II. FABRIC SELECTION ............................................ 5
A. Durability ......................................... 5
B. Texture ............................................. 10
C. Color ........................................ ... 12
D. Textile Design ...................................... 14

III. GARMENT SELECTION ........................................ 21
A. Factor of Personality ...... ........................... 21
B. Factor of Physical Characteristics....................... 23

IV. GARMENT CONSTRUCTION ..................................... 28
A. Fitting of Patterns ................................... 28
B. Dress Form s ......................................... 28
C. Fitting of Garments .................................. 29
D. Finishes .......................................... 30
E. Standards of Dress ................................... 31

v. CLOTHING COSTS ............................................. 33

VI. APPENDIX ................................................. 34
A Score Card .......................................... 34
B. Illustrative Material .................................. 35
C. Selected References ................................... 36

The problem of the selection of clothing is much broader today
than it was even a few years ago. We have many fabrics from
which to choose and frequently we must select fabrics with which
we have had no previous experience. Even if we have used
materials of similar appearance we can not be sure that they were
identical in fiber and construction. There are many new fibers
and yarns used in fabrics and many old ones used under new
names. We hear much of standard brands and guarantees, but
most of these are still in the experimental stages and may mean
little or much by way of consumer protection.
From the standpoint of design and color we have a bewildering
range of choice. Design quality must be considered in relation to
personality, coloring, texture, current style and occasions for
which the garment is to be worn. The choice of color presents a
similar range of problems if the garment is to be satisfactory.
Selection of dress designs is complicated by the fact that we must
usually make our choice on the basis of fashion pictures so dis-
torted that they bear little resemblance to the average human
figure. It is hard to translate the appearance of a fashion sketch
or mannikin in terms of our own relatively shorter and wider
In the search for things that are different the designers, par-
ticularly those who design inexpensive patterns and garments,
often introduce meaningless and undesirable details to vary a com-
mon design. In our search for the unusual we must be careful to
avoid useless and ugly features added to garments simply for the
sake of variety.
In garment construction, standards have changed greatly in re-
cent years. Form-fitting garments have caused the elimination
of many seam and edge finishes and the introduction of others
more in keeping with the general design. Changes in style also
bring changes in standards and methods of fitting garments.
These are a few of the new problems confronting the person
who selects or constructs garments for herself and her family.
It is hoped that this bulletin may be of value in helping to solve
some of the problems suggested.

In choosing a fabric for any given purpose, fiber, construction
and color or decoration probably will need to be considered. Some-

The problem of the selection of clothing is much broader today
than it was even a few years ago. We have many fabrics from
which to choose and frequently we must select fabrics with which
we have had no previous experience. Even if we have used
materials of similar appearance we can not be sure that they were
identical in fiber and construction. There are many new fibers
and yarns used in fabrics and many old ones used under new
names. We hear much of standard brands and guarantees, but
most of these are still in the experimental stages and may mean
little or much by way of consumer protection.
From the standpoint of design and color we have a bewildering
range of choice. Design quality must be considered in relation to
personality, coloring, texture, current style and occasions for
which the garment is to be worn. The choice of color presents a
similar range of problems if the garment is to be satisfactory.
Selection of dress designs is complicated by the fact that we must
usually make our choice on the basis of fashion pictures so dis-
torted that they bear little resemblance to the average human
figure. It is hard to translate the appearance of a fashion sketch
or mannikin in terms of our own relatively shorter and wider
In the search for things that are different the designers, par-
ticularly those who design inexpensive patterns and garments,
often introduce meaningless and undesirable details to vary a com-
mon design. In our search for the unusual we must be careful to
avoid useless and ugly features added to garments simply for the
sake of variety.
In garment construction, standards have changed greatly in re-
cent years. Form-fitting garments have caused the elimination
of many seam and edge finishes and the introduction of others
more in keeping with the general design. Changes in style also
bring changes in standards and methods of fitting garments.
These are a few of the new problems confronting the person
who selects or constructs garments for herself and her family.
It is hoped that this bulletin may be of value in helping to solve
some of the problems suggested.

In choosing a fabric for any given purpose, fiber, construction
and color or decoration probably will need to be considered. Some-

6 Florida Cooperative Extension

times fibers may be recognized by appearance, but adulteration
and imitation are common enough to make this practice unsafe.
Often sales people are not informed as to the goods they handle,
and so their opinions are not always reliable. Simple tests are
useful in identifying some of the textile fibers. In general we
may confuse wool with cotton, cotton with linen, and rayon with
silk. Both animal and vegetable fibers may be recognized by
means of the burning test. Wool, which is an animal fiber, burns
slowly, forming a bead-like ash and giving off strong odor. Cotton,
which is vegetable in origin, burns freely with little ash. The
odor is that of burned paper. Linen is a vegetable fiber and burns
in much the same manner as cotton. A microscopic examination
of fibers is the only accurate method of distinguishing between
cotton and linen. Household tests using water or oil are so inac-
curate as to be of little value.
Wool and silk burn alike but are easily recognized because of
differences in texture and luster. We can distinguish between
silk and rayon by the burning test. Pure silk when burned forms
the bead-like ash characteristic of animal fibers. One type of
rayon, known chemically as regenerated cellulose rayon, burns
like cotton. The other type, which is cellulose acetate rayon, fuses
into a hard rubber-like mass and gives off a faintly sour odor.
Both varieties are sold under various trade names. The regener-
ated cellulose rayons can be laundered in much the same manner
as cotton. They are not chemically affected by boiling or strong
soaps but are so easily laundered that these are usually not needed.
All rayons lose tensile strength when wet and so can not be rubbed
or twisted without damaging the fabric. Cellulose acetate rayons
melt at a comparatively low temperature and so can not be ironed
with a very hot iron. They also dissolve in some solvents used
by dry cleaners and should be labeled with the brand name before
they are sent to be cleaned. This often prevents injury to the
Many silks on the market will not burn in the fashion described
above but will turn either black or white and hold their original
shape after burning. This is due to the presence of metal weight-
ing in the fabric. Weighting consists usually of either iron or tin
salts which are introduced to add to the appearance of the fabric
and to decrease the amount of silk needed. Weighting improves
the texture and draping quality of silk but shortens its period of
use. The amount of silk present may be very small compared to
the finished weight of the fabric. Also, the chemical action of
the metal on the silk causes splitting. This action is increased by


washing, sunlight, perspiration, sea water, and sea air. Weight-
ing, if present in large quantities, may destroy the silk very rapid-
ly. There are no generally accepted standards of amounts of
weighting and no system of labels for the consumer. The label
"pure dye silk" is accepted to mean that no weighting is present
in the fabric.
In selecting fabrics and garments the woman who is buying on
an economy basis needs to consider the foregoing points as well
as many others. Questions which she asks herself should include
the following: How long will the garment wear? Will the seams
slip ? Will it wrinkle or crush easily? Are the colors fast to sun,
washing, and perspiration? Will it shrink? Can spots be re-
moved at home?*
Many of these questions can be answered by a careful exam-
ination of the fabric. Details of construction which may injure
the wearing quality of fabrics are quite easy to recognize. Some
weaves of cloth are, in the nature of their construction, less dur-
able than others of the same general quality. Cord weave is
usually, other things being equal, not very durable. It may be
recognized by the presence of large yarns or groups of yarns which
give the fabric its characteristic texture. These cords are cov-
ered by fine yarns running in the opposite direction. Fabrics
which are cord woven tend to slip in the direction of the cords.
This slippage is more pronounced if the cords are in the crosswise
direction of the fabric. Also the heavy cords tend to cut or wear
away the finer yarns which cross them. Cord weaves are exam-
ples of poor fabric balance. The tensile strength in the direction
of the cord is frequently two or three times that of the opposite
direction. A well-balanced fabric should have yarns similar in
size, strength and number, or an equivalent number of yarns with
not very great difference in strength. For these reasons cord
woven fabrics, although attractive in appearance, are often not
the most practical materials to buy. Figure 1 shows a cord woven
fabric of rayon and cotton at the end of three months of wear.
. Skips or floats, resulting when one yarn or group of yarns is
carried over several opposite yarns to produce a certain texture or
luster, are defects from the standpoint of durability. These are
found most frequently in figure weaves, steep twills, satins, and
basket weaves. If the floats are long they catch and pull, spoiling
the appearance of the fabric and often causing breaks or holes.
If the fabric is washed roughly, broken and slipped yarns soon
mar the beauty of the surface.
*From Tex-Style Monthly Digest, January, 1932, page 2.

Florida Cooperative Extension


Fig. 1.-Dress made of cord woven rayon and cotton fabric, after three
months' use.
Cut pile fabrics such as velvets, velveteens, and corduroys often
shed pile on account of being poorly constructed. To be durable
a pile fabric should have, first of all, a firmly constructed back.
Loose weaving of the cloth will cause pile yarns to slip out of the
fabrics. Some pile fabrics have the pile yarns woven in, in the
shape of the letter U, others in the shape of the letter W. The
U-shaped yarns slip out more easily than the W-shaped ones be-
cause they have less interlacing with the yarns of the back. The
type of pile yarns can be determined by pulling out a yarn and
examining it on a surface of contrasting color.
Crepe fabrics frequently slip in the direction of the filling yarns.


This may be due in part to a cord construction as was mentioned
before. The most common cause is insufficient yarns in either
the warp or the filling direction. Loose weaving permits the yarns
to slip. Yarns made from smooth fibers such as silk or rayon
slip more readily than those made from cotton, wool, or linen;
but any fabric may be firm if it is well balanced and tightly con-
structed. Fabrics should be examined for balance and for close-
ness of weave. A sample of cloth may be tested for slippage by
pulling it in each direction.
Color fastness of fabrics has been increased greatly in recent
years. Today most fabrics carry a color fast guarantee of some
sort. Guarantees may cover fastness to sunlight, fastness to
washing or to boiling, and fastness to perspiration, or they may
cover all these points. It is well to notice what the guarantee
covers. Frequently one finds on the market color fast guarantees
with no trade name given. These may be regarded with some
doubt, as the guarantee as such is worth nothing. Local stores
often make good any complaints on such fabrics, but it is much
.better for the complaint to go back to the maker of the goods.
Only as defects are called to the attention of the producer can we
hope to see the quality of goods on the market improve.
We have on the market today a few fabrics guaranteed not to
shrink. Many fabrics, however, have no such guarantees and the
purchaser is expected to take the risk. Some fabrics, such as
crepes and mesh materials, tend to shrink with every laundering
but usually can be stretched back to the original size. In general,
fabrics of loose or crepe-like construction will shrink more than
firmly constructed fabrics. Causes of shrinkage are not entirely
understood, but in firmly constructed cloths there is no reason
why we should not have shrinkage guarantees. The manufac-
turer will pre-shrink and label goods if his consumers demand it.
At present washable yard goods should be thoroughly wet and
then ironed before the garments are made. Most wool fabrics
should be steamed and pressed. Except for wash silks, shrinking
for silk fabrics is not recommended, as it often damages the ap-
pearance of the fabrics.
Crushing and wrinkling of fabrics is of importance to the busy
woman. Linen is outstanding as a fabric which crushes easily.
Cotton is more satisfactory for many uses, as it wrinkles less than
linen. Rayon is similar to linen in that it requires much pressing.
Crepe fabrics in general crush less than fabrics made of less
tightly twisted yarns. Fabrics which will crush when worn may

Florida Cooperative Extension

be creased easily with the fingers. Pile fabrics almost always
crush and so require more care than flat woven materials.
Surface finishes of various kinds may mislead the purchaser of
fabrics. Starch and other dressings are often used to improve the
appearance of cotton cloth. The presence of these materials may
be recognized if one rubs the fabric between the hands. The
dressing is removed and the fabric looks thin and rough. Moir6
effects are made by pressing the design into the fabric. Silk or
regenerated cellulose rayon fabrics are undesirable because the
moire pattern disappears after the fabric has been wet or after
it has been steamed and pressed. Cellulose acetate rayons are
the only materials which will hold a permanent moire finish. This
is due to the low melting point of acetate yarns.
Imitations of dotted Swiss fabrics and fabrics with embroidered
patterns are made by applying a paste or felt mixture to the ma-
terial in dots or other designs. These may be permanent or tem-
porary, according to the materials and processes used. In general
these fabrics are undesirable because they are cheaper imitations
of more expensive goods. The large dots usually split and come.
off of the fabric. The small dots are frequently quite fast. In
any case, the dots are difficult to sew through with a sewing ma-
chine. Silk fabrics are frequently dressed to improve their ap-
pearance. These dressings may cause the fabrics to water spot.
Fabrics may be tested by wetting a small spot and allowing it to
dry. If a circle is left on the fabric it is an indication of the pres-
ence of dressing. If the circle can not be removed by rubbing the
material it shows the presence of a dressing which can be removed
only by laundering or repeated dry cleaning. Such a fabric, if it
is not washable, will add greatly to one's bills for dry cleaning.
The question of durability of fabrics is far from being solved
by the suggestions just given. New problems are being encoun-
tered continually when purchasing fabrics. The only permanent
and satisfactory solution probably lies in standardization and
certification of fabrics. A few small beginnings have been made
along the line of standardization. Home economics-trained women
have been back of the standards promulgated or suggested. Fur-
ther advances can not be made until the consumer feels her need
of definite purchasing information for textiles and makes that
need felt by the producers and sellers of goods.
Garments, to be attractive, must be selected with careful con-
sideration of texture and color. The texture of any garment
should be consistent with the wearer, the design, the color and the


occasion or season for which it is to be worn. Very fine, dainty
fabrics may be worn best by a person having a very fine, dainty
skin. Roughness, lines or discolorations of the complexion will
be exaggerated by contrast with the material. Sheer velvets,
silk voiles, organdies and other fine smooth fabrics are difficult
for the older women to use. Dull crepes or materials with linen
finishes as well as those with irregularities introduced by pattern
are much more becoming to the person of average complexion and
texture of hair than are the fabrics just mentioned.
The texture of the fabric should also be consistent with the de-
sign of the dress. Soft spongy fabrics can never be kept in smart,
tailored lines. Fabrics with tightly twisted filling yarns will hold
pleats while those made with loosely spun yarns will always look
unpressed. Very loosely constructed fabrics will continue to sag
or stretch if cut on circular or bias lines.
Lustrous satins have a texture quite difficult for many women
to wear. The smoothness of the fabric will accentuate any facial
defects, while the high luster tends to make an older face look
hard and unpleasing. The luster will also increase the apparent
size of a large figure and call especial attention to large bust or
hips. For an extremely thin figure a satin will often accent the
lack of curves and make the wearer look even thinner. Satin cos-
tumes are made more wearable for the average person if the
fabric does not come close to the face. A low neckline or con-
trasting collar or yoke often makes the fabric more becoming.
Texture and color should be consistent in a fabric. Rough
tweeds and linens as well as rough sports crepes are not consistent
with very dainty colors. Pastel colors are deadened and faded
in appearance in these fabrics, while strong colors are subdued
and keyed together when developed in rough texture. Sports
fabrics should suggest sturdiness in their texture. Some ex-
amples of desirable textures for this purpose are tweeds, suitings,
flannels, ratines, linens and crepes. Fabrics for dress wear may
be either dainty or sumptuous in quality, according to the per-
sonality of the wearer. Wrong choice of texture can detract
greatly from the beauty and utility of a garment. The texture
of accessories such as hat, bag, shoes, gloves, and furs also must
be considered if the assembled costume is to be effective. Care-
fully planned contrast in textures will add interest to a garment,
just as contrast in color may relieve the monotony of an otherwise
analogous color scheme.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Color and line are the two outstanding features of any garment.
The selection and combination of colors is at once difficult and
fascinating. Individual preferences and characteristics as well
as the texture, line and design of a fabric will affect the choice
of color. Care must be taken not to allow unreasonable prejudices
against certain hues or unreasonable preferences for certain hues
to govern one's selection of colors. Most people have decided
views as to the colors they can or can not wear. It is well to
keep in mind that no one person can successfully wear all values
and intensities of any hue and almost any one can wear some
variations of any hue. We should not be too limited in our choice
of colors. While it is true that a consistent color scheme is nec-
essary in order to build an efficient and economical wardrobe, it
is also true that an occasional "new" color introduced is a pleasant
change for both wearer and observer.
Time changes greatly the hues, values and intensities we can
wear. In general, as a person grows older her color scheme of
eyes, hair, and complexion becomes somewhat grayed. Less in-
tense colors are needed in the garments to keep the clothing as a
background for the wearer. Shades of red, yellow, brown, and
henna are almost universally unbecoming with gray hair. If
these have been becoming colors it is often hard to realize that
a complete change has occurred. Dainty colors becoming to the
young girl may be quite unattractive when worn by the mature
woman. A good method of selecting colors is to try the effect
of colored fabrics of different textures in a good light. The
wearer should not trust entirely to her own judgment but should
have the assistance of several other people.
Hues, values and intensities of colors must be selected in re-
lation to the amount of color to be used. Colors are classed as
warm or cold, or as advancing or receding, according to hue. Red,
yellow and orange are warm or advancing colors, while blue, green
and purple are receding colors. Warm colors are cheerful in ef-
fect but often make an object appear larger than it is. Cool
colors are quite in effect and tend to make an object look smaller
than it is. For over-size figures the range of cool colors contains
the best possibilities. Small areas of warm colors may be intro-
duced to add interest to the costume. A successful costume can
not be made of approximately equal amounts of warm and cool
colors. The color scheme must be dominated by one type and may
be accented by the other.
The brightness or dullness of a color often determines its use-


fulness in costume. According to the "law of areas," large areas
should be dull in color and the smaller the area the more intense
the color which may be used in it. This law applies either to the
entire costume or to decoration on a costume. Middle values,
those neither very dark nor very light, blend best with the general
background and therefore attract less attention to the size of
an object.
There are many things in combinations of colors which should
be considered. An accent color should be repeated more than once
in a costume or the effect will be that of an accidental spot rather
than of a decoration. The decoration should form a logical part
of the costume. Colors which are close together on the color
wheel are easiest to combine, but the results may be monotonous
if no note of contrast is introduced. This contrast may be black,
white or a complementary color.
The primary colors may be thought of as arranged at the points
of an equilateral triangle. They are red, yellow, and blue. These
colors are not related and are difficult to use together. They are
also rather uninteresting and fairly harsh if used pure. By com-
bining these colors in pairs we get orange from red and yellow,
green from yellow and blue, and purple from blue and red. These
are called secondary colors and each has one parent color in com-
mon with each other color. Therefore, they are easier to combine
than are the primary colors and are more interesting. Secondary
colors may be combined further to form still other colors. These
are red orange, yellow orange, yellow green, blue green, blue violet,
and red violet. Since each of these hues is made by the combina-
tion of several colors, they are subtle and interesting and are quite
easy to use in combinations. They may also vary greatly in hue
if different proportions of color are used to make them.
Colors may be combined, as we have said, with those coming
next to them on the scale. They may also be combined with their
complementary color, which is the color directly opposite on the
color wheel as, for example, blue green may be combined with
red orange in the proper proportions. Two adjacent colors may be
combined with their complements in one color scheme. A color
may be combined with the two colors which go to make up its
complement or any three colors at equal distances from each
other on the wheel may be used as triads.
The rules governing the combination of colors are too compli-
cated to be taken in detail in a work of this kind. Perhaps the
most successful method for the untrained person to use in com-
bining colors is to analyze a beautiful and suitable color scheme

Florida Cooperative Extension

in a picture or fabric and use its plan as a basis for her color
scheme. A study of color will be of value to every woman. The
revised edition of Art in Every Day Life, by Harriet and Vetta
Goldstein, is a practical volume for further study.

In choosing the fabric for a dress one must determine the rela-
tive merits of plain or figured materials for her particular purpose.
Some of the points discussed here may be of help in making the
decision. For formal occasions plain fabrics are always a better
choice than patterned ones, because they are more dignified in
appearance. They also stress beauty of line which should be a
characteristic of formal dress. Plain fabrics are of course suit-
able for all occasions and are comparatively easy to choose well.
The complications which arise when we consider pattern, as well
as color, texture, and durability, are avoided by using plain color
materials. A good quality fabric shows its beauty of texture in a
plain color, while in a patterned material this beauty usually is
not seen. A solid color garment displays good structural lines
and good workmanship to the best advantage. Of course, the
reverse of this also is true. Figured fabrics are often easily
recognized as belonging to a past season if the garment is worn
longer than one year. Both the wearer and the beholder tire
quickly of a pronounced fabric design. In general, we may say
that for the sake of dignity, ease of choice, distinction and prac-
ticality, plain fabrics often are the best choice for dress materials.
However, patterned fabrics have a place in our wardrobes. For
summer use, dainty patterns often are cool and attractive in ap-
pearance. For general wear, a dark print in a small all-over de-
sign is very satisfactory. An occasional printed fabric adds in-
terest to the wardrobe. Often a two-color print will permit varia-
tion in the use of accessories. This is one way of getting variety
with a limited number of clothes.
In selecting plain fabrics the suggestions concerning texture
and color already given will be of value. For patterned material
these must be considered, but design quality is of importance also.
Pattern in fabric may be produced by figure weaving, embroidery,
dyeing or printing. Figure weaves and embroidery have the ad-
vantage of having interesting texture as well as design. Some
fabrics of these types are successfully used for formal wear along
with the plain colored materials. Fiber dyed, yarn dyed, or printed
materials are usually best suited for street, sports or informal


Much might be said as to the history of textile designs, but
from a practical viewpoint we may classify patterns as variations
of the stripe or plaid, of the polka dot, or of some floral designs.
A few fabrics show pictorial decorations such as landscapes, ar-
chitectural elements, or human or animal figures. In general
these are not suited to garment construction and so will not be
considered here.
Stripes or plaids are geometric in form. They often mark off
very definite areas on the fabric and so accentuate either large-
ness or smallness of the wearer. The effect of the fabric is not
good if the eye is led restlessly back and forth or up and down
by the design. The general belief is that lengthwise stripes will
lengthen and slenderize a heavy figure. In actual practice this
usually is not true, as there may be a crosswise eye movement from
stripe to stripe which accentuates width and shortness instead.

Fig. 2.-Left: A poor design in a plaid pattern; right: an interesting
variation of a diagonal plaid design.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Stripes are uninteresting if they are made up of equal widths of
two or more colors or if one stripe is exactly two or three times
the width of another. Interesting variations in widths and good
color combination are necessary if a striped fabric is desirable
for general use. Diagonal stripes are often pleasing if of good
Plaids are fabrics striped on both warp and filling direction.
The simplest form of plaid pattern has blocks of different hues or
values in squares or rectangles. These may be small or -large.
The large designs are usually rather spotty and monotonous.
Those with rectangular blocks are more interesting than those
made up of squares. Small plaids often give an intermingled
effect of dark and light which makes a pleasing variation of an


I' .4

a 4

Fig. 3.-A restless and uninteresting polka dot pattern.

I;p.r .-1'i


all-over pattern. Interesting plaids have considerable variation
in color or value and have long, slender rectangles or are diagonal
instead of running on the lines of warp and filling. Plaid designs,
unless very small, complicate the cutting and putting together of
a garment. It is difficult to make the checks fit together at side
seams or come together in any regular fashion. Many plaids are
not the same at the upper and lower edges of the check and so
have a definite up and down direction which must be considered
in cutting a dress. Figure 2 shows a poor and a good plaid design.
Polka dot patterns are usually poor in design. While they are
abstract and formal in shape, it is difficult to construct either an
interesting or connected design using them. Large dots placed

Fig. 4.-Rose design which is angular and lacks unity.

Florida Cooperative Extension

at regular intervals on a fabric appear as isolated spots instead of
a design as the eye is not led from one to the other. Width of
figure is accentuated as the dots and spaces suggest units of
measurement. Good polka dot patterns must have interesting
space relations, the dots must be close enough to form an all-over
effect, and there must not be too much color contrast between dot
and background. Very small dots are dainty and may be used
for children's dresses. They also suit the dainty type of adult.
Dotted swiss is a good example of this type of dot. Figure 3 is in

Fig. 5.-Modern adaptation of the Paisley pattern, showing interesting
shapes and details.


a variation of a polka dot pattern. It is spotty and restless in
effect. The units of patterns are rather interesting in shape, but
the eye is led in many directions by the large dots and by the small
triangles leading to these dots. The fabric does not have unity
or repose.
Most of our patterned fabrics have their inspiration in floral
or leaf forms. In general the design of a floral pattern is poor
when it is a photographic copy of a flower or plant. The outlines
are so detailed as to be uninteresting, and there has been no at-

Fig. 6.-Arabic lily design, showing good adaptation of a floral design.

Florida Cooperative Extension

tempt to create a formal design such as belongs with the texture
of a piece of cloth. Flower shapes lose much of their charm
placed flat on fabric in isolated units. The design of any fabric
should be impersonal enough that one does not object to seeing it
cut at any point. This is certainly not true of life-size, naturalistic
floral designs.
Design outlines should be decorative, and there should be some
means of connecting pattern units. Figure 4 shows a rose design
which has been slightly formalized but still has naturalistic color-
ing and general naturalistic shape. The fabric has the effect of
unconnected spots of pattern instead of a unified design. It seems
crowded and monotonous, and the outlines are harsh and uninter-
esting. The cutting or folding of lines in this fabric would be
very disturbing in effect.
Figure 5 shows a successful attempt to formalize a floral pat-
tern. The particular flowers can not be identified as the design is
quite abstract. It is dainty in effect with much interest in both
outline and detail. There is a nice proportion of dark and light
areas. The fine tracery in the background ties all units of pattern
together. This is a modern print adapted from the historic
Paisley patterns.
Figure 6 is a reproduction of a patterned chiffon velvet. Here
again the inspiration is from floral or leaf design, but instead of
reproductions of natural objects we have beautiful and interesting
abstract shapes. The curves are pleasing and the units of design,
while not actually connected, lead the eye naturally from one part
of the fabric to another with no interruption. There is enough
variety in shape so that the fabric is not monotonous. This design
is striking and dramatic but is excellent in line and proportion.
It is probably an adaptation of the Arabic lily design.
The following points may be summarized as of value in selecting
a figured fabric:
1. The design should give the effect of an all-over pattern
rather than of a series of spots.
2. The design should be abstract rather than pictorial.
3. The design should derive its beauty from good proportion
and beautiful line rather than from its association with natural
4. The design should not complicate unduly the cutting or con-
struction of the garment.
5. The design should not accentuate size by giving a definite
unit of measurement for width or height.
6. The design should suit the personality of the wearer.


7. The design should be consistent with the texture and color
of the fabric.
Patterned fabrics may be quieted by using the predominating
color in decoration or accessories. A solid color is often more ef-
fective than a figured fabric but the latter may be very desirable
and usable if carefully selected. In case of doubt, plain color
fabrics are a much safer choice.

In selecting dress designs we must consider the personality of
the wearer, her physical characteristics and the principles of de-
sign. Some of the styles of past years are quite ridiculous to us
today while others are still attractive. If we examine several
garments of each type, we find that the basic difference is one of
line. Dresses which distort or greatly exaggerate portions of the
body look very strange as soon as their temporary vogue has
passed. Hoop skirts, bustles, hour-glass waists and great puffed
sleeves all illustrate this fact. The dresses of past generations
which we now admire most are those which followed in general
the normal lines of the human figure and possessed real beauty
of line. This gives us a basis for critical examination of the styles
of any season. Always we will find some designs which are freak-
ish and distorted along with others which are graceful and natural
in line. The well-dressed woman will select her garments from
the second group.
There are, however, many other factors involved in choosing
the right design for any one person. People differ greatly in type
and personality, and it is only as a garment expresses the indi-
viduality of the wearer that it is satisfying either to her or to the
observer. The study of types and the analysis of personalities
is both fascinating and profitable in connection with clothing
problems. Generally speaking, we may classify ourselves and
others as belonging to one or more distinct types. These may be
called for convenience the dainty type, the athletic type, and the
unusual or dramatic type. Colors, textures and designs for cos-
tumes may be grouped around these different classifications.
While actually there are few pure types, it is easier to give the
characteristics of each type alone. The woman who belongs to
the dainty type is characteristically small rather than large, with
fair coloring, curly hair, and small, clear-cut features. She is
rather quiet in manner and gives the effect of timidity and gentle-
ness. Her best colors are the pastel shades and white. She may

Florida Cooperative Extension

also wear colors of middle value with nothing by way of startling
contrast in color. The fabrics suited to her are found in the thin,
soft or clinging materials. Textures should be smooth but not
highly lustrous. Fabric designs should be small and unobtrusive.
In dress design the whole effect should be one of daintiness and
charm. Garments may be intricately cut, but over-decoration
must be avoided. Dainty details such as tucks, scallops, lace, and
embroidery may be used in limited amounts as decoration.
The woman of athletic type is not the Amazonian creature which
the term often suggests. She may be small or large, but her
characteristics are straightforwardness and frankness of manner
and physical vitality and force. Her coloring is usually medium
rather than extremely dark or light. She is a business-like person
and her garments are planned and selected accordingly. She uses
fabrics which suggest sturdiness and utility rather than fragility.
Rough or firm textures go well with the tailored design of her
costume. With her clear coloring she can use rather strong clear
colors effectively. Pastel shades as well as very unusual varia-
tions of color do not fit with her personality. In patterned fabrics
she may use plaids, stripes, dots, and geometric or formal designs.
The designs for her dresses are tailored in effect and are made
bi-symmetric, that is, the two halves of the dress are alike. But-
tons and bound buttonholes, self-trimming, such as bandings,
facings and cording, and tailored pockets, are good methods of
decorating the dresses of this type. Pleats are good. In general
the garments are planned to allow for activity.
The unusual or dramatic type of person differs greatly from the
others. Characteristically she is tall and slender. Her general
appearance tends to be both striking and aloof. Her coloring may
be light or dark but is frequently quite decidedly one or the other.
In general she can wear unusual tones of color and unusual and
striking color combinations. Her garments may be more extreme
in cut than for either of the other types, and she should avoid
small, decorative details. Her costumes are frequently made in
informal balance with collar lines and side closings which are not
bi-symmetric. Lines should be long and unbroken and the general
effect one of dignity.
We all have difficulty in classifying ourselves as to type. Most
people are combinations of two or more types. If we can place
ourselves as to predominating characteristics we can choose gar-
ments which express us instead of conflicting with our personali-
ties. To be well dressed there must be unity between the costume
and the type of person wearing it.


The cartoonist makes great fun of the wealthy and fat dowager
HEADLEATH HEAD WIDTH who selects her clothes
Son the basis of how they
3/ ................. .....---- ----... look when worn by a slen-
der and beautiful model.
N.A ...... ..yy-----
/ *------ ^ .- We smile at her lack of
1 .............. judgment and fail to
realize that we do much
S. ....the same thing when we
buy a pattern. Most of
........... / us have had the exper-
ience of having a quite
unattractive dress made
3 ....- ....... / from a pattern which was
quite pleasing as illus-
trated. The whole diffi-
culty was probably a
matter of differences in
57/6 ............ ....................... proportion. If we differ
S............ /, considerably from the
proportions of the fash-
ion sketch, the entire ef-
Sfect of the dress may be
changed. Therefore, to
7l ................. ..............///6 select a pattern success-
fully we need to know
Fig. 7.-Figure design drawn to scale, how we differ from the
Average figure.
fashion figure and also
how we differ from the standard or average figure of our height.
According to statistics* the average woman is about seven and
one-half heads tall, one and one-half heads wide at the shoulders,
one and one-fourth heads wide at the bust, one head wide at the
waist and one and one-half heads wide at the hips. These meaure-
ments give the figure in terms of proportion instead of in terms
of feet and inches. We have all seen the small woman who can
wear lines usually thought of as belonging only to the tall person
and the woman who measured perhaps five feet six inches but
still appears short. In both cases actual measurements tell little,
but measurements in terms of head lengths will give needed facts
as to figure proportion.
The fashion designer has found that she can add elegance and
*Goldstein-Art in Every Day Life, pages 318-320.

Florida Cooperative Extension

style to her sketches by making the figure longer and narrower
than the normal figure. The average fashion sketch is from

A ................. .......

y .. .......-. ... . .......

Fig. 8.-Fashion figu
from the normal figure. E


correct selection and alteration of design help to make this pos-
sible. Personal opinion is not a sufficient guide. We tend to ex-
aggerate in our minds some of our defects and to minimize others.
A careful checking of proportion is the only way to be sure of
the matter.
A front view picture taken in a bathing suit or closely fitted
dress may be used in comparison with the normal figure shown
here. The figure may also be measured against the wall and pro-
portions checked. After differences are actually known the dress
design may be selected and alterations made to correct or mini-
mize them. An outline drawing of one's figure drawn to scale is

J ... J ... .

/ --....

"A .~----

fy .............. .

eight to nine heads tall
HEAD WIDoT and very slender. The
........ legs are much longer than
is normal. Figures 7, 8,
-...-./ and 9, show an average
.----. figure, a fashion figure
taken from a pattern
sketch and an actual hu-
........ man figure drawn to
scale. It is easy to see
that designs may appear
..... 3/6 on fashion sketches
which can not be worn
successfully by a person
of average figure. Fig-
ure 10 shows the same
dress design on each of
the three figures. This
design is becoming to the
fashion figure, is wear-
S able for the average fig-
......... I/n6 ure and quite impossible
for the individual figure
From this illustration
it is clear that every
.......... woman should know how
she differs in figure from
re. the fashion figure and
;very one desires to look normal, and



desirable, as the dress design may be sketched in and then it is
possible to see how the design affects the lines of the figure. An
HEADOLINrTH HEAD WIDTH accurate knowledge of
-...............( ............. p one's proportions makes
possible intelligent selec-
i .............. ...............~ tion and alteration of
/4 .............. ........./ ready-made dresses and
dress patterns.
-...... ... ....... It is an unusual woman
who does not have some
variations from the
~/?------ -------r-7----..... /i.
normal in line or color.
As we have said, the
S -.......-.. .. ..... / problem of dressing to
best advantage can not be
solved without giving
definite attention to these
..... points of difference. Per-
haps the most common
deviation from the aver-
Sage figure is due to over-
6 y,..............- -- ..- ........... weight. If a person is
stout, the general plan of
dressing must center
7............. ............ around making the figure
inconspicuous, attracting
S.... ......... -- ......-...... -/- attention away from the
Fig. 9.-An individual figure. silhouette and avoiding
anything which stresses
bulk or increases apparent width. As has been mentioned before,
the stout woman should use fabrics which are dull in luster, about
middle value and grayed in intensity. The general color effect
should be fairly dark but not black, as black calls attention to out-
lines. Lines should run unbroken in effect from shoulder to hem.
The center of interest should run up and down the center front
connecting with a V neck line. The garment should be neat but
not closely fitted. An overweight person in a tight dress gives the
effect of being larger than she really is. Fabrics must be firm
enough not to cling, or the same effect will be produced. Flat
collars are usually more becoming than collarless necklines. They
should be rather narrow and should taper to a long point in front.
Tiny details of decoration make the figure look larger by contrast
and also break the desired sweep of lines.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Hats are better if of medium size with no trailing decoration.
Shoes and hats should be of the same color as the dress to give
added length of line. Shoes should be loose enough so that the
foot does not appear to bulge over the top and should have enough
width at the heel to give the appearance of being a firm base for
the figure.

Fig. 10.-The same dress design on an average figure, a fashion figure
and an individual figure.

The woman who is abnormally thin presents quite a different
problem. Fabrics for her use should be crisp enough to stand
slightly away from the body. Thin velvets are also good, as they
give an effect of bulk. Lines should lead diagonally or crosswise
rather than up and down. Frilled and ruffled collars and dress
fronts are becoming. Considerable decorative detail may be used
but the dress must not look heavy. Extreme looseness of a dress
always suggests that the wearer is losing weight, so the dress
should be fitted carefully but not tightly. Raglan and peasant


sleeves reveal thinness in the shoulders and arms and should be
Round shoulders are a figure defect which can be minimized by
careful selection and adaptation of the dress design. Saddle
shoulders, drop shoulders, and raglan sleeves are to be avoided.
The shoulder seam may be placed a half-inch or more back of the
top of the shoulder. A small collar which rolls slightly straightens
the line of the back by filling in the neck curve. A collarless neck-
line accentuates this curve. Capes or bolero jackets which come
below the waist line help to conceal the back curves. Frilled collars
and gathers or tucks in the blouse front keep the front line from
appearing shorter than that of the back. Hats should be fairly
small and should not have any decoration which droops at the
Large hips often look larger because they are contrasted with
a slender waist and narrow shoulders. To make the hips appear
smaller the shoulder line may be widened by the use of bertha
collars, eqaulette effects, or saddle shoulder lines. The waist line
should not be fitted closely. Capes, short jackets, or blouses just
above the hip line make the hips appear narrower. Crosswise
lines such as skirt yokes increase the apparent width. A skirt
which flares from the belt and is fairly long gives a slendering
line. The skirt may have panels which produce vertical line ef-
fects and break the width into smaller spaces.
Ankles which are thinner or thicker than the accepted standard
are a problem to the woman who wishes to appear of normal pro-
portions. Much can be done to render either very slender or fat
ankles inconspicuous. In both cases stockings should be of in-
conspicuous hue, middle value, and low intensity. Extremes of
dark and light are to be avoided. There should be little contrast
between dress and hose and between shoes and hose. Skirts
should never be extremely short and should flare moderately.
Very tight skirts will accentuate both types of defects. For the
very thin ankle care must be taken that shoes do not look heavy.
Contrasts in color, soles which stand out, and wide leather heels,
as well as much decoration will make the ankle look too slim to
carry the weight of the shoe. In the case of fat ankles the shoe
must look large enough to give a firm base for the ankle. For
this reason very dainty shoes with slender high heels are a poor
choice. Tight straps or a tight fit across the instep will cause
the foot to look fat and bulging. The costume as a whole should
have the center of interest at the upper part so that attention is
called away from the feet.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The average woman who does her own sewing will find that she
gets much better results by using commercial patterns than by
cutting garments more or less "by guess." This does not mean,
of course, that a new pattern must be purchased for each different
garment made, but a well-fitting foundation pattern should be
used and varied as is necessary. In general, any pattern used
should be of the correct bust measure. There is one exception
to this rule. In case the person to be fitted is small through the
bust and very wide in hips and shoulders, the pattern should be
large enough to give the correct shoulder width. The extra ma-
terial will have to be fitted out at the underarm seam. Except
for this type of figure the pattern should be purchased according
to bust measure.
Pattern alterations should be made before any cutting of the
fabric is attempted. Sleeve patterns may be lengthened or short-
ened by insets or tucks above and below the elbow in order not
to lose the shape and proportion of the sleeve. Skirts made with
gores or panels may be changed in length by tucks or insets
rather than by removing or adding material at the hem line. To
fit sloping shoulders the top seam will have to be made larger
as it approaches the arms eye. For square shoulders the seam
may be taken larger at the neck line. After a pattern has been
correctly fitted, a foundation pattern may be cut from it out of
muslin or tough paper. This is useful for cutting many garments.
It is also valuable in altering a new pattern, as alterations can be
made directly from it instead of by fitting the pattern on the figure.
Any pattern envelope and folder should be read carefully, and
much time can often be saved by following the directions for
lay-outs and order of procedure. Notches should be marked by
chalk or thread rather than by cutting. Notches cut into the
fabric reduce the strength of seams if the seam allowance of the
pattern has been followed. On firm fabrics, notches may some-
times be cut out instead of into the seam line. In loosely woven
fabrics, however, these tend to fray and disappear before they
can be used. Before doing any cutting one needs to be sure that
all the -perforations indicating a straight thread of the fabric are
placed on the line of a warp or filling thread. This is essential if
the garment is to hang well.
A dress form of some sort is a great convenience for the woman
who makes her own clothes. There are several commercially


made forms on the market, but one can be made at home which
is more satisfactory and less expensive. There are two kinds of
dress forms which are fairly easy to make. A set of materials
may be purchased for making one kind. This set consists of
two high-necked, knitted vests and several rolls of heavy, gummed
paper. One vest is fitted on the person for whom the form is to
be made and strips of the paper are pasted to it according to di-
rection given with the outfit. The form is finally removed by
splitting it down the front and back. It is fastened together,
shellacked several times inside and out, covered with the second
vest, and mounted for use.
The second type of dress form is made by fitting a muslin waist
exactly to the figure. This waist has a high collar and extends
below the largest part of the hips. After the waist is fitted and
stitched it may be filled with tissue paper, shredded newspaper,
excelsior, or cotton. Care must be taken to keep the proportion
and thickness of the figure as well as its size. A stand for either
form may be purchased or made at home. For the homemade
stand a coat hanger can be fastened to the top and the shoulders
of the form fastened to it for the first type, or built over it for
the second. The form should be placed at the correct height so
that hems may be leveled and lengths determined on it. An arm
form should be made to use with either dress form. It is made
by stuffing a tightly fitted muslin sleeve. It is finished at shoulder
and wrist and can be pinned to the form as needed. A correctly
proportioned dress form makes fitting oneself very easy. It saves
much time and effort for the woman who sews, and it makes pos-
sible much better results than could be obtained otherwise.
In fitting any dress or coat, some fundamental points should
be observed. Shoulder seams must come directly down the top
of the shoulder and not drift toward front or back. Shoulder
lines must be long enough to allow the sleeve seam line to come
to the top of the arm. Under arm seams are to come straight
down from the under arm to the hem. Any pulling or sagging
toward back or front will cause the garment to hang poorly. If
the dress has a tailored or a roll collar the neckline should fit close
to the neck at the back and sides. Pleats must be hung with a
straight thread of fabric on the edge of each pleat or they will not
stay in place. The belt of a semi-fitted dress should not be fitted
tight enough to break the line from shoulder to hem. The neck-
line of a dress should be finished before sleeves are set in. Collar,

Florida Cooperative Extension

sleeves, and belt must be finished before the hem is adjusted. All
seams must be pressed as they are made. This enables one to
see how the garment fits. Also, good pressing can not be done
on the completed garment unless all seams have been pressed in
the proper direction during the construction process.
Seam finishes vary with fabrics used and with location of seams.
The tendency, induced by present close fitting styles of dress, is
for seam finishes to be as flat as possible. Bound seams are almost
never used except in coats or jackets on account of their bulk.
Firm wool or silk fabrics may have the seams finished by pinking.
Very loosely woven fabrics may be overcasted. In wash dresses
seams must be protected against fraying. Seams pressed open
and each edge hemmed with a single turn hem are flat and durable.
The edges may also be overcasted instead of being hemmed. The
imitation French seam is made by turning the single turn hems
toward each other and stitching both edges together. French
seams are undesirable for any fitted garment, as they are fitted
on the first seam line and then the final stitching is from one-
eighth to one-quarter of an inch further in, which means that the
garment is considerably smaller than it was fitted. Flat fell seams
are desirable on baby clothes and underwear because they are
smooth inside. They are also tailored in appearance and are used
on blouses, shirts, and boys' suits. Lap seams are made by turn-
ing the edge on one piece of fabric and then lapping this edge over
another piece as in joining a yoke to a blouse or skirt. This is the
most satisfactory method of joining a curved or pointed piece of
fabric to another piece. The stitching is outside and should come
as close to the edge of the fold as is possible.
Stitch lengths should be regulated according to the weight of
the fabric used. Fine fabrics require short stitches while on
heavy fabrics longer stitches look better. Facings and hems on
skirts should be finished by hand. The exposed stitch should be
very short on both inside and outside and should be carried for-
ward inside the turned edge. Front facings on blouses and coats
may be hemmed on the edge and caught to the garment at the
shoulder seam and hem instead of being sewed fast all the way
Decoration should be carefully planned in relation to the struc-
tural design of the dress. Many dresses are ruined by over-
decoration or decoration which cheapens the garment. Bound
buttonholes and tailored pockets, if well made, add much to a


tailored garment but should never be attempted in loosely woven
or knitted fabrics. Cordings and decorative facings are attrac-
tive finishes on many garments. Embroidery stitches have some
place on children's garments but usually should be omitted on
adult clothing. Faggoting, however, is an interesting way of
joining two edges together. It is serviceable and may be used
on many fabrics. It is particularly valuable in making over
In general the dress should be planned as a whole and no
decoration for which there is not a reason should be included.
Patterns often show ties which do not tie and buttons which do
not button. In the better grade of ready-made dresses these
decorations actually do what they suggest and the effect will
amply repay the extra labor if they are made to do so on dresses
constructed at home. Loose belts look better and stay in place
better if held by buttonholed loops at the sides. Belt-ends should
be long enough to pull through buckles but should not hang loose.
These small details often determine the style of the garment and
are worth careful attention at all times.
It is possible to be well dressed or poorly dressed at almost any
income level. The amount of intelligent planning used in creating
and assembling a costume has much more to do with the success
of the finished creation than has the amount of money expended.
Goldstein* lists the following as the aesthetic requirements for
1. Beauty in color and design.
2. The effect of simplicity as opposed to gaudiness.
3. Suitability to the person and to use.
4. Genuineness as opposed to imitation.
A careful and intelligent observance of these principles can do
much to improve any woman's appearance.
For the most of us the need for economy in dress presents an
ever-present problem. We make many attempts to economize and
often realize later that what seemed economy at the time of pur-
chase did not actually prove to be. It is an old statement that "the
best is cheapest." While most of us can not buy the most ex-
pensive fabrics or garments, it is well to remember that there are
"bests" and "poorests" at every price level. The discussions pre-
viously given of fiber, quality, and design give some fundamentals
to aid in selecting good textile values at any price.
*Goldstein-Art in Every Day Life, 1932, page 213.

Florida Cooperative Extension

A fabric which is a cheaper imitation of another material is
almost never desirable. Since it is made to sell on account of its
resemblance to the other fabric, usually it has not merits of its
own to recommend it. It is better both in economy and appear-
ance to buy a good cotton or rayon fabric than to buy a poor quality
silk, wool, or linen fabric at the same or at a slightly higher price.
Conspicuous fabrics are poor economy if they are to be worn more
than one season. In the same manner, dresses or dress patterns
which are extremes of seasonal fashion are poor purchases for
the well-dressed woman who is practicing economy. Either fab-
rics or dresses which are at the peak of popularity one season will
look out of date if worn the next year. On the other hand, de-
signs which were conservative one season can usually be worn
almost equally well the following year. It is poor economy to
buy many dresses at a time. A better plan is to have a few at a
time and wear them a great deal before they are worn out or
discarded. This is particularly true in the case of weighted silks
because deterioration may be almost as rapid when the garment
is hanging in the closet as when it is in use.
A poorly cut or poorly constructed garment neither looks nor
wears well. In buying ready made garments care should be taken
to see that there are no serious defects as to cut. "Bargain"
dresses are often cut so scantily as to be both uncomfortable and
ugly. Tight sleeves, poor proportion of width and length, short
skirts, narrow seams, and tiny hems may mark these garments.
Better grades of ready made garments may be recognized by
ampleness of cut, good seam width, and wide hems. One often
finds that parts of cheaper dresses have been cut so that the
straight grain of the fabric does not come where it should. Sleeves
so cut will twist and pull out at the seams. Skirts will sag or
pleats can not be made to hang straight. Dresses so cut are not
worth buying as they will not be satisfactory. Cheap dresses
can often be greatly improved in appearance by removing super-
fluous decoration such as meaningless bows, tabs, buttons, buckles,
and sashes. Poor outside stitching can be removed and restitch-
ing done with good effect.
The relative economy of homemade or ready made garments
is an open question, and no answer can cover all cases. The
woman who is a good judge of values as well as a clever dress-
maker will probably find that sometimes she can get better values
in ready made garments, while at other times it will pay to make
them. Frequently in times of financial depression we turn to
garments made at home feeling that we get returns in economy,


quality, and individuality for our labor. The thinking woman,
however, will compare values and buy or make accordingly. One
should not always go on the assumption that homemade garments
are cheaper and more durable than the ready made variety. Cer-
tainly, however, there are better opportunities for individuality
in the dress planned and made at home if planning and making
are carefully done.
If at all possible it is desirable to set aside a definite sum an-
nually for the purchase of clothing. This makes planning in
terms of cost possible and should eliminate much of the ill-con-
sidered and hasty purchasing of garments which do not meet one's
needs. At present many people are buying on a minimum budget
or are attempting to buy only those things which are absolutely
necessary. This requires much thought and planning if the ward-
robe is to be adequate. A few things may be suggested to help
out clothing costs.
Much thought and care must be expended on selection of a
wardrobe if it is to be both economical and adequate. The woman
who has an ample budget can afford a range of colors, but the
woman who is limited as to money should build her wardrobe
around one color. Coats, hats, dresses, shoes, and gloves must
be selected so they can be worn together. When replacements
are made they must fit in with what is already owned. The color
selected should be a conservative one such as blue, brown, or black
instead of a seasonal novelty hue. Variations can be made by
using scarfs, collars and costume jewelry to add interest and
color. Lines and fabrics should be conservative and the garment
should be of as good quality as possible.
Bargain sales must be regarded with some doubt. If one knows
definitely what she needs and is a good judge of values she may
be able to get good values from such sales. Too often we lose our
heads and buy goods we can not use or goods of such poor quality
that they are not worth what we paid for them. The woman who
desires to be well dressed on a small amount of money must avoid
buying garments or accessories on impulse. All buying must be
planned so as to contribute to the wardrobe as a whole.
A small wardrobe which is well selected is more economical than
a large one. Many fabrics deteriorate while not in use, so it is
better to have a few garments and use them enough to get the
worth of one's money before deterioration or change of style
makes them unfit for use. Good garments of conservative cut

Florida Cooperative Extension

usually do not go out of style or need to be remodeled before they
are worn out. This is not true of the average cheap dress or coat.
Clothing care is an every day matter. An adequate closet for
hanging clothes is a necessity. Garments should be hung on
hangers from a rod rather than flat against the wall. They should
not be crowded. A garment should be examined for spots, rips,
or other damages before putting it away after each wearing.
Dress shields are a necessity if some means of checking underarm
perspiration is not used. Often both are desirable. Carbona or
carbon tetrachloride is a satisfactory solvent for grease spots and
is not inflammable. Also French chalk can often be used to re-
move grease spots. A collection of carbon tetrachloride, distilled
water, French chalk, small soft cloths, needles, various colors of
thread, snaps, dress shields, and hooks and eyes should be kept in
the clothes closet for use when needed.
A careful, itemized account of all clothing costs for a year will
tell us much about our buying habits as well as giving a basis for
planning a budget for clothes. By keeping such an account we
often find many "leaks" in our expenditures. We may find too
much spent on one article, such as shoes or hose or hats, and too
little on some others. For example, very cheap shoes are often
an expense because of the frequent replacements needed. After
one has kept such an account for a year it is also possible to plan
on the basis of the amount of money which will have to be spent
each year. In conclusion, it is well to remember that it is possible
to be well dressed or poorly dressed at almost any income level.
The deciding factor lies in the making of a good plan and then
adhering to the plan in the selection or construction of all gar-
It is frequently necessary for home demonstration agents,
teachers and others to judge large numbers of garments which
vary greatly in cost and in kind. It is often desirable to have
some sort of contest in clothing work, but it is certainly against
all good clothing principles to have each of the contestants make
exactly the same kind of garment. The following score card has
been developed to allow the comparison of garments of very dif-
ferent sorts on a common basis.


Total Individual
Points Points
a. Suitability of fabric for purpose 5
b. Desirability of design or texture 5
c. Good color or color combination 5
d. Value in relation to cost 5
a. Suitability of design to person 5
b. Suitability of design to purpose of garment 5
c. Simplicity and interest of decoration 5
d. Quality of design from standpoint of current
style 5
a. Cutting of garment 5
b. Selection of seams and finishes 5
c. Quality of machine stitching 5
d. Quality of handwork 5
IV. FIT 20
a. Set of sleeves and collar 5
b. Location of shoulder lines and other seam lines 5
c. Fitting of garment at waist and hip lines 5
d. Adjustment of hem 5
a. Cost as compared to ready made garments 5
b. Value as compared to ready made garments 5
c. Quality of design as compared to ready made
garments 5
d. Workmanship as compared to ready made
garments 5
100 100

A bulletin of this sort is of necessity quite condensed and fairly
general. To facilitate its use and to emphasize many points which
are discussed quite briefly, some illustrative material is desirable.
A group of posters and charts has been prepared for the Florida
State Extension Office and will be circulated by the office among
the home demonstration agents of the state. Other people using
the bulletin may be interested in the list of charts and posters in
order to make up similar materials for themselves. Mimeographed
pages giving the general plan of the charts or posters will be sent
to teachers and others within the state who send requests for
them to the State Home Demonstration Office, Tallahassee,

Florida Cooperative Extension

1. Know What You Buy
2. Rayons
3. Structural Defects of Fabrics
4. Surface Finishes
5. Fabric Texture
6. Textile Designs
7. Fashion Figures and Real Figures
8. Costumes on Fashion Figures and Real Figures
9. The Dress Form
10. Seam Finishes
11. Garment Finishes
12. Figure Defects and How to Conceal Them
13. Cut Clothing Costs
14. Care of Clothing
15. Color Combinations

Color and Design in Clothing
Art in Every Day Life-Revised-Harriet and Vetta Goldstein.
Textile Fibers and Their Use-Katherine P. Hess. Lippincott.
Textile Fabrics-George H. Johnson. Harper.
Clothing Construction
Manual of Clothing Construction-Brown. Ginn.

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