53.   Dresses and gowns of sheer fabrics other than lingerie materials require some sort of foundation on which to build the garment, and where a full tight lining is not desirable a boned girdle—that is, a girdle, or belt, stayed with featherbone-is a very satisfactory foundation.   Boned girdles, or boned bodices, as they are sometimes called, may be constructed of silk or satin and used in the very elaborate gowns, or they may be made of inexpensive material and made to serve to excellent advantage in the simplest dress or blouse.   Very satisfactory girdle forms may be made of a good quality of percaline, as this material is firm, keeps its shape well, and stretches very little; in fact, percaline seems to be used more than any other material for this purpose.

At any rate, the uses to which such a foundation may be put are so numerous that it is not considered necessary to enumerate them, for when a correctly fitted and correctly made girdle form is used in a dress, no argument will be required to convince even the most skeptical of its merits.   The neat effect it gives a dress, to say nothing of the support it offers, makes it invaluable in draped or non-washable dresses.

54.   The figure has much to do with the shape that the girdle, or foundation form, should assume; Dame Fashion, too, has a word to say as to its width and shaping.   When figures are straight from bust to hips and the dresses assume the same lines, then straight girdle forms should be used; if figures curve in at the waist line and the dresses fit close, the close-fitting girdle forms are desirable.   A very slender woman frequently can add to her appearance by using a moderately straight gridle; and, on the other hand, the stout woman may be made to appear less stout if a girdle form that is only slightly curved is worn, for such a girdle brings the waist line into prominence and helps to lose the full bust and hips.   Women large in stature or in flesh are frequently of the opinion that they must wear their clothes just as tight as possible, while in many instances the straighter lines would serve to make them appear less stout than if the garments fitted close.   With these thoughts in mind, several styles of girdle forms are here considered, in order that one may be had for any style of figure.   As will be observed, some of them open in the front and some open in the back.   The location of the girdle opening depends on the style of dress for which it is to be used and, of course, the location of the opening in this dress.

girdle form
Fig. 25

55.   In Fig. 25 is shown a straight girdle form.   This style of girdle is excellent for use in light-weight dresses that do not fit close at the waist line and yet need some support where the waist and the skirt join.   To make a girdle of this kind, cut a crosswise piece of material the width of the girdle desired, as a rule from 2 to 3½ in.   Ordinarily, a lengthwise strip of material would be cut for a girdle, but as material cut crosswise fits into a figure better, and as the stitches used in staying the dress to the girdle impart strength to it, all possibility of splitting is overcome.   Then, as shown at a, sew a piece of ribbon-covered collar bone, which is another form of featherbone used for support in collars, crosswise of the girdle every 2 or 3 in. to give it the necessary support.   When these pieces are in place, bind the outer edge with bias binding tape, as shown.   After the edges are thus bound, put the girdle form around the figure and pin it as tight as desired; then cut off the ends ½ in. from the pins, allowing this in. to finish the ends with a narrow hem.   When the ends are stitched, sew hooks and eyes on the girdle opening-one hook in the center on the right-hand side and one at each edge of the girdle.   If the girdle is more than 3 in. wide, then two additional hooks will be needed to insure a substantial closing.

girdle form
Fig. 26

56.   In Fig. 26 is illustrated a straight girdle that is a little wider than the one shown in Fig. 25.   It is made in practically the same way, but, as will be observed, the pieces of featherbone are placed farther apart.   Placing the featherbone in a girdle is important work; yet, straight girdles do not demand so much attention as fitted girdles.

girdle form
Fig. 27

57.   In long-waisted dresses the girdles, or belts, of which come below the natural waist line, girdle forms similar to the one shown in Fig. 27, and known as a fitted girdle, should be used.   For a girdle of this kind, the top of the circular-skirt pattern serves as a pattern.   The waist line is divided into four equal parts, and the extension is made 4 in. below the waist line and 1 in. above, the work being carried out in practically the same way as for a skirt with a raised waist line.

In cutting out the material for a fitted girdle, place the pattern pieces traced from the foundation circular-skirt draft in the same way as they would be placed in preparing to cut out a skirt; that is, with the center of each gore as near as possible on a lengthwise thread of the material.   Cut the girdle so that there will be a seam in both the center front and the center back, and trace the waist line on each section.   With this work done, baste the sections together, beginning at the waist line and basting up and down, which method of basting applies for all fitted girdles.   Next, put the girdle on and fit it, remembering that the extension should come at least 1 in. above the waist line; also, pin a tape around the waist line in the regular way, pinning it rather close.   Fit the top of the girdle form in the same way as the top of a skirt, being careful to have it set smooth and easy all the way around, taking in or letting out the seams if necessary.   When the tape is securely pinned in place, remove the girdle; stitch up the seams and trim them to within 1/8 in. of the stitching; press the seams open and stitch the waist tape on, taking care to keep it straight and even and to stitch on both edges; then proceed to put in the pieces of featherbone without the boning attachment.   As the seams in this girdle are trimmed very close and the featherbone is stitched on each edge instead of the center, the pieces of featherbone may be attached better without the attachment.

Fig. 28

In Fig. 28 is shown how five-cord tape may be used in a girdle of this kind.   Such featherbone is stitched directly over the seam, and this is covered with a strip of bias tape that is wide enough to cover the featherbone.   Five-cord tape does not make the girdle quite so heavy as silk-covered featherbone does; however, if a light-weight girdle is desired, the covering may be removed from each side of the silkcovered featherbone, the bone stitched to the seam in the way just described, and the seam and bone then covered with bias tape.   If desired, three-cord tape, which is a trifle narrower than the five-cord   kind, may be used instead of either the regular featherbone or the five-cord tape; but if it is used the seams of the girdle should come a little closer together, as the three-cord tape does not g ive so much support as either of the other staying materials.

When the featherbone is in place, finish the opening   of the girdle the same as for a boned tight lining; also, place the featherbones in the casing and sew on hooks and eyes in the same manner, beginning at the waist line to mark for the hooks and eyes.   When the hooks and eyes are sewed on, trim the girdle even at the top and the bottom and bind it with a strip of bias tape, taking care to cover the ends of the featherbone at each seam well, so that they will not pull out.

58.   In Fig. 29 is shown a girdle that is very similar in appearance to the one illustrated in Fig. 26. It serves practically the same purpose, but it is shaped so as to fit a little and therefore has a tendency to make a figure appear a trifle smaller below the waist line.   This girdle is cut from the pattern of a two-piece-back waist, and extends 2 in. below the waist line and 3 in above.   So as not to destroy the original tight-lining pattern, make a pattern for this girdle by tracing off the sections.

Fig. 29

The girdle shown in Fig. 29 is basted and fitted in the same way as the one shown in Fig. 27, and the seams are stitched up and the tape is basted on in the same manner; but the featherbones are not put in in the same way.   In a girdle form of this kind, it is necessary to stretch the seam, as for a tight lining, for 2 in. at the waist line and then ease the lining to the featherbone below the waist line.   The opening, though, is finished in exactly the same manner; that is, the same as for a boned tight lining.

girdle form
Fig. 30

59.   In Fig. 30 is illustrated a girdle with a 3-in. extension above the waist line and only a 1-in. extension below.   This style of girdle form is used where the girdle of a dress is built a little higher than the normal waist line.   The two-piece-back waist pattern is used in making the pattern for this girdle form, the necessary extensions being made above and below the waist line so as to give the girdle the desired width.   The girdle is made in practically the same way as the one shown in Fig. 29.

girdle form
Fig. 31

60. In Fig. 31 is shown a form that is a little too wide to be properly termed a girdle form, yet in nearly every instance in connection with dressmaking it would be designated by that name.   It is really a bodice stay, as it comes well up on the figure, the extensions being 4 in. below the waist line and 42 in. above.   Such a bodice stay is excellent where a very wide girdle is worn, as it tends to add strength to the waist; in fact, it gives almost the same support as a tight lining.   In some instances where only drapery shows over the shoulders, as in evening dresses, the girdle form, or bodice, is cut wide enough to come well up under the arms.   The only difference between the making of such a girdle as this and one of the others already mentioned lies in the alternating of the hooks and eyes on the opening.   In a girdle as wide as this, it is better to alternate the hooks and eyes than to put all the hooks on one side and all the eyes on the other.

61.   Where a bodice stay is made so very high above the waist line, straps of ribbon or tape to 1 in. wide may be used over the shoulders, in order to hold the upper edge in position.   A good plan is to make a close-fitting bodice stay of China silk of good quality, and then bind its upper and lower edges with ribbon and provide ribbon straps for over the shoulders.   Such a stay affords a substantial foundation for lingerie dresses and is invaluable as a support under dainty silk or lace corset covers.   When made for the purpose just mentioned, a bodice stay is best opened at the center front; but when made to serve as a foundation for dresses the opening must be made at a seam that is convenient for the dress opening.

62.   When the straight-line silhouette is in vogue, ready-to-wear dresses carry a loose waist-line effect and in nearly all medium-priced dresses girdle forms are omitted and a piece of skirt belting, the soft pliable quality being always preferable, is used at the waist line.   The waist is fastened to the belt first and then the skirt is fastened, neither meeting, however.   This precaution is taken to avoid bulk around the waist.   In most of the better dresses, a strip of China silk edged all the way around with narrow, inexpensive lace is used on the inside to cover the belt and to make the dress appear well finished.

In dresses having the long-waist, loose-basque effect, a fitted lining of soft, firmly woven silk or satin is used, the lower edge of the lining coming from 2½ to 4 in, below the waist line.   If the dress is of heavy material and the skirt is draped at the waist line, it is advisable to use a ribbon or a tape 1 ¼ or 1 ½ in. wide inside the lining to hold the waist line in place.   This ribbon should merely be catchstitched to the side seams, center back, or center front, and then the ends hooked together independent of the lining.

When the waist-line effect is loose, boning is omitted even when a fitted lining is used, unless a very low, loose corset is worn.   Some women who wear girdle corsets prefer to use a few bones in the waist lining as a corset substitute.

A great responsibility in point of style rests with the waist line of a dress.   A smart dress from a fashion point of view can lose its smartness entirely by a waist line that is too tight or too high for the silhouette.   Very careful consideration should always be given in fitting a waist line to have it individually becoming and at the same time entirely in keeping with the mode.   In fitting waist lines, it is always well to remember that the hem, the neck, and the sleeve turns should be made before the waist-line effect has been definitely decided, because the waist line is influenced by all, especially the neck and the hem.

Examination Question