Below is a five year plan written by John Dewey for the University of Chicago curriculum for textile work. This kind of information you might find helpful if your character is going or has gone to finishing school.
1. Simple weaving.
2. Sewing bag.—Materials: scrim or art denim, Barbary cotton. Stitches: basting, coarse back stitch
ing, overhanding basted hem, outlin-. ing name or initials, twisting cords for drawing string.
The child has his choice of color in the denim and sewing cotton used, and sometimes the bag is decorated with a blanket stitch around the edge or a stitching-stitch fastens the hem. The name is printed with a pencil on the bag in large letters and outlined in the same color used in sewing the bag. This bag is used through the course to hold the child's work.
1. Spinning.—Study of silkworm and cocoon. Cotton, wool and flax spinning with simple spindle.
2. Practical sewing.—Holder for use in cooking. Materials: felt, braid, No. 40 cotton. (A square piece of felt is cut the size of holder. Strips are cut lengthwise one-half inch from each edge. The braid is woven through and the ends fastened with a running stitch. The back is lined with unbleached muslin. This introduces the turning in of raw edges, the basting the edges even, and the overhanding the edges together.)
Needle Book. Materials: brown, coarse art canvas; Barbary cotton; white flannel. Stitches: blanket stitch on canvas and flannel; cross-stitch decoration.
Pin flat. Materials: card board; woolen cloth or silk. Stitches: basting in raw edges; overhanding.
Canvas mat with cross-stitch design in colored cotton.
Pincushion. Materials: art canvas, denim; Barbary cotton. Stitches: overcasting; stitches used in design; basting; back-stitch in color; overhanding of open end.
Designs were obtained as follows: Large photographs of snowflake crystals were shown, from which the children worked out a simple design first in drawing and then in cross-stitch on canvas.
Theoretical work is study of fibres of following materials: Cotton, flax, jute, hemp, wool and silk with reference to following points: where grown; where manufactured; how transported. Rough maps are made snowing the location of the countries where the fiber is produced, manufacturing centers, lines of transporta- . tion.
Practical sewing.—Burlap Pillows. Materials: burlaps; Barbary cotton; unbleached muslin for inside of pillow; moss for filling; frame to hold work. Stitches: stitches used in design; basting, back-stitch; overhanding; overcasting; filling with moss; fitting the two pillows.
Bag for soiled handkerchiefs.—Materials: coarse white art canvas; rope silk; wooden ring for top of bag; ribbon to cover ring. Stitches: Russian design in cross-stitch for border; initials in cross-stitch; hemming; running stitch; back-stitch.
Shoe bag. Materials: linen; braid. Stitches: binding with braid; hemming with braid; loops.
Theoretical work.—Manufactured products. Study of different kinds of cloth: texture, hydroscopic nature, relation to warmth, inflammability.
The difference in texture, etc., de
pending both on the preparation of the fibre and its structure; the microscopic study of the different fibers is made here to bring out the differences which necessitate the various threads and therefore different cloths made from them.
Practical sewing.—Burlap curtains: knotted fringed ends; darned design in colored cotton. Paper dolls for illustration of historical work. Patterns for doll's clothes. Flannel skirt. Stitches: running and backstitch; catch-stitch; turning hem and basting; gathering; putting on band; sewing on button; loop for button.
FIFTH YEAR. Theoretical work. Cultivation of fibers; climate, topography. Kind of soil needed, and mode of cultivation. Preparation of fibers for manufacture. Practical work: darning stockings and mending; doll's outfit cut from patterns made preceding year.
Theoretical work. History of manufacture of cloth. Development of spindle and loom. History of inventions and their commercial importance, with social changes effected. Study of present processes of manufacture.
Practical work.—Baby's dress and skirt; table linen; patching; darning; hemming damask; fringing doily; hemstitching; embroidering initials. Small sheet, pillow case.
Source: Everyday Housekeeping ©1899