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INSTRUCTIONS IN THE PREPARATION OF HOUSE LINEN.
Bed-room Linen.—This includes quilts, blankets, sheets, pillow covers,
towels, table covers, and pincushion covers.
Quilts.—These are of various sizes and qualities, in accordance with
the purposes to which they are to be applied. They are generally made of
the outside material and the lining, (wadding or flannel being laid
between,) and stitched in diamonds or other devices. The stitches must
pass through the whole, and the edges of the quilt are to be secured by
a binding proper for the purpose. They are best done in a frame.
Blankets.—These are bought ready prepared for use. It is sometimes
advisable to work over the edges at the end, which should be done with
scarlet worsted in a very wide kind of button-hole stitch.
Sheets.—These are made of fine linen, coarse linen, and calico. Linen
sheets are in general to be preferred. The seam up the middle must be
sewed as neat as possible, and the ends may either be hemmed or seamed:
the latter is the preferable method. Sheets, and all bed-room linen,
should be marked and numbered. To add the date of the year is also an
Pillow Covers.—These are made of fine or coarse linen, and sometimes
of calico. The material should be of such a width as to correspond with
the length of the pillow. One yard and three nails, doubled and seamed
up, is the proper size. One end is seamed up, and the other hemmed with
a broad hem, and furnished with strings or buttons, as is deemed most
convenient. We think the preferable way of making pillow covers is to
procure a material of a sufficient width when doubled, to admit the
pillow. The selvages are then sewn together, and the ends seamed and
hemmed, as before directed. Bolster covers are made in nearly the same
manner, only a round patch is let into one end, and a tape slot is run
into the other.
Towels.—Towels are made of a diaper or huckaback, of a quality adapted
to the uses to which they are applicable. They should be one yard long,
and about ten or twelve nails wide. The best are bought single, and are
fringed at the ends. Others are neatly hemmed, and sometimes have a tape
loop attached to them, by which they can be suspended against a wall.
Dressing Table Covers.—These may be made of any material that is proper
for the purpose. Fine diaper generally, but sometimes dimity and muslin
are employed, or the table is covered with a kind of Marseilles quilting
which is prepared expressly for the purpose. Sometimes the covers are
merely hemmed round, but they look much neater if fringed, or bordered
with a moderately full frill. Sometimes a worked border is set on. All
depends upon taste and fancy. A neat and genteel appearance in
accordance with the furniture of the apartment, should be especially
Pincushion Covers.—A large pincushion, having two covers belonging to
it, should belong to each toilet table. The covers are merely a bag into
which the cushion is slipped. They may be either worked or plain, and
should have small tassels at each corner, and a frill or fringe all
Table Linen.—This department of plain needlework comprises table
cloths, dinner napkins, and large and small tray napkins.
Table Cloths.—These may be purchased either singly or cut from the
piece. In the latter case, the ends should be hemmed as neatly as
Dinner Napkins.—These are of various materials; if cut from the piece,
they must be hemmed at the ends the same as table cloths. Large and
small tray napkins, and knife-box cloths, are made in the same manner.
The hemming of all these should be extremely neat. It is a pretty and
light employment for very young ladies; and in this way habits of
neatness and usefulness may be formed, which will be found very
beneficial in after life.
Pantry Linen.—In this department you will have to prepare pantry
cloths, dresser cloths, plate basket cloths, china, glass, and lamp
cloths, and aprons. Pantry knife-cloths should be of a strong and
durable material. The dresser cloths, or covers, look neat and are
useful. They are generally made of huckaback of moderate fineness; but
some ladies prefer making them of a coarser kind of damask. The plate
basket cloth is a kind of bag, which is put into the plate basket to
prevent the side from becoming greased or discolored. They are made of
linen, which is well fitted to the sides, and a piece the size and shape
of the bottom of the basket, is neatly seamed in. The sides are made to
hang over the basket, and are drawn round the rim by a tape, run into a
slit for that purpose. China cloths, and also glass cloths, are to be
made of fine soft linen, or diaper; and the cloths used in cleaning
lamps, &c., must be of flannel, linen, or silk. All these articles are
to be made in the same manner, that is, hemmed neatly at the ends; or
if there be no selvages, or but indifferent ones, all round. Nothing
looks more slovenly than ragged or unhemmed cloths, which are for
domestic use. Little girls of the humbler classes might be employed by
the more affluent, in making up those articles and a suitable
remuneration be given them. They would thus become more sensible of the
value of time, and would contract habits of industry, which would be of
essential service to them in the more advanced stages of their progress
through life. A fair price paid for work done, either by a child or an
adult, is far preferable to what is called charity. It at once promotes
industry, and encourages a spirit of honest independence, which is far
removed from unbecoming pride, as it is from mean and sneaking
servility. Benevolence is the peculiar glory of woman; and we hope that
all our fair readers will ever bear in mind, that real benevolence will
seek to enable the objects of its regard to secure their due share of
the comforts of life, by the honest employment of those gifts and
talents, with which Providence may have endowed them.
Housemaid and Kitchen Linen.—The next subject to which the attention of
the votress of plain needlework ought to be directed, is the preparation
of housemaid and kitchen linen. On these subjects, a very few general
observations will be all that is necessary. In the housemaid’s
department, paint cloths, old and soft, and chamber-bottle cloths, fine
and soft, are to be provided. To these must be added, dusters, flannels
for scouring, and chamber bucket cloths, which last should be of a kind
and color different from any thing else. All these must be neatly hemmed
and run, or seamed, if necessary. Nothing in a well directed family
should bear the impress of neglect, or be suffered to assume an untidy
appearance. Clothes bags of different sizes, should also be provided, of
two yards in length, and either one breadth doubled, in which case only
one seam will be required; or of two breadths, which makes the bag more
suitable for large articles of clothing. These bags are to seamed up
neatly at the bottom, and to have strings which will draw, run in at the
top. The best material is canvas, or good, strong unbleached linen. In
the kitchen department, you will require both table and dresser cloths;
which should be made as neat as possible. Long towels, of good linen,
and of a sufficient length, should be made, to hang on rollers; they are
generally a full breadth, so that hemming the sides is unnecessary. They
should be two yards long, when doubled, and the ends should be secured
strongly and neatly together. If the selvage is bad, the best way is to
hem it at once. Kitchen dusters, tea cloths, and knife cloths, may be
made of any suitable material; but in all cases let the edges be turned
down, and neatly sewed or overcast.
Pudding Cloth.—This should be made of coarse linen, neatly hemmed
round, furnished with strings of strong tape, and marked.
Jelly Bag.—This is made of a half square, doubled so as to still form a
half square. The top must be hemmed, and be furnished with three loops,
by which it is to be suspended from the frame when in use.
Some miscellaneous instructions, which could not otherwise be
introduced, are to be found in the concluding chapter.
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