Pattern for Table Centre in Irish Lace

This is the first article in May of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on May 1, 1904, and a short article on some pretty patterns of lace.

School for Housewives – Pattern for Table Centre in Irish Lace

The attractive form of Irish lace represented in the pattern is rarely used for table linen.

We are more accustomed to point de Venise in our choicer cloths and Renaissance or Mexican drawn work for the less pretentious ones.

Nevertheless, lovely and distinctive covers can be carried out in the “Irelande” patterns, which are more desirable for the purpose than ordinary Renaissance, quicker and easier than the “Venise.”

The pattern given today is a good example of their possibilities.

It will be seen from the little photograph included in the illustration that the design printed is one-fourth of the entire cloth; the other three corners being exactly identical.

Marion Harland

Getting Ready for Dressmaking and Renovating

This is the fourth article in April of the School for Housewives 1905 series published on Apr 30, 1905, and an article about how to get ready to spruce up the housewife’s wardrobe.

School for Housewives – Getting Ready for Dressmaking and Renovating

How to Lighten the Springtime Burden

The general unrest of springtime – which is the stirring of new life, and dissatisfaction with the old and rusty and half-worn things of the past season – is contagious. It is a wholesome indication in all forms of life. It means progress, a reaching forward toward something better, cleaner and higher than that we now have. It signifies growth and reformation.

Which bit of moralizing introduces and may reconcile us in part to the discouraging drudgery of a part of the spring work which falls to the part of every housewife of modern means.

When trunks and boxes and drawers have given up their stores of partially worn garments, quite too good to be thrown, and quite unpresentable in their present condition, the stoutest heart quails at the thought of the task set before the owners and wearers of the uninviting assortment. Silks are shiny and creased, woolen stuffs are ring-streaked in faded folds, and spotted with dirt, and speckled with grease; organdies and ginghams are crushed and limp; laces and flabby.

“If I were rich,” – cried a housemother in despair, but yesterday – “I would bundle the whole lot of horrors out of doors, without giving them a second look.”

Since we are not millionaires, let us be wise and grasp the mettle of present necessity. The situation, when faced courageously, has redeeming features.

Since Burns’ cotter’s wife –

“Wi’ her needle an’ her shears
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel’s the new” –

Notable mothers have expressed the oil of honest satisfaction from the practice of the like cunning art. There is a glow of hopefulness in bringing order out of confusion, prettiness out of homeliness and livelier glow of complacency when the renovated last season’s gown passes for new.

Now to particulars.

In preparing to turn and make over a silk dress: rip each seam carefully, clipping the stitches instead of tearing apart. Ripping is an art. Unless you have some old-fashioned body – a pensioner, may be, who is willing to do this with painstaking learned in an earlier day – do the ripping yourself on stormy evenings when John has time to beguile the task of weariness by reading aloud to you as the sharp scissors are piled. When all the breadths and sections of waist and sleeve are separated, brush the dust out and wipe off both sides with a bit of old flannel. Spread, breadth by breadth, upon a doubled clo9th and sponge with warm water (not hot) in which potatoes have been boiled until mealy. Strain the water before using it. It should be damp when ironed – on the wrong side, of course – leaving the right free from the gloss of the iron. If there are grease spots, sponge with ammonia before ironing.

A GOOD CLEANSER

Colored silks may be treated in the same way, unless the colors run under water. Try a piece first.

A mixture of equal parts of naphtha, alcohol and chloroform is an excellent cleansing agent. Being very volatile, the bottle must be kept closely corked.

Worsted stuffs of all grades may be washed in gasoline without fear of fading or shrinking.

If you can do this out of doors, it is best to take all you apparatus into the open air, with no fire or artificial light near. If, as is more probably, you must work in the house, shut yourself into the bath room and set the window open wide. Lay the breadths – several at a time – in a wash basin, cover with gasoline, put a close lid upon bowl or boiler and leave for half an hour. Lift then, wetting your hands as little as may be, and shake and suse alternately for two or three minutes. Do not rub. Hand in the air to drip and dry, and the work is done. In the bottom of the bowl a heavy deposit of sooty matter shows how soiled the cloth was and how through is the purification. When all the dirt has settled, pour off the clear gasoline cautiously and use for the next supply of clothes. If the cloth is badly soiled, throw away the first lot of gasoline and rinse the articles to be cleansed in a fresh supply. Gasolene will be remove grease. Therefore, before using the bath I have described, cover grease spots with a paste of fuller’s earth or of French chalk, and leave on all night. Next day cover with blotting paper and “draw” out the oil with a hot iron.

Renovate rusty, limp black lace by dipping it several times in water in which black kid gloves have been boiled for an hour, then left to soak until the water is tepid. Squeeze the gloves hard before removing them. Use a quart of water for a pair of gloves. There is coloring matter as well as stiffening in the water thus treated.

Marion Harland

OTHER ARTICLES ALSO PUBLISHED…
Housewives, Their Cares and Joys Discussed in Council
Good Things for the Table – Recipes That Are Recommended
The Little Things That Soon Wear Out

The New Windy Day Skirt

This is the second article in April of the School for Housewives 1903 series published on Apr 12, 1903, and is a short article on the innovative new skirt that will not blow up in the wind.

School for Housewives – The New Windy Day Skirt

Only a day or two ‘fore Christmas,
A Bower-looking chap
Came rushin’ in the store
And bawled out: “Say, pap,
Gimme a suit that’ll stand a hug,
A squeeze, a yank an’ a twist,
An’ gee! If y’ don’t git a wiggle on
I’ll hand y’ out a fist.”
Lay on the Bowery Dance.

When Miss Elizabeth White, the clever business-woman-dressmaker, who has undertaken to drive the Parisian dressmakers from the American field, devised her “Windy day skirt,” an article of dress that will withstand all the winter winters that ever blew, she must have been thinking of the lay of the last Bowery dancer.

At the meeting of the Dressmakers’ Association recently she gave to the public a creation built to stand windy weather and one that will look just like the ordinary skirt and present no more inconveniences than the everyday garment.

She brought out into view a pearl gray skirt and hung it on a wire figure. It was a modish enough skirt of silk made for a wearer with a good figure. She styled it the “drop skirt” – a sort of latter-day term for an underskirt. It looked pretty enough, the women audience thought, to be worn outside, if necessary.

The skirt is best described in Miss White’s own words:

“The ‘drop skirt,’” she sad, “looks just like any other skirt. I had often thought that if I could invent some sort of a rock that would stand the wind and still keep its shape and keep close to the ground, one of the greatest blessings would be handed down to womankind. One day I thought of haircloth lining, and on this principle the ‘drop skirt’ is built.”

“There is no difference, practically, between my new skirt and what women have been wearing for thousands of years. This skirt has the usual soft and clinging effect at the bottom. You’d never suspect that it has a haircloth flounce? Well, it has, and that’s its beauty for a windy day.”

“I have named it the ‘Lily skirt,’ for it has the lily effect – a lily held upside down, you know. Just see how prettily it sweeps away.”

“There’s another name for the skirt, and that’s the ‘wind skirt.’ You see we are going to wear such thin stuffs this spring and summer that we’ll need a foundation skirt.”

“You’ll see that it has style and effect, and I can lend its good qualities to the other skirt. Now I’ll tell you how to build the ‘windy skirt.’”

“If made of taffeta silk it will require from 10 to 12 inches yards, 20 inches wide. If only the flounce is taffeta and the upper part of percaline, farmer satin or any lightweight material, it will require 5 1/2 yards of taffeta silk for flounce and about 4 ½ yards for the upper part, and from 2 ½ to 2 ¼ yards of haircloth 24 inches wide. The wind skirt can be built as economically as you desire in any material. The flounce is cut about eight inches wide, having a facing of haircloth equally as wide, with the hair in the haircloth running around the skirt, not up and down. Be sure to shrink the haircloth before using. When the flounce is finished, two small ruffles are added to it, one 5 ½ inches wide and the other about 2 ½ inches wide. These two small flounces are ornamented with narrow plaited ruches or ribbon. To protect the lower flounce we found it necessary to blind it with velvet braid, which can be quickly attached by one sewing only, and affords an elegant finish and perfect protection.”

“The wind skirt can be made as a solid lined skirt of wool or silk, or as a petticoat or slip skirt. As you walk, you see that you kick against the ruffles, which give away with pretty effect.”

“When you’ve had haircloth in your skirts before, you remember, you broke the haircloth by walking against it. In the new wind skirt the haircloth is too high to be kicked, and just high enough to hold the skirt in its place.”

“When the wind blows against the skirt the haircloth holds the cloth firm and the wind sheers off as it would off any taut surface. Your skirts cannot cling to your legs.”

Marion Harland

OTHER ARTICLES ALSO PUBLISHED…
Good Advise to Parents
Grass Houses of Wichitas Vanishing
Interesting Notes for the Housewife
Recipes
This Summer’s Dresses Will Sweep the Ground Again

The New Dutch Designs for Embroidery

This is the second article in April of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Apr 10, 1904, and is a short article on embroidery.

School for Housewives – The New Dutch Designs for Embroidery

While scattered examples of the picturesque “Dutch” designs have been displayed on fancy-work counters for the last year or more, it is only of late that we have come to realize the full possibilities of these quaint patterns.

A great liking for them is manifesting itself in the advance sales of summer fancy work. Even the Japanese motif, with its topical interest, will prove no more than a powerful rival.

The sturdy Hollanders, with vrouws and children, are to be found upon every class of handwork. Whether for needle, carving tool or scorch pencil, what more effective treatment could be desired for the border of a table cover than a circle of tots in sabots playing some Dutch equivalent for “ring-around-a-rosy?”

Some good subjects for the decorator are shown in today’s illustrations. The laundry or toy bag in heavy yellow linen is trimmed with a stamped band all ready to embroider, there’s an effective little box, also decorated by needlework, and a desk outfit which then could be copied either in stitchery or burnt wood.

Pillow covers are especially attractive carried out in this way. and half a dozen or more of smart patterns have appeared.

For bureau boxes, wooden mirror backs, and the thousand and one little furnishings of boudoir or living room, it would be difficult to name a more satisfactory decorative scheme.

Marion Harland

OTHER ARTICLES ALSO PUBLISHED…
Council Table Talks, Mainly About Babies and Mothers
Good Recipes by the Contributors

Hardanger Embroidery and Other Novelties in Lenten Fancy Work

This is the first article in March of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Mar 6, 1904, and is a very short article on embroidery.

School for Housewives – Hardanger Embroidery and Other Novelties in Lenten Fancy Work

The coming of Lent is often a single for the introduction of some novelty in fancy work, and the needlewoman has no cause to be disappointed in the Lenten output this year.

She can choose among the recently brought out Hardanger and the many attracting forms of cross-stitch, which, according to best authorities, “will be everything” for the next six months.

The Hardanger, a Swedish embroidery, is available for many kinds of fancy articles. Table covers, sofa pillows, bureau boxes are all being carried out in it.

Although hailing in modern times from Sweden, the Hardanger pattern was originally Persian. Delicate Oriental intricacies are perfectly recognizable if the motif is closely studied for a moment.

The vogue of cross-stitch has revived the old-time canvas backgrounds, which are all propitious for work of this kind. Everything, down to the smallest sachets and glove cases, is being built upon these canvases.

A couple of new sachets made in this style are shown in the illustration.

The Lenten seer will also be interested in the pair of pretty work bags shown for her benefit. Cretonne is a good material for these – and a cheap one.

For utility work, if time can’t be spared for frivolities, I would suggest one of the little crocheted sweaters represented here.

It would be hard to name a more serviceable garment than this, especially at the present time of year.

Coats will soon be coming off, and when they do, such a jacket will be found about the handiest thing imaginable.

The two models illustrated are “latest out” in their line. One of them is the Norfolk effect; the other has a nautical finish.

Marion Harland

OTHER ARTICLES ALSO PUBLISHED…
Secret of Good “Quick Bread”
Summer Curtain Time Coming
Tasty and Delicious Recipes
Topics of Interest to Housewives Discussed With One Another and Marion Harland

My Knitting Work and the Day Dreams That It Calls to Mind – A Peaceful Reverie

This is the second written article in February of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Feb 23, 1902, and is a longer article on managing the household.

School for Housewives – My Knitting Work and the Day Dreams That It Calls to Mind – A Peaceful Reverie

Just now it is a couvre-pied of shaded crimson, a gift for a dear old friend who, having everything that money can buy, will appreciate the tender memories of a forty years’ intimacy wrought into the warm-colored web. Her initials are to be embroidered on the central strip as a sure seal to set upon the sweet assurance that it was designed for her, her only. If the gift will have its story for her it has a hundred stories for me. Dickens tells us how the demoniacal Madame Defarge knit the names of the victims proscribed by the Republic into the work that went with her to the shop, the market place and the guillotine. A series of home-pictures glows under my eyes as I unfold, one after another, of the strips that will presently be crocheted together with rope-silk, after which the rug will be heavily fringed with shaded wools and silks. The setting and background of all are the same. The long, low library, lined with books; the rich glow of firelight and lamp, and on the other side of a Chippendale table that once belonged to Martha Washington, the reader whose well-modulated tones have given me within six months Lecky’s “Map of Life,” Justin McCarthy’s “Reminiscences” and “History of Our Own Times.” Just now we are deep in his “Four Georges.” It is a habit that goes well with the soothing continuity of knitting-work, to improve our acquaintance with out chosen author for weeks together. After many evenings of this close communion, we know him forever. My couvre-pied is better than a chronological table to me, an album of “snap-pictures,” visible to me alone. I could indicate the vey inch that grew into being under my fingers while Bradlaugh’s six months’ struggle to take the oath of membership was in telling, and the long, bright scroll on which is stamped in (to others) invisible characters the pathetic lingering of Queen Caroline’s last hours.

SOLVING A STOCKING’S MYSTERY

I learned to knit golf stockings while on the Scheldt, while our steamer was becalmed by the stillest, stickiest, thickest fog that has visited Holland in a century. We lay “As idle as a painted ship, Upon a painted ocean.” for three mortal days and nights, our dreads of famine imperfectly allayed by the purser’s assurance that we were victualed for a fortnight. An English matron, fair of face, ample of figure and low-voiced, was knitting golf stockings for her university son, and cordially offered patterns, wools and needles to me. Being English, she did not see the faint humor of the “situation” when I remarked that the transatlantic athlete would wear the stocking I had begun (if we ever saw land again) was 6 feet 2½ in his stockings, and that I expected to finish one pair before we got to Antwerp. I sent to London from Florence for pattern book and materials, and wrought six pairs than winter. They are written all over with scenes from “Romola,” “The Makers of Venice,” “The Makers of Florence,” Jamieson’s “Legendary Art” and Villari’s “Savonarola.” As they stride past me on bleak winter days, or when November stubble is russet brown. I have sometimes a queer constriction of heart and throat that means nostalgia. I could declare that I smell the violets which overflowed our table from October to March, and the roses so riotously abundant that black-eyed Lelinda strewed my chamber floor two inches deep with the damp petals to lay the dust before sweeping. Some woman, Mrs. Caroline Lee Hentz, I think, once wrote a poem to her knitting work – “My Companionable Kitting Work” the called it in her verse. Mine is solace, and sedative, gentle diversion, and effective guard against ennui and impatience, the confidante of restless discontents and of unspoken dreams. Forty-odd years ago I was guilty of the vanity – pardonable surely in a girl who prided herself upon making all her presents – of displaying the results months of happy occupation that never approximated toil to “a superior woman.” She praised judiciously and satisfactorily, if more gravely, than I had expected, and when the last article had been inspected laid her hand upon my shoulder impressively: “Dear child, do you know what I have been thinking of while this display was going on? That by rights all these things should be dyed as red as blood – the blood of murdered time!” Stunned as I was, I had the presence of mind to offer a word of extenuation, as I would have raised an arm to ward off a blow. “But I have done it all in the gaps left by other things – real duties, you know. I began them more than a year ago. They have been what grandmamma called ‘holding pieces.’ If I had been busy with them I should have been doing nothing in the ‘betweenities.’ When I was hearing my little sister’s lessons, and waiting for the rest to come in to prayers or meals, and chatting with girl callers, and entertaining father and the boys in the evening, and in the long summer days in the country, when it was too hot to practice or to write or study. I have always had a bit of work in my basket that I could catch up at any minute. I can’t feel that I have murdered time. I have only used up odd quarter and half hours instead of keeping my hands folded.” She pursed her lips and shook her had. “The ‘betweenities,’ as you call them, might have been filled with better things, my love. But I was not born ??? the world right. Each of us must account for herself for the talents committed to her. Only – the napkin is a napkin even when covered with the finest of needlework and edged with lace!” I hope – and I try to believe now – that she meant well. She bruised my feelings terribly at the time, and left a raw place on my conscience that was long in healing. As I gained in life’s experiences I worked my way out of the fog she had shed about my perceptions of good and evil, and set up for myself a theory as to “fancy-work” utterly opposed to my mentor’s, and, to my apprehension, quite as dignified.

A LABOR OF LOVE

Because it has a dignity of its own to keep up, I object to the compound word just used. The dainty devices that have grown under women’s otherwise idle fingers for a thousand generations merit a nobler classification. I do not speak of professional tasks done for money. That is labor. As soon as the work element informs the needles or crochet and netting hook, the graceful play ceases to be recreation and a benefaction. She who appoints for herself a certain number of rounds or a given space to be covered within a set time at once loses the best good of her diversion. But for her “holding piece” many a woman would have gone mad under the pressure of sorrow, the gnawing worry of sordid cares, the racking of suspense. Fancy-work lightens dark days and infuses poetry into the commonplace that but for this “maybe” would be one inexorable “must do.” Ah, the stories that are tragedies, stitched into the holding pieces bequeathed to us by our grandmothers and maiden great-aunts; the comedies, love-stories and poetry laughed and cried over and lived, while we fill in the blessed “betweenities” without which life would be all unparagraphed prose! Men and moralists who decry fancy-work as frippery and wasted time are ignorant of the sedative properties it possesses, so long – upon this I insist – as it is not allowed to degenerate into a task. The flash of the kneedle, the swish of the silk, the click of the knitter’s slender steels, the dart of the crocket hook in and out of the gossamer web it is weaving – symbolize mental and spiritual conductors. They carry off and dissipate harmlessly electric charges from nerves and heart. To secure similar ends our husbands smoke and play billiards, and – if rustic – whittle. Better a plethora of golf stockings, slippers and afghans than nicotine and shavings.

Marion Harland

OTHER ARTICLES ALSO PUBLISHED…
The Care of Children
The Housekeeper’s Exchange
Making a Neat, Comfortable Pair of Slippers for the Bedroom

The Ready Made Flounce

This is the fourth article of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Jan 24, 1904, and is a very short column on flounces – aka ruffles for the use of trimming garments.

School for Housewives – The Ready Made Flounce

Devices to be Found in the Shops Which Will Simplify Woman’s Lingerie Making

Several novelties found in the shops at present greatly simplify the work of making one’s lingerie by hand.

Many of us, despite the variety shown on drop goods counters, sill prefer the pattern-made article, and any woman who does this dainty work is interested in time-saving devices connected with it.

One of these devices is the ready-made flounces of embroidery or insertion.

These ruffles come in a single piece, all ready to be attached to the new petticoat without further elaboration.

It will be seen from the shape of the flounce illustrated today that a gored skirt is the style for which the frill is intended.

The cheapest of these flounces costs in the neighborhood of $3.

They increase in elaboration, and consequently in peace, from this one onwards, the most expensive patterns bringing $6.

The ready-made corset cover is another innovation, and much more charming than the name would lead you to expect.

This is a new material sold by the yard, which requires nothing more than ribbons to become a full-fledged cache corset.

A yard and a quarter is usually to be advised for a single article.

The beading finish around the bottom rounds off the lower edge of the garment very daintily.

Ribbon is run through the embroidery around the top, and ribbon with knots and bows forms the shoulder straps.

The goods for this lingerie ranges from 50 to 60 cents a yard. That selling at 60 cents is quite elaborate.

Counting in the ribbon, a charming cover made on this plan need not cost more than $1 to $1.25.

Marion Harland

OTHER ARTICLES ALSO PUBLISHED…
Lost Patterns Give the Modern Value to Old Lace
Muscles Atrophied by Disuse
Some Excellent Recipes
Talks on Household Topics And Talks With Parents