Wisdom of the Wardrobe for Well-dressed Women Buttons and Buttonholes. Sew on buttons over a darning-needle. When finished, take out the needle, and the button will not be so tightly fixed against the material, and will not pull off so easily.
If the knot is placed on the right side of the cloth, directly under the button, the thread will be less liable to break and become loosened, and the button will remain on longer.
If the buttonholes of soft collars are torn, bind the end3 with a small piece of tape, sewing backwards and forwards, leaving just space enough for the stud to pass through.
Cloth. To renew cloth, including serge, use a little ammonia in boiling water, lay the article upon a table, rub the preparation well in with a piece of cloth and hang up to dry. When dried, lay a wet cloth over the article, and press with a hot iron. Hot bran is an excellent cleaner of tweeds. Shiny cloth should be sponged with water in which alum has been dissolved in the proportion of one part of alum to sixteen parts of water. Press on the wrong side while still damp.
Feathers. To clean, cover them with a paste of pipe-clay and water. Rub them one way only, from base to tip. Allow them to dry, then shake well till what remains of the powder is entirely removed.
When ostrich feathers get dirty, make a lather of white soap in hot water and immerse the feathers, stroking them with the fingers from base to tip for a few minutes. Rinse in clean, hot water, and shake till dry. To curl a feather boa that has been damped, rub in a handful of salt and shake until dry before a fire.
Furs. To renovate, remove all linings, lay flat, and well brush. Then rub into the fur some bran which has been warmed. Shako and again brush. White furs may be treated in a similar way, but the bran used should be damp for the first application. Another method is to heat one pound of oatmeal, then rub well into the fur with a flannel.
To clean ermine, mix half a pound of starch to a thick paste, and with a clean soft brush, thoroughly brush it into the fur. Hang it to dry in the open air, but do not let strong sunlight fall on it. When dry brush out the starch.
It may be laid down as a safe rule that it is better to buy a good article made of the coats of known lowly animals than to purchase furs of alleged aristocratic lineage at a so-called bargain price.
A few years ago, for instance, there was an unreasonable prejudice against the pelts of rabbits. This was largely brought about by dyed imported imitations labelled with such high-sounding names as Electric Seal, Sable Coney, French Sable, Beaver Coney, and so on. Many people, misled by appearances, have bought alleged sable and seal which were really nothing more than skilfully faked rabbit-skins. Indeed, there is scarcely any fur that has not been misrepresented in this way.
The trade names of some furs are puzzling. Goat figures aa China Bear, Chinese Lynx, French Wolf, and Blue Japanese Wolf. The humble hare is camouflaged as Hair Fox, Hair Sable, French Chinchilla, and French Leopard. The marmot has five designations, namely Marmink, Far Eastern Mink, Florida Mink, Mar-Konie, and Marcoon. The mink itself is a distinct animal. The muskrat of Canada, the United States, and Russia poses under such distinguished names as River Sable, River Mink, Hudson Seal, Hudsonia, and Loutrine. And so the list might continue.
Thanks to the efforts of British fur farmers it is possible to purchase rabbit f urs which are not dyed and do not masquerade. They are derived from purebred stock of a good strain, and their colours vary from the chocolate of the Havana to the old silver of the Argente. The pelts have excellent wearing qualities. And here it may be well to interpolate that some of the most successful fur farmers are women.
Recently nearly 1,000 fur-bearing animals were exported to breeders in France, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia. On the Kolsas ridge near Oslo, is the famous Gjettum farm devoted to the rearing of Persian lambs, and in Saskatchewan over 6,000 acres are devoted to musk-rats by a single concern. Many others might be cited. In the United States fur-farming is represented by a capital value estimated at some £10,000,000.
Quite apart from the fact that a purchaser likes to feel that he or she has received a fair return for the money expended, a word of warning must be uttered from the point of view of health.
In 1922 there was an epidemic of skin complaints which was traced to the wearing of cheap furs. The conscientious furrier – and there are many such – takes all reasonable care that the articles he prepares and sells are properly sterilized. Trouble is mainly caused by furs carrying infection from diseased animals, or from the hands of workers so infected, and the imperfect removal of chemicals with which the skins are treated, including arsenic and corrosive sublimate. It therefore behoves the purchaser to be wary when buying necklets, wraps, rugs, and the multitude of articles in which fur plays a part. It is better from every point of view to deal with a firm of established reputation. Cheap furs often prove very expensive.
The sea-otter is perhaps the most costly fur to buy becauso the animal is becoming increasingly rare, and the natural beauty of its skin is unequalled. Seal, once comparatively common, has now become valuable. Fur traders slaughtered the animals so ruthlessly that they were threatened with extermination, and various governments had to step in and restrict the number killed. Those that remain, inhabit for the most part, the desolate islands known as the Pribilofs, in the Bering Sea, and their numbers are increasing.
Expeasive furs are best put into cold storage when not required, but mothproof bags are also obtainable.
Gloves. When choosing kid gloves, do not select either a thick pair or a very thin pair, but those of medium thickness.
When trying them on, be sure the hands are perfectly dry; nothing spoils light kid or suede gloves so much as putting them on for the first time with warm or damp hands. New kid gloves, if warmed before the fire, may be put on without any difficulty. A pair of curling-tongs will answer the purpose of glove-stretchers. In hot weather it is advisable to chalk the insides of new gloves. This will prevent the possibility of stains.
Clean gloves on the hand with benzoline applied with a sponge, or rub with a soaped rag wetted with milk. If the marks are slight, stale bread will usually remove them on kid gloves. Another method is to sprinkle them with talcum powder, which should be left for a while and afterwards brushed off.
Hats. The crown of a hat which has got out of shape may be restored by damping with cold water, stuffing with paper, and putting to dry in a warm place.
White beaver hats may be cleaned by scrubbing them with dry powdered magnesia. Use a perfectly clean brush, and brush the magnesia well in. Leave for half an hour, then brush it out again, and repeat if necessary, until the hat is clean.
To clean white felt hats, make a paste of arrowroot mixed with cold water. Put this carefully on the felt and allow to dry thoroughly, then brush off.
To stiffen a straw hat, brush it well to get rid of dust, then add two tablcspoon-fuls of boiling water to two lumps of sugar and apply with a stiff brush.
Lace. To dye lace an ecru shade, dip it in cold tea or coffee which has been strained. When washing black lace, add a teaspoonful of vinegar to the rinsing water.
Mackintoshes. To clean an ordinary mackintosh, Spread it flat on the table, and scrub with warm water and yellow soap, in which a little carbonate of ammonia has been dissolved. Rinse in cold water, and hang in the air to dry. Do not put it near the fire.
Moths. White cloves are excellent preventives against moths.
Sachets. Lavender sachets for putting among clothes may be made by mixing half an ounce of lavender flowers and half a teaspoonful of powdered cloves. Ground or powdered orris-root is also nice.
Another filling can be made by mixing half a pound of dried lavender, a similar quantity of roso-leaves, a quarter of a pound of powdered orris-root, one ounce of cinnamon, and half a pound of dried table-salt. Put in an air-tight jar, shako up every day, and in a fortnight it will ba ready for use.
Shoes. Patent-leather shoes should be rubbed with a linen rag soaked with olive £1 oil or milk, and polished with a dry soft duster.
A rag dipped in metal polish will usually remove dark stains due to the accidental use of black polish. It must be wiped oif with a dry cloth immediately after use, and the correct polish well rubbed in.
Vaseline will keep shoes soft and render them less liable to crack.
Silk. Do not expose silk to the sun any more than you can help, and do not be afraid to dry-clean it for fear it will go to pieces. Such are the recommendations made following a series of experiments to find out what happens to silks when they are dry-cleaned.
The average silk garment should stan I up under ordinary circumstances for two and a half months at least, so far as being weather-beaten is concerned, the experiments showed. But when the sun beats down on it, the silk loses in one hundred hours about twenty-five per cent, of its strength if unweighted with mineral matter, and fifty to seventy-five per cent. If weighted. Perspiration takes its toll also, and increases the loss to thirty-live per cent, for unweighted and sixty-five to one hundred for weighted silk.
If a silk garment comes back from the dry-cleaner torn or with holes, that may not be duo to the substances used in cleaning it, but to concealed corrosion.
Sponge with cold, strong black tea, and hang out in the air if a black silk dress roquires cleaning. Half a teaspoonful of ammonia to a quart of water is also good for freshening purposes. Afterwards, place a piece of soft muslin on the material, and iron on the wrong side. Creases may be removed by hanging the garment in a steamy room.
To clean tussore silk, make a bran mash, strain it and dip the article in it. Move it quickly about in the water till clean. Take out, squeeze well, roll up in a cloth, and iron on the wrong side while damp.
By mixing four ounces of soft soap, six ounces of honey, and a pint of pure methylated spirit, any silk may be cleaned, but the material must be dipped in several changes of tepid water. A tablespoonful of clear honey should be stirred into the final rinsing water and the material hung in the open air to dry. Do not wring it out at any stage of the process.
A piece of flannel will be found better than a brush for removing dust.
Some artificial silks will not wash, and dry-cleaning is advised. They are apt to shrink, and the colours are not necessarily fast. If it is known that a silk garment has none of these defects, it can be cleaned by placing it in warm suds of pure soap and allowing it to soak for fifteen minutes. There should be at least four changes of suds, always at approximately the same temperature. Squeeze the garment from time to time, but do not rub or wring. After drying, iron on the wrong side.
Stockings. To prevent stockings wearing at the heels, line the back of each shoe with a piece of velvet. A ladder may be stopped by rubbing soap on it.
To clean elastic stockings, heat some flour but not sufficiently to change the colour, and rub it into the stocking with a piece of flannel. It may be necessary to repeat the process several times.
Silk stockings should always be washed when new and before they are worn. This not only takes away the shiny appearance but helps to prevent laddering.
If a ladder appears when one is wearing silk stockings and it is not possible to change them, rub soap at the top and bottom to prevent the ladder spreading.
Always wash silk stockings on the wrong side and rinse them in slightly soapy water. It is better to dry them out of doors, if possible. Never iron them.
When put away in a drawer, silk stockings should be folded on the wrong side, the foot turned in from the heel, and the stockings rolled.
Do not wash dark and light stockings together as the colour of the former usually comes out and stains the latter.
Suede Coats. Suede coats may be restored by rubbing with a flannel dipped in bran and then well shaken. Rub very lightly with fine sand-paper to restore the pile.
Swansdown. To clean, make a warm lather of soap, then gently squeeze the down in it until it is clean. Rinse in fresh cold water with a suspicion of blue in it. Afterwards shake the water out and hang in the air to dry.
Umbrellas. To mend a hole in an umbrella, stick black court-plaster inside the cover.
To renovate covers which have become mud-stained, dissolve a small piece of washing soda in a little hot water and put it into cold tea. Brush well with the mixture, and leave open in the open air to dry.
Umbrellas occasionally develop the unpleasant habit of folding up suddenly in a downpour. This usually happens becanse the upper catch in the stem does not hold the top up securely. This catch is usually rounded at the projecting corner and if its spring is not very strong it will be pushed in by a slight pressure on top. If the upper part of the catch is filed down a little towards the stem, the trouble will not occur.
Velvet. Velvet which has got crushed should be held over a basin of hot water with the lining next the water. The steam will cause the pile to rise and to look fresh again.
Woollen Shawls. A white woollen shawl may be cleaned by putting it in a pan and sprinkling well with dry flour. Then take the shawl and rub it lightly all over. Shake it thoroughly until the floui is well out, and repeat the process until the shawl is clean.