Learn about Life in the 1920s

How to Clean Millinery Materials

Cleaning Velvet: Light velvets if much soiled may be cleaned in a pan of gasoline, brushing the soiled places with a velvet brush; when clean hang up in the air till all the vapor is gone; it should not be steamed the same day. Of course you do not wring out materials cleaned in gasoline; they are to be hung up dripping.

To Steam Velvet: To take the creases out of velvet, stand a large very hot iron up on end on a cold stove cover or an asbestos mat; wring a piece of cheese cloth or thin muslin out of water, spread it smoothly over the iron, and holding the velvet with both hands, pass the back over the iron, holding the velvet so that you pull it on the straight either selvage way or across; indeed it is well to go over it both ways. Just as fast as the muslin dries pull a fresh piece over the iron, and do much-creased places several times over. Last, pass the back of the velvet over the bare iron to dry it off and effectually raise the pile. On no account brush the face of the velvet, and hold it at the edges, as every finger mark will show.

How to Mirror Velvet: If a piece of velvet is so marred that the creases will not come out, it can be "mirrored" by laying it flat on the ironing table, face up, and passing the iron over it just as you would iron a handkerchief, taking care, however, to pass down the nap, and not to stop in the middle of a pass, or you will leave the shape of the iron, which can only be removed by steaming again. This process makes velvet look lighter, and is very pretty in effect. Velvet ribbons can be done in the same way.

Cleaning Silks: Silks that are soiled, except "wash silks," must be well brushed in a gasoline bath. Spots may be taken out with ether or some of the preparations sold for the purpose. Often one can press creases out of silk (after the gasoline has entirely evaporated) without dampening it; this is well because it leaves it soft as new; but if the creases will not come out dry, steam it over an iron in the same way as directed for velvet, but with a thick pad of rolled-up cotton cloth or clean flannel brush out the creases on the iron, holding the pad on the creases for a moment to condense the steam; last pass it over the bare iron, and if stiff pull it on the bias both ways, which will soften the texture again.

Cleaning Ribbons: Ribbons are done in the same way, but some very stiff taffeta ribbons will not answer to this treatment, especially white, cream, or light fancy ribbons. For these we recommend an old-fashioned but excellent method. To half a pint of gin add a tablespoonful of soft soap and a teaspoonful of honey. Lay the ribbon on a clean table and scrub well on both sides with a large nailbrush dipped in the mixture; when clean rinse in several soft waters and roll in a clean towel, so that every bit of the ribbon or silk is between two cloths. When partly dry press with a fine smooth bit of muslin, like an old handkerchief, between the silk and hot iron. Black silks should be steamed with ammoniated water, and if very dusty may be wiped over with a cloth wrung out of cold tea, or better still, water in which raw peeled potatoes have been standing a few hours. Alcohol, too, is good to freshen black silk.

Cleaning Chiffon and Mousseline De Soie: These soft, sheer fabrics may be cleaned by shaking with the flat hand in gasoline; let it evaporate, then hold stretched on the straight over the full head of steam from a boiling kettle or saucepan; afterwards hold in the same way close over, but not on, a hot iron. There is, however, a washable chiffon that can be washed and ironed like muslin.

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