The Costume Gallery


Ladies Indispensable Assistant

Author: E. Hutchinson

A Book Copyrighted in 1852






Discharging Colors

Colored silks are out into a copper vessel, in which water, with a half pound of soap dissolved. Then boil until the copper gives evidence of color. Then take out the silk, and rinse it in warm water. Then add more soap and boil as before until the color is discharged.


Re-dyeing Silks, or Changing the Color

You can dye all colors, black -- blues, green or black -- green, brown -- and brown, green.

To Dye Silk, Light Blue

Boil your silk in a solution of white soap and water until it is white; then rinse in warm water. Put the silk into a wash-basin, and cover it with cold water. From your chemic blue-bottle drop in one or two drops: this is sufficient, unless you wish to have the color darker -- in which case, more of your chemic blue must be used. Move your silk in the water until the blue is expended, which can be ascertained by holding up some water with your hand, and looking through it as it falls.

To Dye Silks, Green

A quarter of a pound of ground ebony-wood placed in a dish, and boiling water poured over it, stirred, covered over with a cloth a few moments, and strained off -- will color the silk, if put into the mixture for half an hour, grass-green, inclining to laurel. After the half hour, take the silk out, and rise in the same dish. Pour cold spring water into another dish, and put in a tablespoonful and a quarter of chemic blue; then rinse in spring water, and dry.

To Dye Silk, Brown, inclining to Mulberry

Boil, about two hours, two ounces of sumach or one ounce of galls, one ounce of logwood, two or three ounces of camwood or madder. Pour in cold water, and cool it down. If necessary to incline more to mulberry, ass a little purple archil. Pint in the silk, and simmer it for half an hour or more. Rinse in two waters, and hang up the silk to dry.

To Dye Silks, Red, Crimson, &c.

Dissolve two ounces of white soap in boiling water. Stir your silk shawl or dress in the liquid, rubbing with your hand any places looking soiled, until it is as clean as possible. Put it in one or two more of the same kind. Then rinse in warm water. Put the silk in a solution, in hot water, of half an ounce of Spanish annato, and stir for half an hour. Take it out, and rinse in clear water. Boil in copper, 20 minutes, a quarter of an ounce of cochineal. Dip out into a pan. Put silk in for thirty minutes. For scarlet, add to the above half a wineglass-ful of the solution of tin. When cold, rinse in cold water.

To Dye Black, Common Materials

Four pounds of logwood for four pounds of goods. Soak logwood twelve hours in soft water. Boil an hour, and strain. Dissolve one ounce of blue vitriol in warm water, and dip goods into it. Then turn the whole into logwood dye. If they are cotton goods, boil fifteen minutes, stirring, to prevent spotting. Drain, and do not wring goods. Hang them up to dry. Put then into water boiling hot, in which there is a half-teacupful of salt for two gallons of water. This sets the color. Goods must remain until the water is cold, and then dried without wringing. To set the color for black silk, put it into boiling hot suds.



To Clean Silk Goods

If dingy, rub dry bran on them carefully with a woollen cloth. Hard soap is best for washing silks of all colors except yellow -- and soft soap for that. Dissolve soap in hot water, the add cold, to make it lukewarm. Put in silks, and rub till clean. Take them out without wringing, and rinse in two portions of warm water. Add sulpheric acid enough to give it an acid taste, for bright yellows, maroons, and crimsons. To restore pink colors, add a little vinegar to the second rinsing water. For blues. Purples, &c., add pearlash. For scarlet, a solution of tin. For olive green, a little verdigris dissolved in the water. Fawn and brown, in pure water. Fold up silks while damp; after drying awhile, iron them on the wrong side, with irons just hot enough to smooth them.

To Clean Carpets

Take up and shake at least twice a year, if used much; and once, if not used, to keep out moths. Put straw under, to prevent dust grinding them out. If any moths are found, sprinkle tobacco or ground pepper on floor underneath. To remove grease, grate on clay or chalk very thick; cover it with brown paper, and put on a warm iron. Repeat it until removed. If it needs cleaning all over, spread it on a clean floor, and rub on, with a new broom, pared and grated raw potatoes. Dry perfectly.

To Clean White Kid Gloves

Rub on India-rubber, moist bread, or magnesia. If you cannot clean in this way, close the top of the gloves, and rub them over with a sponge saturated with saffron water. The color will be yellow or brown.

To Take Out Ink from Floors

Scour with sand wet with sulphuric acid and water. Then rinse with strong pearl-ash water.


 This presentation of the Ladies Indispensable Assistant has been made possible by loan from Making Time costume design.

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 Ladies Toilette Table

 The Work-box


 Etiquette for Ladies and Gentlemen



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