Jun 262016

If you want to take a pattern of a piece of embroidery direct from the work itself, lay it, the right side up, flat upon a board or table and cover it with letter or tissue paper.
The paper should be of a good medium thickness, if it be too thick it will not take a clear impression of the pattern, and if very thin it is apt to tear.
Fasten the paper down upon the embroidery with drawing-pins and rub off the pattern with drawing-wax.
In default of the right kind of wax, the bowl or handle of a spoon, or a large silver coin will serve the purpose equally well, as will also some powdered graphite or charcoal.
The outlines will not of course, in any case, be very clearly defined upon the paper and will have to be gone over and carefully supplemented afterwards with a pencil.
Taking off the pattern with charcoal or graphite is less injurious to the embroidery than rubbing it off with wax or metal, as the pressure required in the latter case flattens the needle-work very considerably.
As soon as you have fixed the lines of the pattern by drawing them over with ink, it is ready for use.

Jun 162016

In order to test the fastness of the dyes, untie the skeins and pour boiling water upon them, leave them to soak for about a quarter of an hour, soap and rub them lightly with the hand from end to end and rinse them out thoroughly in as many changes of cold water as may be found necessary, until the water remain perfectly colourless.
Squeeze out all the water you can and let them dry quickly without exposing them to the sun.
Coloured cottons are often washed in vinegar, because it is supposed to affect the colour less than water does.
We have come to the conclusion after several trials that this is a delusion, for the good dyes keep their colour without the aid of vinegar and the bad ones wash out in spite of it.
The fast colours lose none of their beauty in the process nor does it affect the quality of the cotton; any excess of colouring matter which the fibres of the cotton may have absorbed in the process of dyeing is got rid of by this means.
If a piece of work has been done with unwashed cottons and the colours run in the first washing, you have only to rinse it out in several changes of tepid water to restore it to its original freshness and if you want to give it a yellowish tinge, it should be dipped it in weak tea or coffee.

Jun 062016

For Irish lace, it is said that new needlework of that kind had to be ironed; this should be done in the following manner: when the lace has been taken off its foundation, lay it, face downwards, on a piece of fine white flannel; then dip a piece of very stiff new organdie muslin into water, take it out again almost immediately and wring it slightly, so that no drops may fall from it, and then dab the wrong side of the lace all over with this pad of damp muslin and iron it with a hot iron which should be moved slowly forwards so that the moisture which the organdie has imparted to the lace may evaporate slowly.
Not until you are quite sure that the lace is dry should it be taken off the board.
There is no better way than this of giving new lace that almost imperceptible degree of stiffness by which alone it is often to be distinguished from old.
Water only does not stiffen the thread sufficiently and it is difficult with starch to hit upon exactly the right consistency, whereas the organdie muslin supplies just the needful quantity.
Embroidered network can be stiffened in the same manner and should be damped in the frame on the wrong side and not taken off until it is quite dry.
We even recommend embroidery on linen being treated in the same way but when the linen is very creased, cover it with a damp cloth and iron upon that first, then take the cloth away and iron the embroidery itself so as to dry it completely.

May 272016

In order to copy a pattern in this way, the first step is to tack or pin the piece of stuff or paper on which the copy is to be made upon the pattern.
In the case of a small pattern, the tacking or pinning may be dispensed with and the two sheets held firmly pressed against the window pane with the left hand, whilst the right hand does the tracing, but even then it is safer to pin or gum the four corners of the two sheets together, in case of interruption, as it is difficult to fit them together again exactly.
The tracing may be done with a pencil, or better still, with a brush dipped in Indian ink or water-colour paint.
The process of tracing is easy enough, so long as the hand does not get tired but as this generally comes to pass very soon it is best, if the pattern be a large and complicated one, to stick the sheets to the pane with strong gum or suspend them on a string, fastened across the pane by pins stuck into the window frame on either side.