Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Ironing and Starching of a Lady's Shirt

A LADY'S PRINT SHIRT.  After washing, this should be put through thin hot-water starch before it is hung up to dry.  This will give a slight stiffness to the body part of the front.

Hot-water Starch.  For a moderate quantity take three tablespoonfuls of dry starch, and mix into a smooth paste with cold water.  Then pour on fast-boiling water, stirring all the time, until the starch runs clear.  the addition of a little shredded wax makes the iron run more smoothly when ironing the article.  Hot-water starch is usually diluted according to the material to be starched, and no hard and fast rule can be given.  For thinning starch the water need not be at boiling-point, a slightly cooler temperature is quite sufficient.

When quite dry starch the cuffs in cold-water starch in the same way as a gentleman's shirt, then starch the collar and band down the front.  Always wet the part just beyond where the starch should come to prevent the latter spreading where it is not wanted.  Sprinkle the dry parts of the print with cold water, roll up tightly, and wrap in a towel ready for ironing.  To iron, unroll the shirt and place it with the neck towards the edge of the table.  Iron the collar first until dry, then the yoke on both sides.  Next iron the cuffs in the same way as ordinary cuffs, and run the iron inside the sleeve for a little way to dry the gathers and the hems of the opening.  Then iron the sleeves, laying out as much as will lie flat on the table and ironing it front and back.

Slip the hand inside occasionally to prevent the two sides sticking and causing creases.  Iron well into the gathers top and bottom, finishing off the top of the sleeve from the inside with a small iron.  If a sleeveboard can be used the ironing will be found much simpler.  Damp over any parts that are too dry, and iron all smoothly.  Finish off any corners, hems, tapes, etc., and air well before folding.  The cuffs and collar may be polished if wished.

From Every Woman's Encyclopedia, volume III.  Several volumes of this useful and informative Edwardian compendium may be found on (caveat lector; you will find yourself dallying on this website for hours).


Bunnykins said...

I hate to say it, but that's exactly how my mother taught me to iron a blouse or a shirt. Yikes! Thank goodness for permanent press.

Sam said...

My sister was working at a Summer Stock Theater when an actor claimed his shirt was not starched enough. Other actors tried to stop him, but his mouth kept going. So my sister got a box of starch, mixed it up, dipped the shirt in it and left on a brown deck in July to dry. Let's just say after 2 hours, the silly actor could lower his arms but after 3 hours, he needed to shave his chest to get the starch out.

Lynn said...

Holy moly. The encyclopedia is AMAZING. Thank you.