This section is from the book "Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making", by Helen Kinne. Also available from Amazon: Clothing And Health.
Marjorie sent for samples of toweling materials. She also went to the town store to see what it had to offer, and to look for materials for petticoats and aprons. One day at school all the girls wrote for samples. Miss James criticized the letters, and chose the best one to be sent. Perhaps you can do this at your school.
What material is best for toweling? As soon as all the samples arrived at Pleasant Valley, Marjorie took them to school, and Miss James spent an hour with the girls studying the materials. The toweling samples were examined first. What a difference in them! Some are smooth and feel cold and look almost shiny, and others feel soft and look more fuzzy on the surface. Do you know why? It is because some are woven of linen fibers made from the flax plant, and others from cotton which comes from the cotton plant. Which do you think are made from cotton? Then, there is a difference in width: some are only 15 inches wide, and others are 18 inches.
Some have a red or blue edge, and others are plain. There is also difference in price. Which costs more, linen or cotton? Are the prices not given on the samples? Marjorie and the girls decided that the towels are to be one yard long. They would like to make four dozen for the sale and plan to tie them up attractively, half a dozen in a package. They had $25 left in the treasury from last year. As they will have many other things to buy, they decided to purchase cotton towels this year. Later, if there is enough money, they can add some linen towels. Cotton towels do not absorb the water as easily as the linen. We call this a difference in the properties of the two materials. Barbara Oakes said her mother always buys linen towels. Cotton fibers have a kind of waxy coating which throws off the water. Linen fibers draw in moisture quickly, and linen materials dry very rapidly. Why, then, is linen really better for dish towels?
Gingham, calico, and chambray are pretty and useful. Let us look at some of the other cotton materials. Miss James had many samples for the girls to see. Grandmother Stark sent over some from her piece bag. Perhaps your teacher will bring some, and your mother may send some, too. There are several samples of material for the aprons and caps. The blue and white, and pink and white stripes and checks are ginghams; the white with the little spots and thin stripes are percales. The plain blues and pinks are chambray; the plain blues and pinks of cheaper grade are ginghams. Those with printed designs on one side are calicos. The dark brown and blue samples are heavier and are called denims. Suppose we make a book of brown paper and mount all the cotton materials we can find. This book can be kept at the school for reference. Everybody must help. See if it is possible to write under each sample the name and common uses of the material as well as its price. Miss James had some smooth brown paper to fold for a book. She suggested ways to bind it. If each girl wishes her own book, a number can be made if so many samples can be obtained. Barbara and Marjorie decide to make their books at home.
There are several varieties of cotton flannel. The fuzzy soft cotton samples are outing flannels and canton flannels. What is the difference in their appearance? The canton flannel is heavier, and it has one twilled surface and one fuzzy surface. It costs 12 cents a yard and comes about 30 inches in width. Outing flannel, which is fuzzy on both sides, can be bought from 10 to 35 cents a yard, and it is 36 inches wide. The flannelette samples are also soft and cost from 8 to 12 cents per yard ; but flannelette is only 27 inches in width. It has a slight nap or fuzzy surface, and is sometimes plain in color and sometimes printed on one surface. Compare these three materials. Outing flannel is very dangerous unless treated with ammonium phosphate. Dissolve one quarter of a pound of ammonium phosphate, which costs about 25 cents, in one gallon of cold water. Soak the clothing in this solution for five minutes. This is easily done and may prevent much trouble. Can you tell why outing flannel is dangerous unless it is treated?
Fig. 3. - The girls made brown paper books for their textile samples.
Many other cotton materials are useful. Miss James has ever so many more cotton materials. She told the girls the use and name of each. Can we learn them all?
Cheesecloth. Thin, sheer, plain weave. Costs from 5 to 12 cents per yard, and comes 1 yard wide. It is used for wrapping butter or cheese, for curtains, and for many other purposes. It may be used for baby, too, because it is so soft. The unbleached cheesecloth costs from 4 to 12 cents and is 1 yard wide.
Crinoline. Something like cheesecloth in appearance and stiffer in texture. It is used by dressmakers for stiffening parts of garments. It comes from about 19 to 36 inches wide and costs 12 1/2 cents up.
Scrim. An open mesh weave but heavier than cheesecloth. It is used for curtains and household furnishings, and comes bleached or unbleached. What is the difference in their color? Cost, from 12 to 90 cents. Width, from 36 to 45 inches.
Cretonne and Chintz. Printed materials with flowers or designs on one side, sometimes on both. They cost from 12 to 75 cents per yard and are used for curtains, covers, cushion tops, etc. They vary in width from 25 to 36 inches.
Denim. Strong material and has an uneven twilled weave. It is used for furniture covers, for aprons, and for floor covering. It costs from 18 to 30 cents per yard and comes about 1 yard in width. Your big brother or father wears overalls of this material; perhaps some of the boys in school do, too.
Gingham. A material used for aprons or dresses, skirts, etc. It is from 24 to 30 inches wide and costs from 10 to 50 cents per yard; Fine ginghams are very beautiful. Sometimes they are plain in color or striped or in plaids.
Percale. A good piece can be bought for 12 1/2 cents per yard, 36 inches wide. It comes plain or printed, and is firm and closely woven. It is good for aprons or summer dresses.
Ticking. A material used for pillows or mattress covers. It is striped, is twilled in weave, and wears very well. It costs from 12 1/2 cents per yard up to 50 or 60 cents per yard, and is woven 36 inches wide.
Do you understand what is meant when we read that cloth is woven 36 inches wide? Do you know how cotton cloth is made and where it comes from?
Grandmother Allen told some of the girls; for she knows about all such things. In our next lesson we shall study where cotton is grown, and in another learn how it is woven. Another day we will learn the names of other cotton materials and their uses. Then, we can add them to our book of cotton samples. The little white box on Miss James' desk is a surprise box (Fig. 4). Any one who finds a new cotton material different from those studied at school, Miss James says, may drop it through the little hole in the cover of the box. What fun the girls of Pleasant Valley will have when it is opened.
Fig. 4. - The surprise box.
1. If you were buying kitchen toweling for use at home, what material would you buy?
2. Name three fuzzy cotton materials and tell their uses.
3. Decide whether you are to make a sample book. Begin to collect samples of cotton materials for it.
4. Write quickly on the blackboard the names of six common cotton materials. Ask mother to name six.