Have you ever noticed how much time your mother spends in taking care of the clothing that belongs to the different members of your family? When you were a very little girl someone had to take care of your clothing for you. Now that you are growing up how much of this can you do for yourself? Are you careful to hang up your clothing and to brush it frequently? Do you know how to take care of your shoes and stockings? Can you remove spots and stains from your clothing? Do you know how to put your woolen clothes away in the summer so that they will not be ruined by moths? Do you understand the process of laundering so that you can be an intelligent helper? If your clothes are done at a laundry, are you able to judge if they are well laundered or not? This chapter will tell you some things that will help you to take your share of responsibility in caring for your clothing.
It is easy for us to see why it would have been worth while for the girl in the story to give her clothing daily care. Even though we are not trying to obtain a position, there are other reasons for taking good care of our clothing. For example, it makes our clothing more hygienic, it makes it last longer and it makes our personal appearance more attractive. Discuss these three reasons for giving everyday care to our clothing. Before you read the following paragraphs make a list of the things which you think should be included in the daily care of clothing.
Why It Is Important to Use Clothes Hangers. - The two dresses in Fig. 111 have been hung up for the night. If they are hung this way every night which dress would you expect to be wrinkled and pulled out of shape? Do you think it is good economy to buy a five-cent coat hanger or to spoil your dress by hanging it over a hook? A coat, dress or sweater may be ruined by hanging it on a hook, because the hook may actually punch a hole through the garment. Wherever it is possible great care should be taken to hang clothes on hangers. Many a girl has used a home-made hanger, contrived out of a piece of broomstick about fifteen or sixteen inches long with its ends well smoothed and a stout cord tied to its center to suspend it from a closet pole or hook. A tightly rolled newspaper may be used in place of the broomstick as a temporary hanger.
Brushing and Airing Your Clothing. - Clothes often look old and dingy when they are full of dust and covered with lint. Since brushing is such a quick and easy thing to do it seems as though no one would fail to do it. Sometimes a clothes brush kept in a convenient place helps us to remember to brush our clothing every morning. How many whiskbrooms or clothes brushes should a household have and where should they be located so as to be most convenient? Occasionally the clothing should have a more thorough brushing. Why should this be done outdoors? A really thorough brushing should include brushing under collars and plaits, in seams and inside of pockets. After the clothes have been thoroughly brushed, it is a good plan to leave them hanging in the open air for several hours. Why are brushing and airing a means of keeping our clothing hygienic?
Pressing Helps to Keep Your Clothes in Good Condition. - Often garments can be made to look new and fresh if we take the trouble to press them. Woolen garments should be pressed on the wrong side because to press them on the right side makes them shiny. First, place a damp cloth over the garment and pass the hot iron over it. This steams the fabric, making it easy to press out the wrinkles. If there are parts of the garment that can not be pressed on the wrong side, the pressing can be completed on the right side, but you must be sure to leave the pressing cloth on the garment until you have finished the pressing. Have you ever seen a garment that looked old and crumpled, look almost new after a thorough brushing and pressing?
How to Care for Your Shoes. - Giving shoes proper care not only makes them look better but makes them last longer. Shoes should be kept polished because it protects them from moisture and keeps them looking well. It is easy to see that the two shoes in Fig. 112 have been given different care. Can you tell why one of the shoes in the picture has kept its shape and looks more like a new shoe? When shoes are not being worn they should be kept in shape with shoe trees. This is particularly important if shoes are damp when they are taken off. If you do not have shoe trees, the toes of the shoes may be stuffed with wads of paper. Drying shoes on a hot radiator or stove is injurious to leather, causing it to rot and break. Well cared for shoes are never permitted to have runover and crooked heels. It is not only untidy looking but is injurious to health in that it causes an unnatural standing position and makes walking or running difficult. One good rule is to have shoe repairs made as soon as any break appears or the heel begins to show wear. Another good shoe rule is to polish shoes every night when you take them off, rather than postponing until the morning rush time. What equipment do you need for an individual shoecaring- outfit? Where does the class think it should be kept? When shoes are not being worn they can be kept free from dust by keeping them in a shoe bag. Fig. 113 shows a convenient bag that can be hung on the closet door or on the wall in the closet.
Improving Your Own Habits of Caring for Your Clothing. - To what extent do you assume the responsibility of caring for your own clothing? Are you careless about polishing your shoes, brushing your coats, dresses and hats and sewing on buttons? Do you have to be reminded of these things or does someone have to do it for you? Discuss with the class what a girl of your age ought to do with respect to caring for her clothing. What daily habits should she have? What things should she do every week or occasionally? Make a list of rules about the care of your own clothing. At the end of the next two weeks every girl should make a report to the class on what she has done with regard to caring for her clothing. This report should include a statement of what daily habits she has started to form.