A Study of Bed Coverlets. - Choosing the bed cover is part of the art problem in furnishing your room attractively. It makes a large spot of color and should be in harmony with the other colors in the room. In which of the two rooms that are described below would you use a white bedspread ? One room is finished with light, cream - colored walls, and white painted woodwork. The curtains are of white dotted Swiss and the furniture is painted light gray. The other room has mahogany colored woodwork and furniture, dark blue and red rugs, rose gray walls and brightly colored cretonne curtains.
A few years ago the white bedspread was considered the only correct bed cover. Recently the colored bedspreads have become popular. Many years ago, in the days of our great-grandmothers, colored bed coverlets were commonly used. These were hand-woven and often very beautiful in design. Fig. 147 shows a part of one that was made with a blue and white pattern. Perhaps some girl in the class can bring a hand-woven coverlet from home so that the class can see it.
It is just as important to have real materials to work with in studying bedding as when you were studying curtains and rugs.
An interesting way to study bed coverlets will be to answer these questions about each of the following kinds: Marseilles, riplette, dimity, crochet or honeycomb. Crochet is a trade name used for a heavy material that is not at all similar to hand-made crochet.
1. Does it wrinkle easily?
2. Will it soil easily?
3. Is it light weight so it will be easy to handle in laundering?
4. How expensive is it?
5. Can it be secured in colors?
6. Will it launder well?
7. What words describe the texture of each kind?
8. What special characteristic has each cover that distinguishes it from the others?
9. What other kinds of materials are suitable for bedspreads? The Bedding That Keeps Us Warm. - Have you ever wondered why the blankets on your bed are made with a soft, fluffy nap? The purpose of the blanket, as you know, is to keep you warm and the fluffy nap on the surface of the blanket helps to do this. You will remember that when you studied about underwear you learned that air is a poor conductor of heat and that materials which have many tiny air spaces are warmer than other materials. This is the reason that blankets are made with the fluffy, napped surface. The nap is raised by brushing or scratching the surface of the blanket after it is woven. Which do you think is warmer, a blanket with a thin nap or with a thick, heavy nap? Why? What other materials do you know that are made with a napped surface?
On a very cold winter night would you rather have a cotton blanket or a woolen blanket? Why? The woolen fiber is a poor conductor of heat and prevents the heat of the body from escaping. Can you think of an occasion when a cotton blanket would be more comfortable than a woolen blanket? Although the woolen blanket keeps us warmer it is not always desirable to have an all-wool blanket. A pure wool blanket is expensive and is difficult to launder. Therefore, many people think that a combination wool and cotton blanket is more satisfactory because it is cheaper and more easily laundered.
Instead of blankets you may have quilts or comforters on your bed to keep you warm. Comforters, which are also called comforts or comfortables, are made by covering a cotton or wool wadding with some soft material, such as sateen or silka-line. Which would be warmer, a cotton or a wool filling in a comforter? The cotton-filled comforter or blanket loses its fluffiness and mats more easily when washed than the wool comforter or blanket. Why would a cotton blanket that has been washed a great many times not be as warm as a new cotton blanket?
Quilts are made with less filling than is put into comforters, which, of course, makes them less warm and lighter weight. They are fastened together by rows of stitching instead of being tied together as comforters are. Many of these are what our grandmothers called "pieced quilts," because they are made by piecing together many small pieces of cloth. Comforters are also often made with "pieced" covers. Some of these are very beautiful in design and color. It is an interesting art problem to study the design of quilts. Have you any "pieced quilts ' at home? Do you know the names of any "pieced quilt" patterns?
Sheets and Pillow-cases. - Have you ever wondered why it is that sheets and pillow-cases are not finished with a napped surface like blankets? When we stop to think about it we know that the smooth texture of the sheet and pillow-case is more comfortable to sleep on than the fuzzy texture of a blanket. For this reason sheeting is always made with a plain weave and a smooth finish. One standard by which we judge sheeting is the smoothness and evenness of its texture. Examine some samples of sheeting and pick out those which are smoothest and finest in texture. Sheeting varies from coarse, unbleached muslin to a high-grade percale sheeting.
Sheets not only protect us from the roughness of the blankets but they protect the blankets from becoming soiled by constant use. They should be long enough to tuck under the mattress properly and to turn back sufficiently so as to keep the edges of the blankets and quilts clean. The most popular length for sheets is ninety-nine inches, but many people prefer the 108-inch length in order to turn back at least ten inches over the blankets and comforts. Some sheets are only ninety inches in length, but these are so short that they are very unsatisfactory.
Since sheets and pillow-cases are used to protect the other bedding from becoming soiled they must be laundered frequently. Such frequent laundering makes it desirable to have durable material that will not wear out too rapidly. If you are buying bed linen you will find it helpful to ask the following questions in judging its durability.
1. Is it a close, firm weave? An open weave will not wear well. This can be tested by holding the cloth between the fingers and trying to separate the yarns. If the yarns separate easily it is not a close, firm weave.
2. Is the sheeting made of strong yarn? This can not be tested in ready-made sheets, but if you are buying sheeting by the yard, a thread can be ravelled out and tested for breaking strength.
3. Does the sheeting have a pasty look? When the sheeting is loosely woven it is often heavily sized or starched to make it look firm. If the sizing is very heavy it can be detected by scratching the cloth with the fingernail. Samples from the sheeting can be tested by rubbing between the fingers or by washing. When the sizing washes out it leaves the material limp and sleazy.
A Problem for You to Do. - Is it cheaper to buy sheeting and make the pillow-case, or to buy pillow-case tubing or to buy pillow-cases ready-made?
Estimate the amount of money saved if you should buy material for two sheets and two pillow-cases and make them at home, instead of buying them ready-made. Your mother may be able to help you with this problem.
What Makes a Bed Comfortable to Sleep On. - Why is it that beds are made with springs and mattresses instead of being made with a hard surface like the top of a table or a floor? Perhaps you have heard someone say, "That is a comfortable bed." This means that the bed is just soft enough for the body to lie straight without the bed sagging in the middle or is not so hard that it is uncomfortable to sleep upon. Why would it be injurious to one's health to always sleep on a bed that sags badly in the middle? In buying mattresses and springs we should be sure that they are of a good quality so that they will not soon give way and sag after they have been used for a short time.
Mattresses and Pillows. - The most commonly used mattress is the cotton-felt mattress which is made by building up the padding in layers as shown in Picture 1 of Fig. 148. This makes a better filling than where the cotton is merely stuffed into the ticking. The cotton-felt mattress when made of good quality cotton gives very good service and is very comfortable.
Some mattresses are made with springs inside like the automobile seat, as shown in Picture 2 of Fig. 148. These are very comfortable because the springs keep the mattress from becoming hard and matted. However, this mattress should be of good quality. Otherwise the springs may become weakened, causing the mattress to sag and become bumpy and uneven. Have you ever seen the seat of a chair or an automobile where this has happened?
A filling that is sometimes used instead of cotton is the fluffy down that comes from the seed of a plant similar to a milkweed. This is called kapok and makes a soft fluffy filling, as shown in the third picture of Fig. 148. Kapok is likely to mat down after use and become bumpy. Sofa pillows are often stuffed with kapok. Why would it be a very unsatisfactory filling for bed pillows? The most commonly used stuffing for pillows is feathers. Goose or duck feathers make the best filling because they are light and fluffy. Chicken feathers are heavy and do not make as comfortable a pillow. Why would a bed pillow stuffed with cotton not be comfortable?
Some Ways That Help to Keep the Bedding Clean. - Good housekeepers generally keep a thin pad on the top of the mattress. This makes the mattress more comfortable to sleep on and also keeps it from becoming soiled. It can easily be laundered, which is, of course, not the case with a mattress. Mattress pads can be bought ready-made to fit the bed or old blankets and quilts make satisfactory substitutes.
Some housekeepers protect the mattress by covering it entirely with a strong material such as muslin. Another device to help keep the bedding clean is to cover the top and bottom edges of blankets, quilts and comforters with a thin cotton material such as silkaline or cheesecloth. This cover should be sewed on by hand, so that it can easily be removed and laundered.
Questions to Answer About Your Own Bedding. - 1. What bedding would you like to have for your bed if you could have exactly what you desire? Remember to plan for different seasons of the year. 2. Do you know any standard makes of mattresses or bed springs? Study magazine advertisements and visit stores to learn about them. Making a Plan for Your Real Room. - Although it is fun to plan an ideal room regardless of expense, you should learn how to plan for your real room.
1. Find out what it cost to furnish your room as it is.
2. If you could change one thing in your room what would it be?
3. Decide by discussion and class vote what amount of money should be allowed for furnishing a girl's bedroom.
4. Make a plan showing how you would spend this amount of money to furnish your bedroom. This plan is to include the necessary things for the bedroom and the cost of each.