The damage here is chiefly of two sorts; thin places where the laundry has removed stains - always without chemicals of course !- and perhaps a little hole in the middle, and clean knife cuts. The latter should be darned at once, whether it crumples the cloth or not, while other darns are usually left till the cloth is ready for the wash.
To darn a cut, first catch its edges lightly together with coloured cotton, so that it lies quite flat and closed. Then thread a crewel needle with medium course linen thread for a tablecloth, or with fine thread for a fine d'oily. The shape of the darn will be a parallelogram, the sides slanting according to the direction of the cut, but the stitches always exactly in line with the selvedge of the material. When the darn is completed to about half-an-inch beyond each end of the cut that is sufficient, and you have then only to remove the coloured cotton.
A round hole or thin place is darned just as a stocking-hole, but you must be more careful than ever that the crossing threads do not go through the material, but only pick up the first darning threads, and see that you do pick up the threads entirely without splitting them.
When table-cloths get worn or frayed, or in any way damaged at the edges, it may be possible to mend and darn and even patch the edges for a little while; but the most satisfactory way in the end is to cut the edges right off and turn down a hem. The cloth will then take on a new lease of life. Tray-cloths.
Speaking of the ravages of the laundry, reminds me of the way tray-cloths and fancy tea-cloths get torn if there is any drawn-thread work or hem-stitching. Most housewives have had occasion to mourn damages such as the one illustrated on page 92. Now a quick way to repair hemstitching or narrow drawn-thread work, when it runs all round the cloth, is to put some of Cash's insertion over the damaged line, carrying it right out to the edge of the cloth, since it is a little difficult to make neat at the corners; featherstitch down each side of the insertion. Or a narrow insertion can be crocheted. The specimen shown is simply loops of 5 ch, each row caught into the row below. This does well to go with a firm material.
When fancy corners get torn out, a square of fine crocheted filet mesh can be let in, and the material cut away to fit. If the cloth is too thin to take anything as strong as crochet, a piece of darned net let in will often look well, and give the cloth a new lease of life. Also, you can get from Messrs. S. Peach & Co., The Looms, Nottingham, small squares in fine machine-made net, that are not so heavy as crochet for letting into a cloth that is partly worn. And these are quite inexpensive; they are about 5 inches square. (See illustration on page 93). "Hedge-tear" in a Dress.
This is unfortunately as common as it is annoying, and not so very easy to repair either. First of all, if the dress be lined, you must get a hem or seam open somewhere in order to work on the wrong side. Then catch the edges of the tear together, keeping them very flat, and if it be large or awkward to hold, or very dark in colour, tack the whole smoothly on to a stiff piece of white card. Now choose your darning thread and needle. For a woollen dress there is nothing less conspicuous than raveilings of the material itself, but failing this the silk or wool must be matched very carefully.
Use as fine a needle as is practicable. Start darning from half-an-inch to an inch beyond one end of the tear and work backward and forward across it, going on each side half-an-inch beyond the frayed portion. However much frayed the tear may be, do not cut away the roughness, but stroke it flat with the needle, and be very careful to weave the darning strand neatly and securely through it. Work right to the end of one slit, and then start from the further end of the other slit, so that the 2 sets of darning meet and cross at the angle, thus giving additional strength just where it is most needed. The darning completed, you can then remove the tacking stitches and the card, and with a warm iron press the place firmly on the wrong side. If in tearing, the material has been dragged very much out of shape so that now it is darned it does not lie flat, put a damp cloth over it, and iron through that till the cloth is dry. Then repeat the process, if necessary, so long as it seems to be doing any good at all. It is wise first to try on the back of a hem or seam whether the material will stand this without changing colour or cockling. Then you have simply to replace your hem or seam, and wear your dress, determined to believe that everyone else does not know exactly where to look for that darn. Those Stocking Legs!
Even when the feet of stockings seem to be too far gone to be of any use, it is possible to turn them to practical use if the legs are all right. The little petticoat illustrated on page 94 illustrates this.
Cut off the worn portion. Then cut the stocking down the back seam. When the pieces are spread out flat, it will be seen that they are gore-shaped, being wide at the top of the stocking, and narrowing as the heel is approached. By joining a number of "legs" together, the wide partgives the neces-sary flare at the bottom of the petticoat, and the narrow part goes into the waist-band . Bind the bottom with some crimson bra id, and put the upper part on a waistband, and you will have a warm petticoat that will be a boon to any poor child.