Not that washing dresses are always the cheapest investment in the end, for frequent visits to the laundry cannot be achieved without cost, nor do such visits tend to prolong the life of a gown whose lightness and fragility are amongst its many charms.
There is a decided vogue for plain little dresses, but they must be just right, or they will look dowdy, and they must possess a freshness that is almost crisp, for on this dainty simplicity all their charm depends.
The tub frock ranges from the simplest blouse suit made of zephyr, gingham, or casement cloth, guiltless of trimming, and depending solely for success on its simple cut and the chic way it is worn, right up to the elaborate confection of lace and cambric or broderie and muslin which is correct for a Royal garden party or the lawn at Ascot.
A moment arrives in every summer, though in some years it is long delayed, when we feel that we have positively nothing to wear, unless we have had the forethought to provide ourselves with tub frocks. Even blue serge fails to please, and flannel, though it be striped and suggestive of cricket, feels oppressive.
Our thoughts fly to crisp linen, soft casement cloth, cool cambric, muslin, mull, and zephyr. If we go on the river or to tennis in the sunshine, the woman is not well dressed who wears a ten-guinea tailor-made cloth, however light, but she who is clad in a cotton which has probably cost a few odd shillings.
Needless to say, it is the accessories that tell in this simple type of gown. Woe to the girl who is too prodigal of embellishment when planning her linen or cambric gown. Embroidered buttons form one of the safest trimmings. The fact that they are there for utility as well as effect ensures their striking the right note.
This is essentially an embroidery epoch, and it is not only the girl with little money to spend who makes her own trimmings by dainty stitchery, but also the woman who patronises the most expensive dressmakers in the world who has her gowns embellished
Embroidered buttons form one of the most suitable trimmings for a linen or cambric tub frock
2I96 with hand-made embroideries. Buttons can be adorned in various simple ways; some charming examples were shown in detail on page 240. Vol. I., of Every Woman's
Encyclopaedia, amongst which the spider and star designs in linen thread, matching the material or in contrasting colour, are very useful. Another method is to embroider a miniature section of the pattern that adorns the collar, cuffs, or skirt of the dress.
In our grape pattern, which is specially designed for broderie anglaise, a very attractive button design is given, and the practical worker will at once wonder how the holes of broderie anglaise work should be filled up.
There are two ways of tackling this difficulty, either to embroider the little grapes solid, as is done in our illustration, or else to make the eyelet-holes to match the rest of the ornament on the dress, and cover the mould with a piece of the material first before stretching over the embroidered cover. Then the material shows up and not the wooden mould.
It will not greatly signify if the main embroidery is in the perforated broderie anglaise, and the buttons worked in satin - stitch, provided the fabric and embroidery threads are identical.
If our pattern is studied, the merest tyro will see that it is full of possibilities. The vine itself, so beloved of the Italians, master artists of the world, has a decorative effect second to none in the realm of nature. The sprays, which are represented as a running pattern, can be separated if desired. The single piece in the section with the button will be found very useful where a small motif is required. If great width of embroidery is desired, the sprays can be repeated side by side, or a more elaborate border of parallel lines or scalloping combined with lines.
Such a pattern, measuring six: to eight inches in width, worked in broderie anglaise would make a superb trimming for a mull, muslin or white linen frock of the garden party type, and at the edge of a skirt or tunic would make any dress look effective; the pattern should be repeated on the bodice, and would probably work out best in pale blue thread in imitation of the Madeira work, pale blue on white, or in white thread on white mull.
All the grapes should be in open eyelet work. A large-sized stiletto will be required to make the holes, and in the case of the largest sized grapes a small round hole must be cut with sharp-pointed scissors, and the edges snipped and folded under. These folded edges form a nice firm border that can be worked simply in oversewing, or, if preferred, in buttonhole sewing.
It will be noticed that in this specimen piece the leaves are worked in satin - stitch outline, the veins of the leaves being done in the same way. If liked, the leaves can be worked solid by the painstaking embroideress, but we do not recommend this plan. The leaves of the vine are broad and heavy, and though Nature knows her business well enough to make us feel they are right when growing, such breadth when embroidered solid would be somewhat overwhelming and look clumsy.
It is a safe rule that all tub frocks should be short, a trying doctrine perhaps for those who are not blessed with slim ankles, but fashion is never kind to the thickly made girl, and if she feels her weak points keenly, she had better keep out of boats and off tennis-lawns, where neat footgear is all-important.
It is not fashion alone that decrees an off-the-ground length for the tub frock; it is
The grape pattern in which the grapes are worked solid. The leaves, being large, are better worked in outline only
The grape pattern in broderie anglaise, the smaller holes being oversewn, and the larger ones worked in button' hole'stitch commonsense as well, and when these two unite in making a decree-which very seldom happens-their law is as that of the Medes and Persians.
A vine pattern corner and border, which may be repeated for additional length if required. If placed side by side, the two repetitions will form a wide border. The single spray and the button also illustrated make suitable'dress decorations. This pattern is easily transferred by placing carbon paper under the page and running over its lines with a blunt stiletto or sharp-pointed pencil