Before you send a straw bonnet to be whitened, it will be well to remove whatever stains or grease marks may be upon it. Do this yourself, as many professed bonnet-cleaners are either unacquainted with the best methods, or careless of taking the trouble; and will tell you, afterwards, that these blemishes would not come out. You can easily remove grease marks from a straw, leghorn, or Florence braid bonnet, by nibbing the place with a sponge dipped in fresh camphine oil; or by wetting it with warm water, and then plastering on some scraped Wilmington clay, or grease-ball; letting it rest half an hour, and then repeating the application till the grease has disappeared. Magnesia rubbed on dry will frequently remove grease spots, if not very bad. To take out stains, discoloured marks, or mildew, moisten slightly with warm water some stain powder composed of equal portions of salt of sorrel and cream of tartar, well mixed together. Rub on this mixture with your finger. Let it rest awhile; then brush it off, and rub on more of the powder. When the stain has disappeared, wash off the powder, immediately, and thoroughly, with warm water. By previously using these applications, no trace of grease or stain will remain on the bonnet, after it has undergone the process of whitening and pressing in the usual manner.
In cleaning straw bonnets it is best to give them as much gloss and stiffening as possible. The gloss will prevent dust from sticking to the surface, and the stiff ness will render them less liable to get out of shape when worn in damp weather. For a similar reason, the wire round the inside of the edge should in all bonnets be very thick and stout. If the wire is too thin, even the wind will blow the brim out of shape.
An excellent way of cleaning and whitening straw or leghorn bonnets may be found in the House Book page 67.
In lining bonnets, always fit the lining on the outside of the brim. It is not only the least troublesome way, but the most certain of success. Nothing is more disfiguring to a bonnet than an uneven puckered lining - left too loose in some places, and stretched too tight in others, If the lining is drawn more to one side than the other, the brim will always set crookedly round the face, The best way, is first to fit upon the outside of the bonnet-front, a piece of thin, soft, white paper, pinning it on smoothly and evenly, with numerous pins. Then cut it the proper shape; allowing it rather more than an inch all round larger than the brim. From this paper cut out the silk lining; allowing still more for turning: in at the edges, on account of the silk ravelling. Then (having notched the edge of the lining all round) baste it on the inside of the brim, and try it on before the glass, previous to sewing it in permanently. See that it is perfectly smooth and even throughout. A white silk bonnet-lining should be of the most decided white, (a dead white, as it is called,) for if it has the least tinge of pearl, rose, blue or yellowish-white, it will be unbecoming to any face or complexion. Straw bonnets are frequently lined with white crape or tarletane.
The lining of a silk or velvet bonnet should always be put in before the brim is sewed to the crown.
In trimming a bonnet, after the bows, bands, etc, have ah been arranged with pins, sew them on with a needle and thread; and afterwards withdraw the pins. If pins are allowed to remain in, they leave a greenish speck wherever they have been; besides denting the straw, and probably tearing it. Also, sew on the flowers, after you have arranged them to your satisfaction.
Bonnet strings when somewhat soiled may be cleaned by rubbing them with scraped Wilmington clay, or grease-ball, or else magnesia. Roll them on a riobon-block with the clay upon them; let them rest a few hours; then brush off that clay, and put on some fresh Roll the ribbon again on the block, and leave it till next day. You will find it look much cleaner. It is well always to buy an extra yard, or yard and a half of ribbon, to replace with new ones the bonnet strings when soiled.
To keep the bows of a bonnet in shape when put away in the bandbox, fill out each bow by placing roils of wadding inside of all the loops.
A piece of thin oiled silk introduced between the lining and the outside, partly beneath the upper part of the brim, and partly at the lower part of the crown, will prevent any injury to the bonnet from perspiration of the head, or oiliness of the hair.
In bespeaking a bonnet of a milliner, always request her to send you the frame to try on, before she covers it; that you may see if it fits.
When a bonnet is to be sent to a distant place in a wooden box, (bandboxes should never visibly travel,) to keep the bonnet steady, and prevent its tumbling or knocking about, sew very securely to the brim and back, some bits of strong tape, and fasten the other end of each bit of tape to the floor of the box, with very small tack nails. Fill all the loops and bows with wadding as above mentioned. A bonnet thus secured may travel uninjured from Maine to Texas.