Every description of black si/k lace (or of black Scotch blond) may be made to look extremely well by the following process; either veils, shawls, scarfs, capes, sleeves, or trimming-lace. A black lace dress, must be previously taken apart, and all the loose threads or stitches carefully picked out. We will suppose the article that requires washing to be a veil that has been worn long enough to look soiled and rusty. By exactly observing the following directions, it may be made to appear fresh, new, and of an excellent black; provided always that it was originally of good quality, with no mixture of cotton in it. All lace articles of that brownish black, falsely called jet, are now mixed with cotton; and frequently have no silk at all about them.
In a large clean earthen pan, or a small tub, make a strong lather of white soap and clear soft water, warm but not hot. Mix with the suds a large table-spoonful of ox-gall. No family should be without a bottle of oxgall, which can always be obtained from the butcher at a very trifling cost. The gall as soon as brought home should be opened, its liquid poured through a funnel into a clean black bottle, and tightly corked. You may perfume it by putting in a grain of musk. It is useful in washing all sorts of coloured things, as it materially assists in preventing them from fading. Having stirred the gall well into the suds, put in the black lace veil, and work and squeeze it up and down through the lather for five minutes or more; taking care not to rub it. Then squeeze it out well, open it loose, and shake it a little. Next, transfer it to a second suds of clean warm water and white soap; adding a tea-spoonful of gall. Into this second lather infuse a large quantity of blue, pressed into the water from the indigo bag, and well stirred in. Having worked the veil up and down through this second suds for about ten minutes, alternately loosening it cut, and squeezing it up, but not rubbing it. Squeeze it finally as dry as you can, and then open it out widely.
Have ready in another pan some glue-stiffening, made as follows: On a bit of glue about the size of a shilling pour two jills, or a half-pint, of boiling water, and let it dissolve. After the glue is entirely melted, add to it a quart of cold water; and then make it very blue by squeezing into it a large portion of indigo from the blue-bag. Stir it well, and then put in the veil, rinsing and squeezing it up and down through the stiffening water. Having done this sufficiently, squeeze out the veil as dry as you can get it; then open it, stretch it, and clap it all over. Next, fold it evenly; roll it up in a thick clean towel; and let it rest for a quarter of an hour or more.
Spread a large clean linen cloth on your clothes-line, and hang the veil (well spread out) upon the cloth. When nearly, but not quite dry, take down the veil, and clap and stretch it again. Have warm irons ready. Lay a clean linen cloth over your blanket, and press the veil smoothly on the wrong side; first trying the irons on an old piece of thin black silk, crape, or gauze; lest they should be too hot for the lace, and scorch or discolour it.
The foregoing process (followed exactly) will restore to any article of good black silk lace that has become brown and soft by wearing, the deep black colour and consistence it had when new.
Be careful not to have too much glue, and to put plenty of indigo-blue into the second suds and into the stiffening water.
Before washing the veil, rip open the casing at the top, and remove the string. Afterwards, make a new case, and draw it with a new ribbon.
Fold up the scarf, and lay it in a thin cambric handkerchief, folded over so as to enclose the scarf, and secured by-basting it slightly with a needle and thread. Dip it in cold water. Make a strong lather with white soap and warm water; put the scarf, etc, into it, and let it rest all day. In the evening, make a fresh lather, and leave the scarf in it all night, (having first squeezed it well.) Next morning, make some thin starch. Shave small a quarter of a cake of white wax, and put it into two quarts of soft water; adding six lumps of loaf-sugar, and a table-spoonful of thin-made starch. Put these articles into an earthen pipkin or a porcelain kettle, and set it over the fire. On no account use, for this purpose, a vessel of any sort of metal, as it will discolour the lace. When the mixture has come to a boil, put in the scarf, (still folded in the handkerchief,) and boil it ten minutes. Then take it out, open the handkerchief, and if you do not find it perfectly white, return it to the pipkin, and boil it longer. Afterwards, take it out of the handkerchief, and throw the scarf into cold water. Squeeze and press it, till it drips no longer. Then open it out; stretch it even; and hang it in the sun. When almost dry, take it in, and iron it carefully on a linen cloth.
A veil, a shawl, or a pelerine of white lace may be washed in this manner.