Several kinds of rich materials contain sufficient body to hold them in a given position for a considerable length of time; this is especially the case in regard to silks, which are raised to various figures in the following manner: The silk being in the bolt, one side is opened, and the first fold turned back. It is then moved round to face the operator, who must now take the second fold by the two corners, turning them in and keeping them firmly in hand by a pressure toward the center, so as by two or three slight jerks, to obtain sufficient air within to raise the figure desired. The simple secret being that air is brought into the fold and resisted by pressure of the corners inside, there is sufficient strength in the fabric to maintain the position. The art of raising silk lies not so much in hammering away upon the counter, as in closing the selvages by a light jerking pressure towards the center, simultaneously and equally, with both hands. There should be sufficient bulk in the bolt of silk to resist puffing operations; if not, this must be made up by placing a weight on the side folded up, or it may be held by some one pressing on each selvage.

FIG. 1.

A really good plain silk has a fine effect when raised to the bold outline represented by Fig. 1, but with a flimsy silk this figure should not be attempted, as it generally caves in, and so discloses the poverty of the fabric. It is a plain, solid-looking puff, and to produce needs no particular movement beyond that already described; although many trimmers adopt the plan of pressing with the fingers towards the body, guiding the raising of the puff with the thumbs pointing upward and away. Adopting something like Fig.2 (which is produced by raising as for Fig. 1), while blowing the center down, or hitting it a smart cut with the hand when the silk first rises, a puff is obtained suited to any quality of goods. Rich goods always give a bolder outline.

FIG. 2.

FIG. 3.

Figure 3 shows a pleat on either side, obtained by turning in the selvages and taking the crease so made in each hand, thumbs being out, and pointing over the fold in the piece toward each other. By raising and dropping the silk and drawing the thumbs together in a dexterous manner, a pleat may be produced, when the silk can be puffed as before. These three figures represent the simpler forms of draping generally in use, Fig. 1 being especially adapted to rich plain silks, satins, or very large figured designs. Fig. 2 may be employed for any quality of plain material, but having an extra bearing in the center it is well suited to cheap, sheer goods. Fig. 3 is very effective for either plain or fancy goods, and particularly for small designs. Any of these figures look very handsome when displayed on the top of shelving; but to accomplish this it is necessary to pin the selvages inside the puff, and the exercise of care in fastening them to any sort of support used. For a first row in the window puffed silks may be placed a few inches apart to allow other figures between—say a silk opened toward the window in book form, the first fold being taken by the selvage at the centre in one hand, pressed in, and raised, while with the other a foundation or form of disposal is fashioned similar to Fig. 4.

FIG. 6.

Perhaps the prettiest as well as the showiest of this class of puffs is Fig. 5, which is made by taking the silk as before and pleating the top of the puff to show three or four creases from the center. This figure requires support, owing to the width of silk taken up in pleating. Therefore a thin pine board or stiff cardboard should be used for this purpose, being first cut to fit under the creases. Another showy and easily-made puff is Fig. 6, which when carefully placed has a very imposing effect. The silk disposed in this manner reflects the light from all directions, often enhancing the beauty of the fabric. We have here a whole or large piece of silk standing on end, with three folds brought out and pressed down from the end of the fold. Sometimes for weak silks pasteboard or cardboard is placed upright inside each to give strength to the figure.

FIG. 7.

Figure 7 represents a simple folding over of two opposite corners. The silk being wide open on the counter, the furthest corner on the right hand is brought to the center of the near selvage; the top left corner treated similarly. The silk is then closed up and placed on end. A good bold figure is thus produced for either plain silk or satin. Either for interior or window decoration, Fig. 8 will be found "useful as well as ornamental." It is obtained by pleating a fold into a number of small creases, which when taken sufficiently far—say six creases—should be brought up from either selvage and pinned, being still held down in the center. This fan-like portion may lean against a strip of cardboard. As a finish to the figure, the next fold may be placed as in Fig. 4, but this can only be accomplished on a foundation or wide folding-board. Fig. 8 perhaps more than any other requires careful handling, or a good silk may be so creased and drawn out as to necessitate re-ironing. Figure 9 represents a wooden frame or stand upon which may be displayed to advantage silks, velvets, plushes and other dress goods and trimmings for counter, cornice and show window use, by which a piece of the materials mentioned can be draped and carried about without much disarrangement of the goods from their original folds.

These figures are draped from "drums" elevated by means of light board boxes. The lower figures are two feet in height, the upper being a little over three feet in height. The background should be material of a color that will most strongly bring the silk into relief. The floor of window should be of light China silk arranged in small puffs or pleats.

FIG. 9.

FIG. 10.

Figure 10 represents a piece of silk when ready to be placed upon the stand. This arrangement is made as follows: Open one side of a piece of silk, take first fold and refold in original folds and place under the paper on opposite half of the bolt. Then count off five folds to be used in displaying, and refold remaining silk. The piece is now ready to be placed upon the stand.

To produce the simple effect as shown in Fig. 11, place the silk on the frame and take the first and fifth folds and allow them to hang over each side of the bolt so as to hide the frame. Then turn in from the top and bottom the remaining three folds as shown in Fig. 11. To show trimmings on the display, place the piece of trimming under the frame from the back and bring the end over the top or through the folds.

FIG. 11.

FIG. 12.

To produce Fig. 12 use the same five folds. Place the first and fifth folds on each side of the frame, turn the second and fourth folds from the top, and slightly from the bottom, and let them hang down. Then turn the third fold in and up over top of piece of silk. If trimming of another color is used, place it under the frame from the back and bring the end through the top fold, as shown in Figure 12. When a short length of silk is used, the folds maybe pinned to make them secure.

FIG. 13.

To produce Fig. 13 use five folds as before, the first and fifth on each side. Take the second fold by the lower end and carry (to the left) to top and center of the bolt. Then place finger in the center of the fold, at the top, and bring the fold over the finger to the center of the bolt and allow the end to hang over the back. The fourth fold should be draped in the same manner, except to the right. Then take the third fold and fold it in at the top and slightly at the bottom, and allow it to hang down With a little practice the silk (or any kind of dress goods) can be placed on the frame in any of the foregoing styles in a few minutes, and they are not easily pulled out of shape while there.

In Fig. 14 seven folds are used. The first and seventh are allowed to hang on each side of, and concealing the frame. The second and sixth are turned in from top to bottom as in Fig. 11. The third and fifth are folded back and allowed to hang over the top in the same manner as the second and fourth folds in Fig. 13. Then turn in the fourth fold as shown in Fig. 14.

FIG. 14.

We have here noticed some of the various figures generally in use with the trade, but the window-dresser should not be confined to any one set of figures; his object should be to display his goods in manner and order best suited to the various fabrics. For instance, many of the soft twills now so much used can only be shown by puckering one or two folds very lightly, to give a graceful effect; while some large patterns or heavy watered goods should be opened wide and displayed as boldly as possible. Irish poplins and the goods they represent are generally opened to the fullest extent; two or three yards may be opened and brought over a stand. Sometimes the front row is made up by puckering a few yards over the length of the roller slightly raised.

Velvets require a very different mode of treatment; and will not bear pulling about too much, or the folds slip at once. They form very effective puffs, as Figs. 1, 2, 3, 11, and 12. When well and carefully done, two or three figures similar to those in use for cambrics may be of service; or when the corners of a fold are brought back to form a point in the center and a rest behind. By taking the center of the fold between the thumb and finger, and holding slightly inclined, the corners will drop back to the position required. This figure is adopted with plain silks, which are sometimes carried to the back of the window, back rows being held up with a pin and cotton.

The following color combinations for silk displays will • be found to blend harmoniously:

The background is draped with silk hung from a rod or curtain pole. The two side pieces at the back are formed of high drums or columns, eight inches in diameter and eight feet in height. The lower figures are draped over drums, and the side pieces are bust forms upon which is shown a silk waist. The floor of window is of wide silk lace and silk pocket handkerchiefs.




Light Blue



Coral Pink




Eau de Nile








Bright Blue





Smoke Drab















Dark Navy

Dark Drab

Dark Peacock





These may be changed for fancy goods, or soft goods, or satins, or velvets, or the whole may be carefully mixed. White and black can be used to improve or divide any trying colors. No better effect can be added to a silk window than that produced by a piece of rich white lace, opened out and festooned over the successive pieces; and as a question of effect no silk window is complete without the addition of such things as trimmings, flowers, fans, muffs, sunshades, millinery, and such like fancy articles in season, judiciously arranged. As in a picture, various objects and figures are introduced to give character to the work, the whole must be uniform, and each color should harmonize.