Still another fabric joins the color parade with results that delight the beauty lover
MARY AGNES PEASEMay151929
Linen's New Lure
Still another fabric joins the color parade with results that delight the beauty lover
MARY AGNES PEASE
THE shop windows display most alluring linens for the 1929 bride. I was gazing admiringly at some of the colored bed and table linen in one of these windows the other day, when two young things who were obviously bent on the important task of buying furnishings for their new home, paused to have a look also.
“Aren’t the colored tablecloths lovely, John,” said the little bride enthusiastically? “I’d love a green one.”
“All right,” returned the young man. “Get any color of tablecloth you want, but remember this—I won’t sleep in pink sheets!”
There is no doubt about it; the new colored linens are rather breath-taking. Somehow it never occurred to most of us that sheets or tablecloths could be anything but white.
But the old order changeth, and the bride’s linens today, whether for the dining room, bedroom, bathroom or kitchen, rival Joseph’s coat in color and lend themselves charmingly to various color schemes.
In the selection of colored bed linen one should be careful where the guest room is concerned, for it would be rather disastrous to have Nile green sheets for a very sallow guest, or rose-colored sheets for a red-haired one. A safe selection would be a pale primrose shade or white with colored borders.
The most popular material for the colored sheets is percale, which is satisfactory from every standpoint. It does not crush so easily as linen, and it has a gloss that cotton lacks. The colors in percale are particularly lovely—lavender, peach, green, rose, yellow and blue, with variations of tone in each shade. While there would be much to consider in making a satisfactory choice from such colors, a modern trousseau would hardly be complete if it did not include at least one or two sets of bed linen in color.
Much attention is being given this year to fine napery. For a good many years, complete cloths for the table have been considered old-fashioned, and long strips and doilies were the order of the day for practically every meal; but the pendulum is swinging back again, and once more our tables shine with napery and bloom with color.
The patterns, textures, and colors of present day linens are for the most part very different from those of our grandmothers’ day. The quality may be no finer, but it is softer and more graceful. The soft lines and subtle weaves impart a silky, delicate quality that is more desirable as a background for the table service than the damask of other generations. Progress in dyeing has had a marvelous effect on damask, the color and sheen of the new linens being surprisingly lovely and also unfading.
Napery and Glass
^OLORED table linen makes a most effective background for china and glass.
This is largely the result of contrast. Some delightful effects can be achieved by combining varying tones. For instance, what could be more charming than a primrose-colored cloth with blue glass and a centrepiece of mauve flowers shading to pink? With this might be used china with a cream background decorated with festoons of rosy flowers. The same cloth would make an effective background also for pink glass and applegreen china. The colored cloths seem to suggest artistic combinations—a green cloth with a centrepiece of daffodils and with white crystal'—a bronze cloth with yellowish glass and a good deal of blue in china and flowers—a blue cloth with silver candlesticks and crystal flowers.
Of course, some of the new linen is beyond the reach of the average purse, but really beautiful pieces radiant with color can be had at little cost. It is very heartening to find that beauty is not solely allied nowadays with very high quality in texture, but is to be found also glowing in quite commonplace materials. The purchase of a really good piece of linen is, however, an excellent investment because it will last indefinitely and always be a source of pride and pleasure. The old-time advice, “costly thy linens as thy purse can buy,” cannot be improved upon.
For those who find it difficult to depart entirely from the white or ivory tablecloth, the manufacturers have produced a type which is in touch with both the past and the present. The only color in these cloths is in the design. If the pattern be of roses, these are colored with indelible dyes in the natural shades. If the design be of fruit, the same method obtains. The effect of these delicate colors, in borders or scattered over the white cloth is indescribably lovely.
Many of the colored cloths can be used on either side. For example, a yellow cloth will have a design in a lighter color, while the reverse side will have a light background with the design in a stronger shade. A blue cloth will follow the same order with silver tones . . . and so it goes.
A table prepared for a meal should be a joy to the eye as well as to the palate. As in a picture, the background is of great importance, and therefore the linen foundation should be very carefully chosen for its color, its quality and its design.
One could hardly imagine a more beautiful wedding gift than a set of table linen in one of the new pastel shades. Every woman takes pride in the possession of lovely linens. This pride was born early in civilization. Flax was grown, thread spun and linen woven so long ago that no clear record of its origin exists.
It is gratifying to remember that the finest linens in the world are made in the British Empire. This is of particular interest at the present time when so much encouragement is being given to the purchase of goods made within the Empire. The Mother Country leads the world in the production of fine linens, Ireland and Scotland being, perhaps, the most prolific manufacturers.
Royalty has set the seal of its approval on the new linens, and is encouraging the purchase of it by practice as well as by precept. Both Queen Mary and the Princess Mary have made extensive purchases in damask of delicate colors. Our own Lady Willingdon has had some special table linen woven for her in Ireland, the napkins for which she asked to have made oblong instead of square, as this shape Her Excellency considered to be best suited to the purpose by providing sufficient length to hang comfortably over the knees and being less bulky in width. The manufacturers have evidently realized the advantage of this form, and the newest sets are made à la Willingdon.
Many of the modern tablecloths are made of material which is a combination of either linen and rayon or cotton and rayon. Very beautiful effects result from this alliance, for the rayon adds a wonderful sheen, particu-
larly when combined with cotton. Rayon is manufactured from a fibre made from either waste cotton or wood pulp which has been chemically treated. This fibre is then made into yarn for weaving and is considered a most satisfactory product. I saw a tablecloth which had been made from a union of cotton and rayon, and colored in a soft gold shade. The warm color, sturdy texture and satiny sheen of the material offered an interesting contrast to the silver, china and glass of the dinner table. There was no pattern in the cloth except at the border which was adorned with marching crusaders.
Another interesting cloth, illustrated, is also of cotton and rayon, but it is utterly different from the one just described, both in design and finish. This one is in texture very like mummy cloth, and color is introduced into it by squares of green and nasturtium tones arranged on a white background.
Tablecloths for every meal in the day show new life and color. Some of the breakfast cloths are decorated with gaycolored flowers on a natural linen background with the design in minimized form for the napkins. A design of tied bunches of flowers on a white or ecru background would lend life and cheer to any breakfast table. Some of the little sets for breakfast or for use in the country house are very lovely and quite inexpensive.
It is not to be supposed that with the innovation of color into linen the plain white tablecloth is to be abandoned as old-fashioned and out-of-date. There is an elegance about white and ivory damask that has a strong appeal, and that seems for various functions to be the only thing permissible—a wedding, for example, or a baptismal feast.
The return of the large tablecloth has renewed interest in hand-woven linens which have a lightness and flexibility that distinguish them from the machinemade product. There is great scope for individuality of design in hand-weaving. Sometimes a maker will use forms that are reminiscent, or, occasionally, those that record the influence of today. When the pattern is carried out in a slightly different tone from the color of the linen employed, the handicraft in both is considerably enhanced. Some beautiful examples of such handicraft are being made by the French Canadians and also by many of the New Canadians, both of which show that the spinning-wheel of old has still its usefulness, and that hand weaving continues to be an important factor in the making of fine fabrics.
Color for the Bathroom
TN THIS age of ingenuity the bathroom
also comes in for its share of delightful and efficient accessories. Such requisites as towels, bath-mats, and rugs, harmonize so well with the tiling or painted wood of the bathroom that they seem to be the work of the same artist. Some of the most colorful and interesting of the new bathroom sets are made by Canadian manufacturers and their cost is surprisingly small. The colors used in these sets are stronger than those used for the table linens or towels, including brilliant reds, yellows, purples, greens and blues, as well as the more delicate tones. Some of the sets, consisting of a rug, bath-mat, chair and stool covers—which pull tight over the seats and fit them perfectly—and a hopper cover, are in gay, matching colors, and show the possibilities of making utilitarian things the vehicles of our moods and tastes.
The shops are “so full of a number of things” for the bride, all of which are alluring, that it must often be difficult for her to make a wise selection. The color and security of dyes and the quality of texture have so advanced within the last few years that it is possible today to introduce into our homes fabrics that are practical, beautiful, and economical.
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