IT ISN’T quite like the old days when dear old ladies began a patchwork quilt for granddaughter’s trousseau long before any beaux had appeared. Still, the hope chest isn’t altogether empty when the great day comes. The June bride of 1934 is collecting lovely linen for her new home, and she is just as proud of it as though she had strained her pretty eyes over infinitesimal stitches. She may add an initial or some touch of decoration, but she buys most things readymade from the latest “showing” in the smart shops.
The trouble is to know just what to choose, and where to stop. There is such variety, so many charming patterns and styles, that one is tempted to extravagance. But there’s the budget. So the best thing to do is to make a list of necessities for the linen closet, and add to that if and when funds permit.
For your convenience, consider the supply for each room —kitchen, bedroom, bath and dining room. Let’s take them in order. In the modem home there is a well-thought-out color scheme for the kitchen, and you can carry this out in your towels and pot holders, even cleaning cloths if you like. You can have them plain, checked, striped or banded, often with an amusing design appropriate to their purpose. Whether you buy them by the yard or neatly hemmed ready for use, be sure to get good material which will absorb moisture well.
You may not need as many as your mother, with her big house and big family, always bringing someone home to dinner, but do have plenty. Even the best quality means a comparatively small outlay, and it is awful to be short of towels and dishcloths. For the average twosome family, the following is adequate to start with and is suggested as a minimum supply.
18 Dish towels 6 Dishcloths 4 Oven cloths or pot holders
6 Dusting cloths
6 Cloths for cleansing 3 Floor cloths 1 Chamois, for windows Linen or paper hand towels
Although they don’t exactly belong under the heading of "Linens,” this seems like the sensible place to consider oilcloth accessories for the new kitchen. So many novel and interesting ways of using this labor-saving material have been devised that it pays the young bride to take particular notice of them. As a covering for the kitchen table—if it needs one—or the dinette table, oilcloth squares may be obtained in colorings and patterns to suit any decorative scheme. Or if she prefers a scarf and place mats or doilies which will show off the fresh, colorful surface of her new table, she may also select them from a variety of designs in oilcloth. The kitchen or pantry shelves look all dressed up, and stay looking that way if they are lined with strips of oilcloth shelving with an interesting border hanging over the edge. The smartest of kitchen curtains may be fashioned from oilcloth in the same pattern as that which covers the seat pad on the kitchen rocker. Other little odds and ends made from the same material include holders for milk and bread tickets, covers for the cook book, and memo pad, a bag for clothes pins, and we might even suggest an apron for the bride herself. But that would come under the heading “Trousseau.”
Then the dining room or breakfast nook.
Every woman takes pride in a charming table and knows that handsome linen is the first requisite. It is as reflective of her good taste as the dishes she serves, so selection is important. The bride will want cloths and serviettes for the intimate little meal, and for the more formal occasions when she entertains at dinner, at tea and late evening affairs. Circumstances have to be taken into consideration, of course, but most housekeepers these days want both plain and fancy linen for their table, depending on the size of the home and the storage space, how much company they expect to have, and, of course, the money they have to spend.
Some like damask—satin, lustrous and always in vogue. Or you may like dainty, lace-trimmed linen for your background or the luncheon sets of place mats and runners which are now good style for formal meals. The list suggested includes both, with napkins to match, of course. There are beautiful patterns to choose from, and the only difficulty is to decide just which you like best. Breakfast sets are gay and getting gayer, it seems. So are luncheon cloths and cloths for the midnight spread. Color is popular, with often two or three shades combined in a smart design. Napkins are larger, for which we are all grateful.
For the modest home, as a minimum supply, the following is suggested :
1 Large double damask
12 Napkins to match
2 Small damask tablecloths 12 Napkins to match
1 Luncheon set
2 Breakfast cloths
6 Napkins to match each cloth
6, 8, or 12 Napkins to match
1 Silence cloth
1 Bridge table cover for
each bridge table Bridge tea sets according to the entertaining done
2 Buffet runners Asbestos mats
Buy Sturdy Towels
IT HARDLY pays to make your own sheets and pillowcases nowadays when you can buy them ready to put on the beds, and they don’t cost much, if any, more. Be sure to think of the size, for nothing is much worse than a “skimpy” sheet. Remember that measurements are given as cut before
hemming. My advice is to buy the 108-inch length, for when made up and washed it will be about 98 inches—a good length for comfort. Sheets wear better if the same end is not always put at the top, and for this reason hems are usually the same top and bottom. Pillowcases are made of tubular material to fit easily but fairly snugly, and you have a choice of plain or hemstitched hems or fancy edges. If you do not have the laundry done each week, you may need more than the following, but this will be a fair start:
4 Sheets for each bed 1 Spread for each bed
4 Pillowcases for each 1 or 2 Fancy blankets pillow or comforters
1 Mattress pad for each bed 2 Sets of covers for
2 Blankets or quilts for each dressing table or
No one ever had too many towels, and never were they more attractive. You can have them white with a colored trim or solid colors, but whatever you do get good quality and a decent size. Don't buy flimsy, overdecorated ones, especially for everyday use, for towels have to be laundered frequently and soon get raggy if they are not of sturdy
material. Whatever size or style you prefer, you will find variety in the shops, and the well-equipped bathroom will require:
6 or more hand towels for each person 6 or more bath towels for each person 6 to 12 guest towels 4 or more face cloths for each person
2 bath mats
1 shower curtain, if necessary.
The trademark of a reliable manufacturer is your best guide to satisfaction with your household linen. It is worth considering carefully and you can well be proud of a well-chosen supply.
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