This month I’m delving into the chapter entitled “Upkeep of Clothing” in the Women’s Institute library of dressmaking volume. I’m now quite used to the judgemental tone of this book. I definitely feel like a lesser mortal because of my “slovenly ways”. But if I’m going to be judged, I may as well judge myself without reserve and this month I’ve decided to make myself a checklist to compare myself to the “ideal homemaker” in the book.
The list consists of the suggestions in the book for the proper care of clothing. I’m giving myself a score between 0 and 5, with the highest score awarded when I’ve made an exemplary effort in that area and 0 when I’ve made absolutely none.
Here’s the checklist. Do you score any better than me?
|1||Are clothes hung up in the wardrobe?||I’m not too good at keeping my clothes in the wardrobe. I have a massive pile of clothes heaped up on the chair beside my bed and another pile on top of the case carrying my extra duvet. I blame the yo-yo British summers where I often have to change what I’m wearing each day to suit the weather and keep on leaving clothes I’ve worn only once on the chair.||1|
|2||Do I have enough hangers?||Yes I do. They are nearly all wooden and I have even covered one myself. I even possess skirt hangers. Perhaps I could improve by sewing some skirt hooks into my me-made skirts. Anyway, I’m going to give myself a high mark on this.||4.5|
|3||Is there enough space in the wardrobe so clothes can hang properly||Absolutely not. My clothes are way to squashed in and I often need to iron clothes when they come out of the wardrobe as they have got crumpled in there. I really need a big tidy up in there.||2|
|4||Are moth treatments used?||Yes, I have some cedar wood little squares that I put in drawers and some cedar hangings that can be put on the clothes hangers. I’m not sure they are doing their job well though – I spotted lots of eggs in my woollens drawer. I gave the blocks in the woollens drawer a bit of a sand paper the other day and aired the clothes – scarves, gloves and hats. I’ll give myself a middle-range score for this, as I did tackle the woollens drawer, but really need to do the same in the wardrobe.||3|
|5||Do I air my clothes frequently?||Actually, no, but this book is converting me on this score. It has lots of benefits including preventing discoloration, discouraging moths and preventing mould.||0|
|6||Do I make sure others in the house tidy their clothes away?||Mr Steely is a very organised person and he doesn’t have too many clothes. Master Steely is the complete opposite, being very adept at mess, but I think we may have trained him well, as he hangs his coat up and any muddy football gear is shed near the washing machine.||4.5|
|7||Are my socks darned?||Actually, I have darned a couple of pairs of socks this year. I still haven’t made myself any socks yet, and haven’t bought any in about 3 years, so I have to be very careful with those I do use. I still have some more to darn though.||3|
|8||Am I up to date with other mending jobs?||No, I have a pile of these – including a crotch seem on my grey trousers which needs stitching up again. And yep, those cardigans with the holes in them. Enough said, this work is a priority!||0|
|9||Are my shoes and boots repaired at the heel?||I don’t have many pairs of shoes or boots that can be repaired in this way, but I did get my grey boots repaired recently. I wonder if it is possible to get a whole rubber sole replaced?||2|
|10||Do I store shoes so that they keep their shape?||Well, I don’t use shoe-trees or tissue, so I don’t think I score too well on this front!||0|
|11||Do I have a well-stocked mending basket?||Well, I guess I do have a good sewing kit. Specifically, for mending I do have some darning wool for my socks, but no darner.||4|
|Wearing clothes responsibly and upkeep|
|12||Do I roll down tights to put them?||Is there any other way to put on tights?||5|
|13||Do I pull off gloves gently?||Yes, generally I do. I think this advice is really for leather gloves and yes I do treat those with care.||5|
|14||Do I take care to make sure shoes don’t get wet?||This is clearly written by someone who doesn’t live in the South West of the UK. I would never venture out the house at all, if I only went out when rain wasn’t forecast. I do have a hierarchy of shoes though and I don’t wear the “best” ones in the rain unless caught unawares. Wet shoes should be dried slowly to prevent cracking, according to the book. I always make sure the shoes are never near a radiator and I leave them to dry without wearing them for a few days.||4|
|15||Do I polish my shoes?||Occasionally – I probably could take better care of them.||1|
|16||Do I remove stains and spots promptly?||Yes I do. I’m usually quite upset when I spill something on my clothes, so I generally try to remove it as soon as possible.||5|
My total is 44 out of a possible 80 points. My challenge for the next couple of months is to try to improve on my score and I shall start with organising the wardrobe properly and doing my mending jobs.