It’s been a lovely sunny day and I’ve been able to do three loads of washing, and pegged it all out on the line, gathered it all in and ironed it. I’ve mentioned before that this simple task of put out washing on a clothes line can be done in a variety of different ways – and when staying with friends and I go out to help put their laundry on the line, or they are staying with us and come out to help me, I notice how we do thing differently. Shirts for example… do you hang them upside down? Do you use two pegs or three? And trousers, do you hang them from the waist band or the cuffs? if you hang them by the legs are those legs side by side, or are they apart on different strands of line (this depends what sort of washing line you have of course!) Even something as simple as socks, do you peg them by the tops or toes?

In the book I was given, published in the 1960’s but written much earlier, The Happy Housewife, there is a whole section on washing entitled Washday Without Tears (Washing without Weeping would have been more alliterative!) there are sections of every aspect of the processes of cleaning garments… but since I’ve been thinking about drying clothes, here is a nice little section of advice:

Odds and Ends

  1. When putting clothes through a wringer, see that buttons and trimmings are folded inside for protection.
  2. Berets and caps can be dried successfully on plates or basins of an appropriate size.
  3. When indoor drying is obligatory, hang clothes away from direct heat in a current of air. A drying cabinet is a boon to flat dwellers.
  4. Do not peg corsets and girdles for drying by the shoulder straps or suspenders. Hang lengthwise.
  5. Try to organize equipment so that you can sit comfortably to iron. The knack is worth acquiring because it immediately reduces fatigue. Right iron temperature and degree of fabric dampness are the secret of efficient ironing. Tremendous pressure is unnecessary.
  6. Plastic coated washing lines can be wiped clean. For indoor lines, fine nylon carries a great weight and takes no storage space.

Now we have a spinning function on washing machines we no longer need a wringer or mangle, and I don’t suppose we ever worry about buttons and trimmings… and who would wash a beret and put it on a basin of appropriate size? I shall remember it though, just in case I ever have a beret which needs washing. I actually was given a drying cabinet by my aunty when I lived in a flat… and it was a boon! … as for corsets and girdles… well! … and apparently ironing boards you can sit at were the latest thing! I can’t quite imagine doing it sitting down, I must say! You might wonder why you might need to wipe clean your washing line… well, when this was written towns and cities had dreadful air quality from all the coal fires, domestic and industrial… I remember my mum wiping the clothes line before she put her washing out!

2 thoughts on “Pegging out corsets

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