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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 5 (August 1, 1934)

Bed-Spreads. Some Suggestions for the Average Needlewoman

Bed-Spreads. Some Suggestions for the Average Needlewoman.

Good bed-spreads are of great importance in adding to the attractiveness of the home. The original purpose of the bed-spread was to keep the blankets free from dust and grime. During some of the gorgeous furnishing periods of the past—for instance, the time of the great Du Barri—the bed-spread became almost too costly and elaborate for general use, and white became popular. The “White” period lasted for a long time. During our grandmother's (or perhaps great-grandmother's) time it was the custom to crochet a wonderful spread with a wide knitted lace border. Truly a tremendous piece of work which sometimes took years to accomplish. Accompanying the crochet spread would most likely be a marvellous patchwork quilt, all sewn by hand which would be quite a work of art.

During the past few years we have gone back to colours. At the present time colour schemes are so varied that coloured sheets and blankets are used with spreads of almost every hue and material.

Many different varieties of bedspreads are to be found in the shops, but we are only concerned with those that we can make ourselves, for this kind of needlework is interesting and gives lasting satisfaction. With the aid of a sewing machine and some original ideas the average needlewoman can work wonders with simple materials page 43 bought at small cost. When buying the fabric make sure that it is of the fadeless variety.

For an inexpensive and quickly made spread, cretonne or chintz is satisfactory material. Allow three widths for a double-bed and two widths for a single one. For the former, just join the three widths together and for the latter, cut one of the widths right down its centre, and the narrow widths should be sewn to the sides of the other width. By this means a join down the centre is avoided, and the work has a much better effect. A plain broad band sewn on the edges of both sides and ends, often improves the appearance of the spread. This band should he mitred at the corners and finished with a narrow hem, and it should tone with some colour in the figured material.

Heavy fadeless plain cotton materials or mercercised poplins in dainty pastel shades may be made up in the same way as the above, but the, joins would have a more finished appearance if machine hemstitched. They are quite effective, however, if left plain. If some form of embellishment is desired an embroidered or applique design would look well.

Coloured linen spreads are beautiful and almost everlasting, and have the merit of being inexpensive to make. They require to be rather carefully handled and cannot be as quickly made as those of the cotton variety. They are costly to buy, and the maker who is prepared to take the time and trouble to put her best work into them is amply repaid by the finished result. The widths may be joined by machinestitching, machine-hemstitching or hard-hemstitching. Linen is always worthy of the best work that can be put into it, so hand-hemstitching is preferable. The hems are sewn to match the joining of the widths, double hemstitching being the most satisfactory.

Different kinds of needlework may be used when working a linen spread. An applique of linens of different shades, or a large embroidered design makes a good finish to an article that will give joy and lasting satisfaction to the worker.

The old-time patchwork is a fascinating medium for the embellishment of a bedspread. The centre may be of patchwork with a border of plain material, or a plain centre with a patchwork border. The pieces for the patchwork may be cut about three inches square, and machine-sewn together. Join the squares into the length needed, and press the seams flat, then join the strips together. Patchwork should be lined with plain material.

If you are desirous of possessing something more luxurious and opulentlooking than the simple cotton or linen spreads already described, washing satin or fadeless art silk taffeta may be used. These materials are not as expensive as they look. In this type of spread, the widths should be joined in the form of shirred seams. The shirring may be done along the edge of the flounce with the machine-gatherer and then the edges stitched together. A piping could be inserted in the joins. The centre of the spread may be lined with fleece or other soft material, and the corners of the centre decorated with triangles of shirred material. The hem may be plain or finished with gold braid, and the lower corners with gold tassels. For a good finish to the bed in the day-time, a bolster or triangular cushions covered in the shirred material are often placed across the top. Only the richer colours should be used for satin spreads, and these would include deep rose, old gold, fuchsia, saxe blue and moss green. In the taffeta shot colourings may be added to the list.

The coverlets should always be made to go right up over the pillows. It is a good plan to make them a little longer than the bed and tuck the extra length under the lower edge of the pillow.

It is quite a feminine trait that on entering a strange room our eyes are invariably attracted by a bed which is daintily covered.