Restoring old silk ribbons.

Scientific American 16, 27.12.1856

Old soiled silk ribbons, which, by many persons, are considered worthless, may be rendered almost as good as new by the performance of it few of the most beautiful experiments in practical chemistry, which can be executed by any lady. Hard or intestring ribbons cannot be renovated to give satisfaction; satin, plain soft silk, and figured silk ribbons, are the kind to which we allude.

As maroon is a very beautiful color, and is somewhat fashionable this winter for ladies' bonnets, &c., we will describe how to dye old silk ribbons this color. Take pink, light blue, or salmon colored old silk ribbons, and open them out so as to take out all their plaits. They are noe to be all sewed together, so as to make a continuous piece, and are ready for the first operation. Now, put a clean tin pan on the fire or the stove, fill it with soft water: cut up it few pieces of scrap soap in it, and bring it up to the boiling point.

When the soap is all melted by stirring the water, the suds should feel slippery between the fingers; if they do not, add as little more soap. The vessel containing the soapsuds should just he of sufficient size to hold the ribbon loosely in it; any more suds would he wasted.

Now place the ribbon in the suds and boil it for half an hour, keeping it down under the liquor with a small clean stick whittled to a proper shape. Boiling the ribbon in the soap will remove all the grease and old color. It is now lifted out and washed in water to remove all the soap from it.

After this it is stretched out between the fingers, pressed between the two hands, and laid down on a clean table. It is now to be steeped in alum liquor. This is made by dissolving a little alum in a clean stoneware vessel with a little boiling water, then cooling it down with cold water until it is about milk heat. The ribbons are bundled for a few minutes in this liquor in such us manner as to lie loose in it, and are sunk under the liquor, where they are to remain one hour. One ounce of alum will be sufficient for a vessel that will contain two quarts of water; this is called the mordant.

The ribbons are nose taken out and gently rinsed in a little clean cold water, and are now fit to be dyed.

Take about four ounces of what is called hypernic — red dyewood—which can be obtained at any druggist's, and boil it for fifteen minutes; and pour the clear liquor into a stone-ware vessel, with as much hot water as will alloy the ribbons to be handled freely. Now enter them and draw them between the fingers, and push them down from time to time under the liquor, for ten minutes, when they will have assumed a deep red color.

They are now lifted out, and a very small quantity of the extract of logwood, in liquor, is added to the red wood liquor, all stirred together, and the ribbons again entered and handled for ten minutes longer, when they will have acquired is beautiful maroon color. They are now washed in cold water and hung up to dry.

To dress them, they are sponged on the right side with a little weak liquid of dissolved gam arabic, and ironed on the wrong side with a hot flat-iron.

This finished the operations, which, if carefully performed, will render old ribbons, originally worth three and four shillings per yard, almost equal to new, for a cost not exceeding three cents per yard.

There are hundreds of families in our country who have lots of old ribbons laid past, and held to be no better than waste paper. Let them be brought out and treated as described, when they will be found fit for adorning fashionable new silk hats. Many persons are not aware of the fact, that many of the ribbons which they purchase in stores are re-dyed — changed from unsaleable to saleable colors.

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