Victorian cushion covers were a predecessor of modern day pillow covers.
Zippers were not invented until 1913 and not very reliable
until 1917. Pillows used often would become soiled and not easily
cleaned. Victorian women answered this challenged by making removable
cushion covers. These removable cushion covers were generally tied on,
in some fashion, or, if the pillow was to be used on a dressing
table or such, would be held in place by pins placed in the corners.
This allowed for easy removal for cleaning as well as ease of placing
the cover back in place.
The Victorian cushion cover below is a beautiful and practical example of such a cushion cover. This pattern was published in 1889 but it would add a very special touch to any woman’s dressing table or vanity today.
Needle & Brush: Useful and Decorative, 1889.
Edited for use on this site.
For cushions in every-day use upon the toilette-table and dressing-case, covers that can be taken off to permit brushing off the dust that penetrates through them, and readjusted with-out loss of time, are the most practical, but they must be pretty as well or they will not win favor from fastidious women.
This engraving illustrates an especially pretty cushion-cover of scrim,
bordered with lace and decorated with ribbon. Along the sides and ends
of the cover threads are pulled out to permit of running
in the narrow ribbons in the manner represented, their ends being
folded underneath to form loops. A large bow of wide ribbon is fastened
near one corner.
There are a great many varieties of scrim, but that showing a uniform and rather loose weave is best adapted to this purpose. The narrow ribbons may be all of one shade or in two or more contrasting colors. Pink and blue give a dainty Pompadour effect, which is heightened if the cushion case be of either color. Orange and white, cresson and rose, and garnet and shrimp are also handsome combinations. A pin thrust through each corner will hold such a cover securely in place.
A cover quite as effective as the one above is made of a square of lace
insertion with several rows of lace beading about it. To the outer row
of beading a border of lace edging is sewed, and in the beading narrow
ribbons are run.
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