the butler’s guide

my library's copy but might need to have me own
my library’s copy
but might need to have me own
(click to go to listing)


The weather’s turning cooler, so I’ve been busy getting out and sorting through last autumn’s clothes.  And considering what’s still needed, what’s in stash… You know how it goes.  Time-consuming, but in a nice way.  🙂

There’s some lovely washable rayon and wool jerseys in there, but there’s also at least 1 piece of woven wool.  And I don’t know if it should be washed…

I was trying to remember what former butler, now author Stanley Agar, wrote about caring for wools in the book he co-wrote (above), but had to get it out of the library to review.  Am glad I did, as there’s plenty of detail I’d forgotten.

He stresses airing out clothes before putting them away, and brushing down coats, suits, and jackets.  He details what kind of brushes to use on each type of fabric, and how to brush so fibres aren’t damaged.

Agar also stresses getting rid of dust.  Which leaves me feeling guilty for leaving fabrics out on the sewing table far too long, but doesn’t stop my habit.  Other things he recommends for fabrics include ~

Clothing Care and Packing

  • “Dust is abrasive” and in time will wear on cloth (and stash has plenty of time, doesn’t it!)
  • There used to be special brushing rooms
  • Velvet – rub gently with nap; steam in a hot shower to “liven up”
  • Tweed (wool) – can take “especially strong treatment”; brush up and down with a regular clothes brush
  • Suits – dust doesn’t adhere closely to synthetics; wool or tweed suits should be brushed every time they’re worn

Although I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I thought there was useful information.  Clearly Downton Abbey leaves this level of detail alone!

10 thoughts on “the butler’s guide”

  1. Brushes are fairly generic – wooden with natural bristles, one has a handle and the smaller one you hold on top. No labels, as far as I can remember. Usually full of cat hair – two very fluffy cats reside with me!


  2. You should enjoy crochet! There’s so much available now on-line. And on Have you looked there yet? Whilst I’m not over there often CurlsnSkirls has joined. 🙂 Lots of freebie patterns there, as Samantha can verify!

    You have your Nana’s old clothes brushes?!? Oooooh, would love to see them! Is there a label on them? Can you tell what kind of bristles they have? How fascinating!


  3. What a coincidences – I’ve just taken a couple of classes to learn the basics of crochet.
    Your book sounds very interesting – who knew dust is abrasive! Will have to use Nana’s old clothes brushes more often.


  4. Thanks for this, Jackie! I’d known how to treat woolen knits, being a sometimes crocheter (what knitting I accomplish isn’t much!), but hadn’t known if whatever finishes they give to cloth, such as tweed, lent itself to the same pre-treatment. Was planning to wash my new merino knit fabric as soon as the humidity lowers. Can now add that other woolen to my list!


  5. I pre-wash (and pre-shrink) all my fabrics – including wools and merinos – before I cut and make them into garments. Luckily, my washing machine has a gentle wool wash setting, but I’m sure delicates setting would be fine, otherwise handwash gently. Use a detergent especially for woollens. Never soak woollens – this causes them to felt. Dry flat – the heat from a dryer does nasty things to old woollens! Plus you can gently tug garments back into shape during drying if they have become misshapen.
    Found this: –
    Good luck!


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