Next follows bedmaking, at which the cook or kitchen-maid, where
one is kept, usually assists; but, before beginning, velvet chairs, or
other things injured by dust, should be removed to another room.
In bedmaking, the fancy of its occupant should be consulted; some like beds sloping from the top towards the feet, swelling slightly in the middle; others, perfectly flat: a good housemaid will accommodate each bed to the taste of the sleeper, taking care to shake, beat, and turn it well in the process. Some persons prefer sleeping on the mattress; in which case a feather bed is usually beneath, resting on a second mattress, and a straw paillasse at the bottom. In this case, the mattresses should change places daily; the feather bed placed on the mattress shaken, beaten, taken up and opened several times, so as thoroughly to separate the feathers: if too large to be thus handled, the maid should shake and beat one end first, and then the other, smoothing it afterwards equally all over into the required shape, and place the mattress gently over it.
Any feathers which escape in this process a tidy servant will put back
through the seam of the tick; she will also be careful to sew up any
stitch that gives way the moment it is discovered. The bedclothes are
laid on, beginning with an under blanket and sheet, which are tucked
under the mattress at the bottom. The bolster is then beaten and shaken, and put on, the top of the sheet rolled round it, and the sheet tucked in all round. The pillows and other bedclothes follow, and the counterpane over all, which should fall in graceful folds, and at equal distance from the ground all round.
The curtains are drawn to the head and folded neatly across the bed, and the whole finished in a smooth and graceful manner. Where spring-mattresses are used, care should be taken that the top one is turned every day.
~ The Book of Household Management (1861) by Mrs. Isabella Beeton