Clothes that were ornate and made of delicate fabrics were often decorated with frills and ruffs. Goffering was the process of creating frills so that they were evenly and finely gathered. Many devices were designed to deal with the process of keeping cuffs, collars and ruffles nicely goffered and crimped, such as corrugated boards and rollers. By the middle of the 19th century, goffering irons were developed.
The tongs have five cylindrical blades made of iron and wooden handles. They were heated over a flame and their temperature was tested before being used, in order not to scorch the fabric being goffered.
The task of crimping or goffering Victorian clothes was made easier by the fact that collars, cuffs and ruffles were detachable. This was done so that they could be washed more regularly than the large and heavy items of clothing to which they were attached. Once washed, these items needed gathering and goffering before being sewn back on the garments.