Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bored? Let's Clean Some Vintage Linens!

When I was with my VetCousin Karen at my mom's funeral, she gave me some more of her mom's stuff she has been saving for me.

Her mom and dad moved back to Louisiana from Chicago after he retired.  I don't think Uncle Angelo was still alive when Katrina hit, but their house in Metairie flooded.  It took Karen and Matt a long time to get the house cleaned out and reconstructed.  There was such a shortage of qualified (or even unqualified) workers and roofers during that time.  It was over 4 years before it was ready to move back into.

Aunt Evelyn didn't make it back into the house.  She died quietly one morning at Karen's as the last touches were being put on the house.

This was the story of so many of the older people who lived their lives in middle class subdivisions, middle class lives, middle class houses.  Katrina was not all about the poor, homeless and helpless.  So many of the ones like my family didn't make the news, didn't make the government rosters, didn't make the TV programs.

One is Wilendure and the other is was one of the state tablecloths popular in the 60's.

This one happens to be of Florida with all the fun people playing on the beach under palm trees and visiting St. Augustine and the Fountain of Youth.

I have no idea what to do with that Florida one, it does not lend itself to be cut up easily.  The Wilendure is easy to visualize.  I actually have a book dedicated to making quilts out of the old Wilendures.

But, my pretties.......................

Before I can do any of that I need to take care of these age stains.  They are most likely stains from dampness, possibly from any starch used.  Although silverfish LOVE starch and these have no damage.  Keep that in mind, don't store anything you have starched for any long periods of time.

I researched the best way to clean these was to soak them in the tub overnight with Oxyclean.  I will warn you, the smell is so sickly sweet it may not make all night.  I get migraines from those smells so I have the door closed and the vent on.  And I still smell it in the front of the house.

The Oxyclean will not damage the fabric or your hands so plunge right in.  Do not put the linens in your washing machine.  It will tear up the fibers.

That said, since I can't do the wringing work with my bad arm, I will put mine in the delicate rinse only.  I have one of the newer machines where you can control everything.......except the water level, drives me crazy. 

The third table cloth came with 6 or 8 napkins in that same stripe.  The napkins will make a fabulous block center for a Navajo style top.  The Tablecloth itself was going to be the quilt back, but I am now thinking it might be too  thick.  It is woven.  Ah, maybe not........I shall discuss it with people and see what they think.  After all, batting is "thick", isn't it?

It also has stains but I didn't want to risk the colors running into the other two tablecloths all bunched up in the tub together. 

But don't tell Frank they are in the tub soaking......OK?


  1. They are beautiful! I love the vintage linens although I wouldn't have a clue on what to do with them.

  2. I am envious! Here's my suggestion for the Florida table cloth: Use it for inspiration for a quilt and then use the table cloth for the back.

  3. What a wonderful group of linens! I have a box or two somewhere around the house of smaller pieces, but I don't think I have any tablecloths.


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