Monday, 17 October 2011

Vintage linen

I recently picked up some vintage linen at the local op shop. My idea was to use it as a base for embroidery so I was looking for plain, natural-coloured pieces. I found a few of those, and I even bought some which had flower patterns printed on them, with the idea that I could embellish the print. I also found lots of already embroidered pieces, and of course I couldn't just leave them behind.

It cost me $7.00 for the lot, which was great, but also sad, because there was an embroidered tablecloth with crochet edging which alone would have taken months to make. I know all crafters feel the pang when they see something sold so cheaply which has taken so much work to make, but the flip side is that at least it is coming home with me to be loved and cherished! And I can't help feeling pleased on the whole, because there is a lot of fabric there which would have cost a lot more than $7.00 to buy new.

A lot of the fabric was stained or yellowed, so my first task was to wash it. I asked google first and found that the first thing to try is soaking in vinegar, so I added half a cup to some warm water and put them in for a few hours. Then I rinsed them well and put them out in the sun. I was surprised at how well this technique worked - a lot of the lighter stains were gone. There were a few spots and darker ones left, so I'll try a dab of lemon juice next, then dry in the sun.

This is the tablecloth I was talking about. It probably had the worst staining, but I'm pretty confident I can get it out, and if not I'll embrace it as part of the character of the piece! I'd like to have an embroidered tablecloth for every season... this will be spring, with its soft pinks and greens.

This is one I already had, but it was in the cleaning pile because it had a tiny smear of printer ink on it. I'd been too scared to try and get it out before, but the vinegar soak faded it a lot, and I'm hoping lemon juice will finish it off. Hydrogen peroxide will be my last resort.

Now it's time to get the iron out (don't worry, I'm a freak who actually enjoys ironing). Then I have to finish my current embroidery project (only two lines of backstitch to go!) and then I'll have a play with all this lovely fabric.


  1. Just read your last post, your strawberries are well ahead. Are the peas the flat snow peas you use in stir frying? or the regular type? I never would have thought of putting them in pots.

  2. computer won't let me post comments as blogger. Will try the different profiles till i get one that works, garden and fabrics look great Miriam

  3. Kellee - they are regular peas, they grow well in pots actually as long as you stake them well!

    Miriam - good luck with the blogger gremlins! Hope they let you have your profile back.

  4. I have some linen in the cupboard, form my mother and MIL. Sadly I don't get around to using it.

    (BTW answering comments - most bloggers would prefer you to visit and leave a comment on their blog. An email reply is fine if it is confidential between the two of us, but otherwise everyone gains from two conversations)

  5. I think that if the linen has family connections, it's harder to bring yourself to use it in case you ruin it. Rescued items from second hand shops are easier to use and replace if necessary!



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