Saturday, 13 July 2013

Warm Weather and Wash Days

As much as this warm weather is a pleasant change from the cold and rain I'm afraid its just a bit too much.  All my best intentions of getting out into the garden have fallen by the wayside as even with a hat and keeping in the shade I have been left feeling like a wet rag and have had to retreat indoors after half an hour.  

So instead I thought I would have look through my linen collection and get a batch ready for my next sewing session.  Also I had a few lurking at the bottom of the laundry basket needing some special treatment which I really couldn't ignore any more!

So here is my method for preparing and cleaning vintage table linen:

  • First I unpick the seams, this makes it easier to flatten after washing.
  • I then repair any damaged embroidery and darn any small holes in the fabric
  • Then spot treat any marks starting with good old Vanish, a soak in the powder is usually enough but sometimes I will also give it a rub with Vanish stick if it looks like a tough one. 
  • If this doesn't work or the fabric is delicate and you would rather not use a chemical cleaner then a paste of baking powder and lemon juice is also worth trying.  
  • If all else fails then I revert to my grandmothers tried and tested method, sunlight!  I put the item out in the sun making sure the mark is prominent. You can hang them on the washing line but I found it works quicker by lying the item flat, your lawn will do fine!  If the weather does not allow for this (!) folding the item so the mark in upper most and putting it on a sunny window sill will also work but may take 2 or 3 days. 
  • Then I end with a gentle machine wash using a good quantity of a basic fabric conditioner to remove the stiffness out of the linen.  I have found the cheaper the better!
I love going through my linen collection as there's always so many I've forgotten about and seeing them side by side on the washing line is all the inspiration I need to start making my next collection!.

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