Advice re. mending vintage tablecloths
Hope you all can help me.
I have some beloved vintage tablecloths (40’s, 50’s and 60’s) that I love to use for special occasions. Despite careful laundering, little holes appear, and in one case, a several inch area has only the threads in one direction and they’ve “disappeared” in the other direction. I’d like to mend these holes before they get bigger.
Tried iron-on bondex but the edges begin to come loose after a wash or two. It’d be faster to do something by machine, but if it’d be better for the tablecloth, especially the more heirloom ones, to do someothing by hand, I could. Your suggestions would be most welcome.
many thanks in advance, Susan
Part of the charm of seeing antique linens in exhibits is the care taken in years past to preserve damaged items. Perhaps you could find a "cutter" tablecloth at a flea market and use it for tiny applique patches in attractive shapes. Another way is to use something soft and similar as a backing and use tiny hand stitches to secure the threads on the top side. I have seen what looked like reverse applique, where the raw edges have been finished by hand and the underfabric showed through.
In my mind, the thing is that the mend does not have to be invisible or even greatly disguised because the item's age and the care given it by you become part of the integrity of the whole. Future lucky owners of these cloths can look at them and learn lessons about your sewing skills and values.
Be sure and read the posts on "killing" chlorine bleach under "bleaching fabrics". I ruined an imported hand-woven tablecloth with bleach (Big holes appeared during storage). Also, consider laundering as a quilt, in the bathtub, with a safe stain remover, and use a sheet as a support so the linen never bears the weight of the water in it. I would do all laundering myself and especially ironing (easier with no starch) even though sending them out for cleaning is very tempting. Galey
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