Nolichucky West


A Little Vintage Yellow Tablecloth

A little yellow tablecloth and four matching napkins recently found their way to me from an estate of a dear friends’ mother. This little tablecloth came from a home in a nearby tiny town that is boasts of a river, a multitude of pecan and cottonwood trees, and a population of about 2000 people. The tablecloth is a simple sunny-yellow, linen-like square with fringe around the edges. The four napkins have fringe around the edges too. Just like Mother I enjoy using tablecloths on all of the tables, big and small, in my home. I think tablecloths makes life cozier and protect beautiful wood surfaces from daily lifes’ traumas. But they are also charming, adding color, texture, and comfort.  I keep telling myself I just can’t keep this one, my linen cupboard is full, so I am getting it ready to list it in my Etsy shop.

The first thing I do when vintage linens arrive at my home is look them over checking for stains. Even though I feel this little set is very tidy I am going to wash it right away and just spruce it up a bit.


I fill a bin with cool water and just let it soak for several hours. This fabric is sturdy enough to do well in a washing machine, so it gets a quick washing on a regular cycle with gentle detergent.


While I iron I double check for stains and document and holes and tears.


I discovered a faint stain on this napkin. I applied some Fels-Naptha to the stain and placed the napkin in the bin to soak in water  once again.


Now as I resume ironing I discovered a tiny hole on the edge of the tablecloth. I found a tiny stain too.


I am going to go ahead and document this hole so I won’t forget where it is. When I photograph the tablecloth for my Etsy shop listing I make sure to point out the flaws. Here a special twig pencil points to the hole and a penny gives perspective as to the size.


Now I am going to work on removing the stain from the tablecloth. I treat it with the Fels-Naptha and put it with the napkin to soak. After about an hour  I added one-fourth of a cup of baking soda to the water followed by one-fourth of a cup of vinegar. It’s my not-so-secret formula that has rendered great results for removing stains in the past. There is lots of fizzing and bubbles and the vinegar smell dissipates quickly. After an hour or so I gently squeeze out most of the moisture then pop it into the washing machine again.


The stain is still present on the napkin, but it is so faint it is barely visible. I am still going to point out the spot when I photograph the napkin for my Etsy shop listing. I couldn’t find the spot on the tablecloth. I examined it outside in the bright sunshine, and inside as I ironed again. It could still be there and I just missed it. So when I write out the description of the tablecloth for the listing in my Etsy shop I will point out there may be a spot or two.


The size of the napkins and table cloth is important and I take a minute to measure them. The napkins are twelve inches by twelve inches, and the tablecloth is forty inches by forty inches.


Now that all of the napkins and the tablecloth have been neatly ironed I carry Grandma’s tiny child-sized table out to the sunny porch. I will set the table and take some photos.


I happen to have some yellow flowers from Trader Joe’s on hand and two roses from my garden that just bloomed, to put in a pitcher for the photographs. I also brought out Mother’s tiny tea cups.

I will have the listing ready and posted in my Etsy shop within the next couple of days.

Yes, there are some roses blooming right now. It has been around eighty degrees and very sunny this last week. Looking at that little table with the sunny yellow cloth and tiny tea cups has me wishing for tea. Time to go make some.

Thanks for listening. Take care.





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