Vintage Napkins and Their Care

Antiquing is such a wonderful pastime.  There’s a lot of  “nothing special” to sort through, but when you find a treasure…ahhhhh.  Collecting vintage dinner and cocktail napkins is a big hobby of mine.  I’ve found the most wonderful designs and colors.  And, the feel of a real linen napkin wrapped around a chilly beverage….you owe it to your guests to have at least one set of good cloth napkins.
These are some of my favorites – the monogram is divine!

And, aren’t these lovely and dainty.

 I have a guilty pleasure….pressing linen napkins.  I know, not very exciting, but for me
 not much is more cathartic than taking wrinkled linen and ironing until it is gloriously crisp and smooth.

An antiques dealer told me once that you should never starch your linens – it will eventually turn them yellow.
So what’s the trick to getting wrinkle-free napkins?
 Iron the napkins while they’re still a bit moist.  As a matter of fact, I never even put them in the drier.  And, the results are so satisfying!

So what starts out like this….

Ends up like this!  I love right angles!
Here is another batch of my favorites.  They’re so delicate.  I can just imagine them being used at a ladies’ luncheon or bridge game years ago.

And, check out the detail here – you just can’t find this kind of quality now.
I love the simplicity of these – bliss!

So, next time you’re at a flea market or antique shop, look through the linens.  Even if they’re a bit stained, you can often get them clean by soaking in Oxiclean for a while.  
You can find wonderful bed linens too – I’ll post more on that later.

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