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Good grief! How did women iron their linen tablecloths?


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You know, back when my grandmother's antique embroidered tablecloth was not an antique?

 

If there is a trick, please tell me. What I did was to fold the thing in quarters and then ironed all around the perimeter, over the folded layers. Then I put a blanket on the table and put the cloth on top of that, and ironed the center.

 

It's still damp, tho, so I hope to high heaven our silly cat does not take to jumping up there, which is why I had to wash it today in the first place.

 

It was a lovely gift this year, my favorite. Really. But. Now I know why my mother never used this stunning Christmas tablecloth when I was growing up. :D

 

Nicole, who may have to rethink her position on those hideous clear plastic tablecloth protector thingies.

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I iron them on the table. Put a couple thick wool blankets on the table and a clean flat sheet to protect the table surface.

 

Move all chairs away from the table so the edges which will hang over to the ground are not obstructed. I move the cloth along the table and let it gently fold itself on the floor as I go.

 

It MUST be starched. They're a PITA to iron if they're not starched.

 

If it's starched well, it will stay flat and ironed even as it falls in loose folds on the ground. If I'm using it right away, I don't iron in creases & just iron it flat, lay it on the floor, clean off the blankets & put it on the table. If it's going into the cupboard, I iron in creases & depending on how much time I have, I either iron those out later or just lay it with the creases.

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Yep to the thick blankets on the table and iron it on the table. Yep to the starch. Don't use spray starch. Use liquid starch when you wash it.

 

I dry mine in the dryer, then use a dry iron (no steam) and a spray bottle filled with water. Lightly spray each area before you iron it, going section by section. The whole thing won't be damp and get icky/smelly this way. And I never use a steam iron on good fabrics because they have a tendency to drip and ruin the fabric. That's why the dry iron.

 

It sound like a beautiful table cloth!

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Thanks!

 

So would a bottle of starch have directions on them? Do you put the starch right in with the detergent? The threads on the embroidery seem fragile, so I didn't think it would hold up in the dryer. I just ironed it right out of the washer, which is why it's still a bit damp.

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I make my own starch. There are lots of recipes on the web but mine is like this:

 

"In a large bowl or pot, stir 1/2 cup of corn starch into 1 cup of cold water. Stir in boiling water (2 quarts for a heavy solution; 4 quarts for medium and 6 quarts for a light solution). Dip the clothing into the starch solution and let dry. To iron, sprinkle the garments lightly with warm water, roll up and place in a plastic bag until evenly moistened, then iron as usual."

 

from:

http://argostarch.com/faq.html

 

I tend to go with med-heavy starch.

 

I hang the linens to dry after they're starched & then gently spritz and iron.

 

(actually I don't do this anymore - I give it all to my mother who is retired and actually enjoys doing stuff like this :D)

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It is best not to iron creases in, as linen is a bast fiber and ironed in creases will eventually cause tearing. (However, it is hard to avoid ironed in creases in napkins and still have them look nice.) You iron table cloths in sections, gently moving the sections up and over the ironing board as you go along. Putting a clean sheet on the floor makes a good landing for the finished fabric. Use the hottest setting on your iron. Be very careful not to iron much past the 'dry' point.

 

A true French laundry is really the best for this. They have hotter irons and bigger, more stable boards than the average household. But they are difficult to find anymore.

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It is best not to iron creases in, as linen is a bast fiber and ironed in creases will eventually cause tearing. (However, it is hard to avoid ironed in creases in napkins and still have them look nice.) You iron table cloths in sections, gently moving the sections up and over the ironing board as you go along. Putting a clean sheet on the floor makes a good landing for the finished fabric. Use the hottest setting on your iron. Be very careful not to iron much past the 'dry' point.

 

A true French laundry is really the best for this. They have hotter irons and bigger, more stable boards than the average household. But they are difficult to find anymore.

 

A-ha! Sheet on the floor! I was thinking, goodness, don't tell me I have to mop first, too!

 

French Laundry.... Isn't that the name of a line of clothing? :D

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She would spray the linens with water and them put them in a plastic bag in the fridge over night.

 

It's not a bad idea to have them done at a launderer. You still have to press out the fold lines, but you can have them heavy starched and pressed and then hung on a hanger. My mother keeps them ready this way, so when she needs them, they care cleaned, pressed, and heavily starched. She just finishes off the fold mards and is all set.

 

Dana

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I iron when damp, out of the washer. Then roll them on a heavy cardboard tube (you can get one at the fabric store- just ask. Some fabrics come on a tube, rather than a bolt. I've been able to get several by just asking. Storing table linens on a roll is recommended by Martha Stewart;)). When I did this regularly for church, I had a 4'x8' 3/4" plywood covered with cotton batting and muslin that I layed across a table. I tried an ironing board a few times. Blech.

Lawana

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