Beginning a collection

My best advice for a new vintage tablecloth collector is not to be deterred from purchasing tablecloths with stains or small pinholes. Most yellow stains can be almost completely removed or lightened significantly by following a few simple guidelines outlined in my book. I enjoy displaying tablecloths with a few small holes and even those with slight stains. I believe they add character and charm to a wonderfully loved piece with a rich history. These slight imperfections are the result of years of Sunday dinners, family celebrations, and intimate dinner parties. People loved, laughed and cried over these precious tablecloths, and I’m proud to own them.

How to use and display vintage linens

Most vintage printed tablecloths you can find today are in smaller sizes ranging from 32" square to 54" square. I recommend buying a several larger gingham and plain tablecloths in primary colors to show off your smaller tablecloths. These tablecloths are inexpensive and very easy to find at local Walmart or Targets stores. Layering colors will add texture and charm and help hide those little wearholes. Mix and match and have fun. Roll and stack vintage printed tablecloths in an open display cabniet, tuck a smaller tablecloth under your grandmothers teapot in the china cabniet. Bring one out on the garden patio for a lovely lunch spot. These wonderful vintage tablecloths are anywhere from 50 to 125+ years old and were used, cherished, and will, of course, show signs of use. My perfect linens are carefully stored and only brought out for “show,” but my used, treasured ones with slight holes and imperfections, are brought out daily and lovingly used with no fear of further damaging them. In fact we add to their charm with our own little stains and rips. These “imperfect” tablecloths warm our kitchen and brighten our lives. My family is happy to cherish and use each one, knowing that each stain and imperfection is a part of its long history