Restoration of Antique Linens

Restoration of Antique Linens
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So you've found a beautiful piece of lace or linen at a thrift shop or estate sale, but it is dingy. Or maybe your wedding day is coming up, and you want to wear your grandmother's veil. What can you do to make it look its best?
You should fold and stitch a large piece of lace before you wash it. Fold it into a manageable rectangle and then use a loose running stitch around the perimeter to secure the folds.

Whether you are dealing with lace, linen, or even a special cotton, there are 2 methods for relatively gentle bleaching. You should try them in order of their strength.

First, use soap flakes or liquid soap, not detergent, in cool water to wash the lace or linen. Rinse very well.

Bleaching Methods

The first bleaching method is this: before the cloth gets a chance to dry, place it in the sun on a bright white cloth (so the sun's rays will be reflected to the maximum). This will work best if you live in a very sunny home and can keep the cloth inside while exposing it to the sun - outside, you have pets and insects to contend with.

The second bleaching method is to use your largest stockpot or canning kettle to bleach the fabric. Use 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup salt to every gallon of water. Be certain that there is lots more liquid in the pot than there is fabric. Bring the "stew" to a boil, cover, and simmer gently for one hour. Rinse thoroughly and dry flat.

Storing Your Linens

Once the fabric has been whitened, you'll want to store it carefully when it is not in use. Wrap it in tissue paper. Then place it in a securely-taped box with desiccant or silica gel outside the tissue paper.

You can find desiccant in the packaging for electronic equipment often and in many bottles of medication (it's those capsules that say, "Do not eat") and you should save the silica gel for just such a use as this.


About The Author

Deborah Michelle Sanders is editor of the The Penny Orchid "Thrift with Flair", a monthly print newsletter that shows you how to save your money and keep the money you have. She has the experience of having lived on Social Security Disability Insurance. A lawyer since 1975, now inactive by choice, she has always enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle, even without much money. Deborah is the publisher of THE PENNY ORCHID  "Thrift with Flair." A 12-issue subscription costs $24 Send your check payable to THE PENNY ORCHID OR For a FREE sample issue send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:: P. O. Box 642335, Attention: Betsy Garcia, San Francisco, CA 94164-2335.

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