More recent Q and As on Laundering Vintage Textiles

Questions and answers from my last week’s emails.

QUESTION: I have about 89 sets/groups of things I bought at an auction over the weekend; and yes, I will enjoy trying to identify them all myself, but I might not mind taking a “short cut.” Some are in a Marghab box, some are in their original “Grand Maison De Blanc” boxes, and a few I have identified as Marghab. Can I send you photos?

RESPONSE:
without looking, I can tell you that more than half (maybe even 75%) of the things you bought will turn out to be normal, lovely items but nothing really special. I don’t want to discourage you but one of the only ways to really know about something is to look at a lot of it. In my experience, I may have found a special piece out of every 30 boxes that I looked through.

Also Important: Just because something was stored in a marghab box does not mean it is actually marghab. and, just because it looks like a marghab pattern does not mean that it really is: there are all sorts of imitations and copies out there. also… Marghab is a brand. it isn’t particularly rare or valuable unless you have a really rare pattern. and a full set of it to boot… (like a set of 12 placemats, 12 napkins and a runner in the deer pattern; now, that would be desirable)

QUESTION: I bought so many antique things and they are filthy and now I am overwhelmed and can’t cope!

ANSWER:
I am an opinionated person and I am very free handing out my opinions… so my first opinion is for you to stop feeling inundated immediately. (yes, I know that’s hard.) and realize that you do not have to decide what to do with them right away.

what usually happens is that the great stuff gets dealt with first and in your haste to deal with it, it gets sold, given away or ruined or something because the thought of it sitting there dirty made you crazy.

a year later when you think back to what slipped through your hands in your haste to make back your money or to launder them all together (because they are sitting around dirty) or whatever your own particular brand of mindfulness is… you will discover that you are sorry that you made decisions in haste.

QUESTION: can help me or lead me in the right direction to get information on a lace coverlet that has been in my mother’s cedar chest since the 1930-40’s. I would love to learn more about it and its value. I’ve attached some pictures. It is in perfect condition, too. Amazing. The person who handled my mother’s estate sale told me to keep it, wrap it in brown paper and put it back in the cedar chest as it could be worth some money. So, that is where it has been for years.

ANSWER:
The bedspread looks lovely.
Like many antiques it would have peaked in value about 10 years ago but textiles in particular, are not valuable at the moment. You can look on eBay at the completed listings for lace bedspreads and you will see what recent sales have yielded.

So I would suggest you either use it and enjoy it yourself, donate it to charity, or have a tag sale with it.

One last thing, do not keep it in brown paper. Store it folded in a clean cotton pillowcase instead.

QUESTION:
I have a very large Irish Damask Linen and Lace tablecloth. Problem: 9 feet wide by 26 feet long.

ANSWER:
The sad news is that such a large size is a problem today. Most homes can’t use things that large. They are hard to handle, hard to launder, hard to iron. It’s beautiful, though! Why not try to sell it on eBay? That way, someone who is looking for a large vintage cloth may discover it.

QUESTION:
… wondering if you had any ideas how I can clean “time” stains from one of those decorative pillow cases? The one I am talking of is white “silky” material and says US Navy Sweetheart. My dad got it for my mother when he was in the service in the mid forties I think. It has always just been stored and I just came across it again after being thru straight line winds at my home and then the tornado of 3/2/12 at my daughters. ; ( Anyway, if you are around and have a minute to answer I would appreciate it, as I also have a crocheted apron with ribbon trim that my grandmother made for me when I was 6 years old. I

ANSWER:
I can’t believe what your items have lived through! The US Navy silky stuff is something I’d live with and leave alone, unless you are prepared to destroy it. (Take a photo for a keepsake)

The crochet should hold up to anything but be prepared to lose the ribbons, depending on what they are made of. They may either be fine, bleed all over or completely disintegrate.
Oh! clip a bit of the end of the ribbon and test it first. have fun.

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One Response to “More recent Q and As on Laundering Vintage Textiles”

  1. Laura Parisi Says:

    Good morning,
    I have recently been given a Irish linen tablecloth and a long length of matching linen fabric which looks like it is meant to be cut and made into matching (12) napkins. It is from R.H. Stearns. They have the label still on them which has left a glue stain. I would like to send you photos if you would give me your email address. They were given to my Mom as a shower gift around 1947, and they never been used. I would love to have any information you may have about them. Also, would you recommend Restoration to clean the glue stain? Or is that permanent ? Thank you for your help.
    Laura Parisi

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