Vintage textiles, linen & lace tablecloths, runners & napkins & towels
The custom of using fine table linen was almost universal throughout France and Italy by the 12th century.
Napkins have been around since the Middle Ages when stylish folk stopped wiping their mouths on the tablecloth and started providing individual linen squares for themselves and their sloppier guests. Napkins as they are known today traditionally originated in the city of Rheims, noted for its fine cloth. The city presented King Charles VII with a set of table napkins at his coronation in 1422.
Just prior to the French Revolution, the standard size of table napkins was 45 by 35 inches, and the standard fabric white damask. Napkins and table cloths became a common sight in the 18th century. Later by the end of 18th century the use of table linen elevated to a greater standard and the idea of matching table linens established.
A Tea Towel is a cloth which is intended for the specific use of drying dishes and cutlery after they have been washed. In addition, clean tea towels may be spread over a tea tray before tea things are put onto it, or used to cover warm scones or a tea pot to prevent heat loss.
A tea towel is a cloth which is intended for the specific use of drying dishes and cutlery after they have been washed. In addition, clean tea towels may be spread over a tea tray before tea things are put onto it, or used to cover warm scones or a tea pot to prevent heat loss.
In England and Ireland, decorative tea towels are sold as souvenirs, and they are sometimes designed to be hung on a wall or displayed in a frame. These tea towels run the gamut from old fashioned hand embroidered linen tea towels to plain cotton tea towels with garish paintings of famous landmarks. As a general rule, while these tea towels are perfectly usable for their intended purpose, they are kept for ornamental rather than practical reasons.
Vintage Flour Sack Towels are used today in much the same way as our grandmothers did - as curtains, place mats, pillowcases, bags and sachets, children's clothing, gift wrap, and of course, in the kitchen.
Buying flour sack towels is an investment sure to serve your household for years to come. Flour sack towels are completely durable and long-lasting, withstanding many washes and applications, yet extremely soft. In addition to being completely lint-free, flour sack towels will absorb liquids better than paper towels making these towels eco-friendly.
Aprons have been cooks' companions for hundreds of years. Indeed, aprons were used by men and women for a variety of tasks long before they were seen on 1950's television. During this era, women were portrayed as homemakers and good mothers and you rarely saw them without their aprons.
Some researchers point to Biblical references about aprons. They cite a passage in which Adam and Eve sewed together fig leaves to make aprons to cover themselves. We traditionally think of aprons being used for cooking, and while that is true, they have served as a cover-up for other tasks that tend to be messy. Occupations such as butchers, welders and bakers have always used aprons to protect both their clothing and bodies from their work.
For centuries, homemakers have used aprons. Even since the early 19th century, women have used aprons to keep their clothing clean. They have also used aprons to carry essential utensils such as rolling pins, for gathering and carrying eggs and for transporting kindling wood. Aprons have been an effective tool for many, many years.
It was not until the 1940's and 1950's that society started to see the stereotypes of the "perfect mother" who always wore an apron, no matter what. Until that time, aprons were thought of as a functional piece of the wardrobe.
Today's aprons are more stylish. Perhaps surprisingly, aprons have made a fashionable comeback, even making occasional runway appearances in the form of the apron dress.
The use of the Table Cloth / Tablecloth spread quickly from the aristocracy to the merchant classes and by the 15th century the use even spread in the smaller sections. Fifteenth-century trousseaux included long, narrow runners, often identical in length and decoration to the tablecloth, which were laid over the cloth to protect it.
Earlier table linens were made of linen and then the use of cotton and silk also became popular. When cold collations (of sweetmeats and fresh and candied fruits) were served in 14th and 15th century France, serviettes de collation ('refreshment towels') were hung in the room.
Several types with innovative styles came into the market. Small flower patterns came in the early 15th century. Venetian style and Damascus weave came into existence during Renaissance.
Until 1625, tablecloths were folded to get a more thick covering on the table. Later an undercloth was created to make a base layer for the cloth. During most of the late 1800's, Queen Victoria, who had lost her beloved Prince Albert, made it fashionable to be a widow. With this the custom of using darker shades came on and the table linen of that time were also dark heavy tapestries, fringed Turkey Red and white damask cloths, and heavily decorated plush and velvet table toppers.
The old needle-made laces are labor intensive, and are rarely made today. Lace should not be confused with the filet lace interpretations copied by bobbins, crochet, and embroidery on fabric. Filet is an ancient lace technique, sometimes referred to as nun's work because it was known to be made in convents.
Lace history and lace identification books show wonderful examples of Lacis from as early as the 14th C. One of the earliest references to this work is a cushion of network that St. Paul's Cathedral possessed in 1295, and three pieces of the same work were in use in Exeter Cathedral in 1327.
"Filet" is the French word for a net, and "Lacis" for network - meaning in this case that the net has been ornamented with a design darned or applied upon its surface. The ground consisted of a delicate network made by hand, using the same technique as was used for making coarser fish and garden nets. On this ground the pattern was worked, usually by darning; the "point de toile" and the "point de reprise" being the stitches most generally employed.