Vintage linen napkin transformed–Its what all the well-dressed tables are wearing..

Yesterday was my birthday…I am now 41.  I will probably admit my age forever, dye my hair until I’m 102 and probably wear age-innappropriate clothes until the Great-Grandkids feel the need to apologize for me at family occasions.  I did extensive research (15-second Google search) and discovered that 1971 was indeed a good year:  Starbucks was founded and put us all on the road to ruin with their delicious $5 cups of coffee, the Nasdaq was introduced (I don’t understand it, it makes me uncomfortable to see things rising and falling, and it clogs up my t.v. screen), and the price of a postage stamp was 8 cents, which I guess explains why we used to need the penny.

So, in the spirit of gift-giving (to myself), I decided to finish a project I’d started a long time ago, assembling a table runner from vintage napkins that had belonged to my husband’s Grandmother.  I have to admit the inspiration was renewed after watching about 3,000 hours of “Downton Abbey” over the last 2 weeks.  (If you haven’t seen this Masterpiece Theater jewel, do yourself a favor give it a try…you will eat, sleep, and dream about genteel nobility).  These napkins would have been right at home in the Abbey (although there’s no way I would ever wipe my mouth with one of these).

Grandma's linen napkins


These linens have always been too beautiful to keep stored away, but I have always lived in fear of someone actually using them to wipe their fingers and mouths.  A runner seemed like a perfect solution (and wiping your mouth with it is generally frowned upon). However, because I could’t leave well-enough alone, I decided to take a quick peek at to see if there was an image  or two that would add a little pizzaz, and lo-and-behold:


Perfect. I love The Graphics Fairy..


After I transferred the image to the napkins, I sewed the 3 napkins together along the lace edge (the sewing machine does a pretty good job on the open cutwork) and voila!  Instant class and sophistication:


Tea for Two?


Come by for a cup of tea next time you're in town...


This linen is particularly tricky to keep from wrinkling, so avert your eyes from the creases…but overall, isn’t it lovely?  I have a few more dinner napkins stored away, so I think I’ll runner-up a few tables around these parts..and just keep on using paper napkins.


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    4 Responses to “Vintage linen napkin transformed–Its what all the well-dressed tables are wearing..”

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    1. Me says:

      Fantastic! I love the runner…I’ve got a few of these folded up nicely somewhere. Time to break out the Singer. As for napkins, in an effort to go green, I’ve given up paper napkins and reducing our use of paper towels. I bought 25 mismatched cloth napkins (although I use the word cloth loosely as there is nothing in these napkins that isn’t manufactured by Dow Chemicals). I use them at the dinner table and send them with the kids’ lunches. It adds no laundry, as I just throw them in with the rest of the mountains. And, if something happens to them, no big deal. The lot was only $15 with shipping/handling/tax. But, they’d never look this beautiful…

      • That’s a fantastic idea..I always feel terribly guilty throwing what seems like mountains of wadded up paper napkins away each week….And you’re right, it would add a completely negligible amount of laundry to the already monumental get busy sewing up your “not suitable for school lunches” napkins and live like the titled aristocracy…

    2. Ana Haydee says:

      Great idea! I will do the same with my mother’s fancy napkins. Beautiful!!

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