Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Faux Vintage Linens

Our first empty nest Labor Day was kept very simple.
The husband played golf.
I made something useful out of hoarded stuff.

It’s one of my favorite things to do, and only half the fun is the finished product. The other half is figuring out how to bring it to completion at no cost. Other tightwads will relate. 

The man of the house
does not understand
the pleasure in this
and said as much…

Then, he left  to spend four hours
 chasing a little white ball across the ground
 with a funny shaped stick.

While he was ball chasing, I made my very own vintage napkins. OK, they’re not technically vintage since I just made them yesterday, but they do have a faded vintage look to them. I got the inspiration from Carol at The Polka Dot Closet

I made them to match one of my favorite old tablecloths. It belongs to the Duchess.

It’s her cookie cloth
(I yakked about cookie cloths HERE

For my napkins, I used hoarded white fabric from The List. Because I want to actually use these napkins, the fabric had to be treated at least a day in advance in a solution of...

2 Tablespoons alum
2 ½ teaspoons washing soda
½ teaspoon fabric softener
1 cup of very hot water

It created more froth than my Milli Vanilli Ice Cream in a Can ever did so I let it settle for a few minutes.

Then I:
Cut the fabric into pieces the size of an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper.
Soaked those pieces in the mixture for about 15 minutes.
Rinsed and  hung to dry for about a day.

Then, I scanned the pattern from the tablecloth that I wanted to use on my napkin. I don’t have a picture of this because it’s hard enough to get a tablecloth to fit on a printer screen without the added feature of a shiny red Kodak.

Here’s the photo copy sitting on the table cloth.
Pretty good.

Then, I cut 8 ½ by 11 pieces of freezer paper
 and ironed the treated fabric
 to the waxy side of the freezer paper.
This makes waxy fabric paper.
which you feed through the printer
to copy your vintage pattern.

Peel it off.

And Ta Da!
Milli Vanilli vintage fabric?

Since it was only 8 ½ by 11 inches, my napkin was on the small side.
I’m calling it a tea towel instead.
I could have purchased some pretty fabric to jazz it up, but since this was supposed to be a cost free project, I just cut up more strips of that white cotton and coffee stained them to match that dark tan color in the tablecloth.

I had to stain and dry twice
 to get them the color that I wanted.
By the end, I had coffee stained counters,
a coffee stained floor,
and coffee stained hands.
 I also had coffee stained fabric so it was worth it.

I stitched the two homemade fabrics together and lined the whole thing with more hoarded remnant. And there you have it. They are not a perfect match, but they are pretty close and didn't cost a dime.

All in about the time it took the husband
to play a few rounds of golf.
Who’s smirking now?
All he has to show for it are some achy muscles.

I, on the other hand, have
 handmade coffee stained faux vintage tea towels.


Ann said...

Now WHO's the clever one? I LOVE the idea and could never figure out how to reprint onto fabric. Now I know.
Thanks Debbie!

Anonymous said...

Like Ann, I also didn't know how to print onto fabric. They turned out adorable.

Denise said...

Very, very clever. Did I say VERY clever?! I'm not sure I would have the patience to do all of this. Sigh. So very glad you're my sister so I can use these without the work. I made some napkins yesterday too. I cut out squares and spent about 15 mins pulling threads to make a fringe. I think yours are cuter. Can't wait to play dishes and see these creations.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Such a clever idea. I love them. Hugs, Marty

gnee @ Singing With Birds said...


I'm so glad to see you are saving your pennies! These are so lovely, and it's such a great idea to match another cloth. I have lots of mismatched linens and to be able to make a matching piece is wonderful. Way to spend the day, and I'm springing for JUDS, so take that off of the budget!!!! ;D

Angel said...

IMPRESSIVE! Thanks for sharing this great penny pinching idea. Blessings to you!

southerninspiration said...

I vote for CLEVER, too! and did you even mention how much it COSTS to hit that little white ball around the golf course? NO, of course you didn't, you sweet thing, you! :D
I love your project and it was VERY worthwhile! I am inspired!


Vanessa said...

Those are beautiful! I, too have a hubby who chases a little white ball with a stick so I cracked up when reading that! I love the napkins and would like to get up the gumption to try it sometime!

Entertaining Women said...

You not only have some magnificent tea towels for FREE....His round of golf involved a green fee, probably a cart fee, probably some new golf balls, and if he's a betting man, they were probably betting on the game. So he's down a good amount of moolah...AND has those achey muscles. I'm thinking that you have a good shopping trip coming to you! Thanks for sharing the process for your creative project. I appreciate that you stopped by my post...come any time. Cherry Kay

Karen said...

NO WAY! I am not believing this one. That is one creative project!

Dayle said...

Miss Smarty Pants, I see! I've always wondered how you get a picture on fabric... now I know. How cool!

FrouFrouBritches said...

OH MY GRACIOUS!!! That might be the coolest thing EVER! I love them. I've seen this technique done before, but couldn't quite grasp it. I'll have to re-read this. Would it work for t-shirts you think? I'm so excited! That is the coolest EVER!! Love them!

Sharlotte said...

These are so neat. I love them and the print you used. I've heard of doing this but never had the tutorial.I'm a new empty nester myself and need a few projects to keep me busy while I get over this new little "hump" of an empty house. Thanks so much for the tutorial, this is going in my file! Thanks too for dropping by.

Chatty Crone said...

Thank you for sharing - it's a little over my talents, but it is pretty.


Amy Kinser said...

Love this idea. You are a smart lady. My sewing skills are virtually NONE even though I do own a sewing machine. I love the vintage look.

Sharon Kirby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharon Kirby said...

p.s. Feel free to use my poem - I'm honored! Thanks...

Sharon Kirby said...

Debbie - No worries, I deleted the comment because I accidentally posted it before it was done!! I'm having one of "those days!" SORRY!

Here's my complete comment!

You are one amazing "crafty" lady!

I was thinking through the whole process - as if I was doing it. Hmmm...The frothy white mixture would have exploded, the scanner on the printer wouldn't have worked, I would have ironed the WRONG side of the waxy paper and had waxy ironing board, I would have drank (drunk?! - my English major fails me here) the coffee, and on a caffeine rant I would have thrown everything out the window, only to find my husband driving up with a scorecard showing a "hole-in-one!" I am not known for my handiwork. HOWEVER, I know who to hang out with - my good friend, Debbie, who is the most clever woman I know (really...) You remind me of the woman of Proverbs 31 - a blessing.

BTW, you might like this quote: "Golf is a good walk, ruined." - Mark Twain

I'm just sayin'... :)

Ms.Daisy said...

Outstanding! I am completely WOWED!


Lynn Richards said...

I have to say, in my befuddled state, you lost me after you ironed the wax paper to the copy...or the tablecloth. No, I think it was the copy of the tablecloth.
But what I did understand was coffee stains everywhere. Totally got that.
And that you had WAY more fun than your husband as he likes to chase little white balls with a stick. BORING. (mine does it as well.)
AND that you have yourself some pretty gorgeous napkins!
well done!

Tricia@The Dull and the Dutiful said...

Wow. Just, wow. This is so brilliant! You've got my brain turning now -- no mean feat at 8:30 p.m. Thanks!

Kate Dickerson said...

Thank you so much for sharing this great idea. I can't wait to try this myself!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

You are brilliant! laurie


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