Saturday, March 19, 2011

Recycling Vintage Tablecloths

I have always found inspiration in damaged vintage tablecloths but finding the perfect tablecloth cutter can be a real challenge. If a tablecloth has enough damage to qualify it as a cutter, chances are the entire piece may have weakened fibers, which can be a real disaster. This is why I never use vintage tablecloths to make handles on large bags. Trust me when I tell you, that handle is not going to hold up to use, over time. When looking for a cutter, there are 3 things I'm always looking for...

1) Holes that are bigger than just a little pin hole. Many collectors cringe at the thought of their beloved tablecloth being cut on but, if the holes are large enough that you wouldn't want to display it, I see no harm. On the other hand, I will not cut on a tablecloth that I feel is collectible.

2) So the holes must be at least dime size but not so large that there isn't enough fabric to work with.  I'm really talking about the positioning of the holes and stains. If the damage is in the wrong spot, you may be purchasing a "cutter" that you're not really going to be able to use. I want to be able to use the scrap pieces that have the best graphics so I wont purchase a cloth if there is not enough salvageable fabric!

3) It must have minimal stains. This is just a personal preference as I am too busy and don't like to spend a lot of time removing stains. There are some great soaking solutions that you can use to remove stains but, if I can't remove them with a simple washing, I just cut around them. I bring my cloths home, throw them in the washing machine with Tide and Biz. I have been known to soak an item in Borax for a few days!

You can see in this picture that I have placed tape at the holes so I can visually see where I want to cut. This tablecloth had numerous holes but overall the fabric that was left was not faded and was very sturdy. A perfect cutter!

You can see in this picture how the hemming had come undone and the tablecloth was completely frayed around the edges. I'll show you the pieces that were cut out of this along with some of the handmade items I made tomorrow. Until then...


  1. I've never been to this blog, but looking forward to visiting on a regular basis. You caught me with the vintage tableclothes and how you cut them with the cutter. I'm going to be back to see more on this, and what you do with them.

  2. I look forward to following your blog and learning more about what you do. I found your blog through your post in Etsy's forums : )

    I have stacks of vintage linens, so I'd say fate brought me here as well...

    Good to meet you!
    Janet - FeltOnTheFly

  3. Thank you for the kind words ladies. I've just moved my blog from typepad to blogger and really appreciate your support. Have a great day!

  4. In this blog i found perfect vintage table clothe, it looks so awesome. i likes your thoughts and idea about the making table clothes.