I never like to start a post with a "before" picture. You deserve better! And if you have actually tuned in to see ironing?. . . Well, . . . lets just say we are a rare bunch!
I asked one of my linen friends, Ginnie, the other day if she had any white-worked pillowcases available, and she said, "I don't know, all my new linens are still in the refrigerator!" If you understand the meaning of that phrase, then you have come to the right place!
I just worked with a small batch of linens today after soaking. They mostly just needed freshening up. Seems like I haven't had a linen day in ages! I thought you might like to have a look at what a difference pressing can make.
This pretty piece is a small hand towel. Guests will never use these, so I usually have them tucked in somewhere for display or as a doily over or under something. Didn't it turn out beautifully?
I am often asked about how to launder linens, but I am no expert. Wash them gently in cold water to avoid setting any stains, and if that's not enough I give them an overnight soak in a non-chlorine whitener like Oxyclean. If you want to know about the proper way to press things, here's a link to some hints by Heloise. (You will also find out what linens in the refrigerator is all about!)
It has been said that if your photos aren't good enough, they're not close enough. Well, with ironing, if your linens aren't pressing out smoothly enough, they are not moist enough! I keep a spritzer nearby for areas of cloth that have dried out too much, but I almost always iron linens quite damp from the line or dryer (low setting). A very hot iron is best.
I press embroidered pieces from the wrong side to keep from flattening and damaging the hand-work, but that can sometimes take a close look, as in this example. I had to put my reading glasses on! This is machine embroidery and is not that much different on the top side, here, from the wrong side, below.
Pressing makes this thin cotton fabric look so much nicer!
I like the look of rumpled hankies, but this one gets the treatment today.
I was hoping that this grey mark would soak out, but nothing doing. I'm going to imagine that it was a drop of ink from an old love letter that the owner was writing while she shed a tear or two. . . .
Hardly noticeable anyway.
Such lovely details!
I wouldn't hesitate to put this lovely pillowcase on a guest bed unironed if I was in a hurry.
But smooth linen is so lovely to lie your head down on!
This rumpled runner reveals a few secrets in the pressing.
The unpressed edging curls under.
The iron perks it up.
And begins to show a nice stripe in the damask weave.
But just look at this lovely spray of Lily of the Valley that emerges in the ironing! I hadn't actually noticed exactly what the pattern was! So very romantic!
I think a damask weave benefits the most with a good ironing. So beautiful and smooth now!
This is a rather long runner or dresser scarf as you can see. (Too thin a weave for a towel.)
And you may notice that I avoid ironing the fold. Folding is hard enough on fine linens. Storing them rolled in tissue is really best. I never do that, but I certainly admire those who do!
That's the end of show and tell for today! I can't tell you what good therapy this is if you don't already know!
So nice to have you visit while I do my laundry!
Nothing like a good chat over the ironing board!
Is there a linen day ahead for you?