Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ironing Linen~ Befores and Afters

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!

All done!

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?

Happy ironing!



Pura Vida said...

They are so pretty but most especially after being ironed!

sarah said...

Such beautiful linens. I love them in both the before and after pictures. And I do love ironing, so this was a nice post to read :-)

Anonymous said...

I learned about ironing embroidery on the back side.... just yesterday. What a neat trick!!

I did a bunch of ironing yesterday. I used to hate ironing but when I saw how crisp and lovely ironing made things.... I am a believer!!

Your linens are quite lovely.

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

You make magic with the most mundane of details....I suppose if I had such fine rare lovely antique linens with such detail I would certainly be more prone to get to that ironing basket more often.

Lovely, lovely, lovely, J. ♥

P. said...

Such a delight for my eyes ! I pinned most of them !

thel day said...

Sometimes I use spray starch on my linens. What is your opinion on spray starch.

Rosemary and Thyme said...

Oh my, I every piece. Your linens are pure joy. Incredibly white, crisp and with lots of stories to tell.

You an amazing story teller. I love collecting vintage linens. Especially white and it is such a pleasure to press them and watch them into little works of art. You have a very beautiful collection.


Salmagundi said...

I come from a long line of women who knew the joy of ironing. My mother even ironed the cleaning rags -- she said they looked so much better in the drawer!! I had to laugh about not ironing a fold in. My great-grandmother always ironed the fold down -- she said that was how your guests knew they had fresh linen on their bed. I was taught how to sprinkle, roll, and wrap the ironing in an old sheet. If you didn't get to the ironing right away, then the bundles went into the refrigerator (or icebox). There you go -- my matriarch's sage advise about ironing. Have a great week -- I haven't gotten to the ironing yet this week. Sally

Sharon said...

I love your blog. However, I hate ironing, once I actually took the ironing board and iron to the dump, and threw them in....LOL

Jeanie said...

So clean, crisp and pristine! I join the group of those who don't iron. Only under duress. But every now and then it is a must. And with linens like this it would be a must!

Bernideen said...

All very beautiful and lovely photos of them!

sweet violets said...

Beautifully done!!! I had to laugh about the refrigerator!!! I love sprinkling linens all at once, then roll them up, put in bag and store in the fridge so they don't dry out!! Works well when you know ironing will stop and start again later. My mom taught me to never press a crease and never to use starch on linen. She also never pressed a crease in dinner napkins.

It'll be October sometime when I'll get to iron.....too hot here!!! Love all your pretty pieces.....xoxoxo

Sarah said...

Jacqueline, you can even make ironing linens a beautiful poetic post. I have to agree that ironing is therapeutic for me too, and tomorrow I will likely have a little therapy with the iron. '-)
Love seeing freshly laundered and ironed linens, especially beautiful vintage ones. Smiling here!

Art and Sand said...

Your linens are always gorgeous and the love you put into caring for them is obvious.

Merlesworld said...

I do love beautiful linen, I don't have any but i remember my mothers.

Joanne said...

A feast for the eyes! My grandmother was a seamstress, and I have fond memories of the times I watched her gently iron her pretty handiwork -- and the scent of ironing, too! Such of fresh clean scent! Thank you for these beautiful images.

CelestinaMarie@SouthernDayDreams said...

Love this post Jacqueline as I am one who loves to iron linens and all the crocheted pretties from my grandmother. She and my mom always kept their sprinkled linens in the refrigerator or icebox as they called it before ironing. It was nothing to open the door to see a display of rolled linens. LOL Your collection is gorgeous. Ironing is an art form really and I find it so relaxing and enjoyable. The end result is beautiful.
Have a great mid week. Hugs, cm

Junkchiccottage said...

Ironing your beautiful linens makes them even prettier. Have a great week.

Sherry said...

Jacqueline, I'm guilty of not letting you know nearly often enough just how much your blog means to me. Your spaces and your things just make me happy and a little wistful every time I find a new post. You have given me an incredible appreciation for brown transferware and white linens! I've always loved to iron (though my husband's dress shirts used to get a bit tedious!) and adore that fresh, steamy fragrance. My mom used to sprinkle her ironing and put it in the fridge. In the summer, she would get up extra early to finish it before the day got hot. Thank you, Jacqueline, for sharing so much beauty and pleasure!

Rowan said...

Those linens are just gorgeous! I think I really must start buying old linen again.

Roosterhead Designs said...

OMW What a wonderful post!
Perhaps it sounds silly, but I could 'swoon' over
all the beautiful linens you have~ (ok, I did)
My collection is small; but growing.
I love to iron my linens and enjoyed your tips and tricks.
Thank you for sharing!
Karen in CO

Rose L said...

Ironing does make a world of difference. I remember my mom ironing them with a moist towel over them. Not many people do any ironing nowadays.

Patty said...

I remember mom keeping rolled up items in the freezer before she brought them out to iron. I wish I still had the little sprinkler she used to use. If you thought the dark mark might be ink, did you try some alcohol ?

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I enjoy ironing my linens although sometimes I find table toppers have puckered or shrunk a bit I guess and they won't lay flat any more.
Your collection is always a joy to see.

Curtains in My Tree said...

My Mom always put her sprinkled rowed up linens in the refrigerator if she couldn't get to them om ironing day, She also put white shirts sprinkled and rowed in in refrigerator also.
I learned to iron with Grandma's pillow cases and sheets

The Vintage Chateau said...

Simply lovely, makes me want to iron!

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Such a lovely collection of pretties! I'm sure it was delightful to spend the time making them even prettier! xo Karen

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

How pretty! I always remember the ironing in our fridge when I was a girl...

Debbie said...

Damask always shows off it's true beauty with a hot iron, doesn't it?
Your linen collection never ceases to delight, and amaze me, Jacqueline.

The Charm of Home said...

Oh my Jacqueline that table runner was a whole new beauty under your care. Such gorgeous linens!! Thanks fro sharing at Home Sweet Home!

Slavka Simkova said...

Thank you for sharing some tips for keeping the linen look beautiful. I do not possess such amount of linen, but hope to build up a collections since it is a very romantic piece of decoration.
I enjoyed looking at the photos and I envy you such beautiful pieces of linen.

Lynn Bean said...

This is a beautiful post! I absolutely adore vintage whites and you have photographed them to a tee! Blessings and have a great week! Lynn

Pat Cantwell said...

Exquisite linens!!!
I agree ironing brings out their beauty!!!

Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique said...

I'm always so in awe of your beautiful linens Jacqueline. There's just something so romantic about vintage linen and I especially love them when they look all crisp and neat from ironing. I'm pinning these gorgeous images.
Have a lovely weekend sweetie ~ Kerryanne

Jaybird said...

Ahhh those are lovely and yes, I do know about the refrigerator :^)
When I was growing up, we had ruffled organdy curtains at most of our windows. Twice a year we washed, starched (in liquefied powder starch that we mixed up), dried on the line and ironed an entire house full of ruffled, organdy curtains...... oh my.......
I still love to see beautifully ironed linens, and have saved a couple of my Grandmother's real Turkish towels, to use for pressing damask.
A few weeks ago, I scored four 20" damask napkins. They are currently soaking in Oxy, and will be rewashed and ironed this weekend.
Your beautiful pictures have lightened my long Friday afternoon.

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