Lovely Summer Linens

Cocktail napkins and coasters made of handkerchief linen

Just a quick post before the month of July slips away… I was talking this week with my fellow sewing enthusiast Samina about table linens. (Find her blog here; she’s always got fun and unique things to show!) I told her what a great job she did recycling some voile into napkins, and making them extra-pretty with different trims. She had wondered whether voile was too lightweight to make a good napkin, but I reminded her that in the grand scheme of linens, very lightweight materials are not that uncommon, especially for those very fancy tea sets.

I have a tea set I received from an Aunt who also enjoys linens, as much as I do! It’s four napkins and a table cloth. I say they’re a tea set because of the size; the napkins are not more than 12 inches square, and maybe only 9. And the table cloth wouldn’t fit more than a 20 to 25 inch table. The set is made of organza with Madeira shadow work in pink, I’m guessing batiste.

Now, I would love to show you this set; I know I kept it especially because it was so pretty and from my Aunt, and I have looked in every place in the house that I keep linens, but, no joy! That means it’s in the attic. Folks, it’s summer, and it’s Houston – I will not be going into the attic no matter how much I might want to share, sorry.

But I did a little research and found many fine examples of similar things: napkins, hankies, table runners, placemats and table cloths.

Some lovely Pinterest boards came up, like this one by Ruby Sabino, and this Etsy listing by ShurleyShirley. (sorry no direct images, since these were from others’ websites.)

This website has some lovely examples of vintage hankies, and also helps explain why I’ve always called this kind of shadow work Madeira – it seems the island of Madeira is known for this type of work – I love learning something new!

But as you can see from any of these sites, even table linens were made from the daintiest of fabrics: organza, organdy, voiles and batistes. The set in the photo above is one I made of handkerchief linen, a very lightweight linen.

Stay cool, stay safe, talk with you soon!

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