Choosing And Washing Table Linens (Video)

Cityline

I shared tips on Cityline for how to choose and care for table linens.

Make sure you watch to the end of the segment, because I show host Tracy Moore how to DIY a quick, no-sew tablecloth, and I share with her the three most common drop lengths for a table cloth: dinner (1″ above the seat of your chair), formal (18-24″ from the table top), and floor length.

Watch here…

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Cityline Host, Tracy Moore:
Denise Wild, our sewing expert. How are you, honey?

Denise:
Great. How are you? Thank you.

Tracy:
Great. I love that you’re going to take us through some of the linen options we might have–

Denise:
Yeah.

Tracy:
—for the holiday season.

Denise:
Exactly.

Tracy:
Because there’s so many choices out there if you are going to go with linens, and this is usually the time when people get a little bit more fancy.

Denise:
Definitely.

Tracy:
And you’ve got great options here.

Denise:
Yeah. The linens are really the backdrop to your party. So we’re talking about tablecloths, table runners, place mats, napkins.

Tracy:
Mmm hmm.

Denise:
And you can really – first you want to start thinking about the fabric. So, something that is like a polyester or polyester blend, polyester cotton, or even a linen-cotton blend. They’re so easy to maintain. You just throw them in the washing machine, throw them in the dryer. They’re really, really great.

Tracy:
That’s good.

Denise:
If you move into–

Tracy:
Low maintenance.

Denise:
Yeah, exactly. Super low maintenance.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
So, if you move into a hundred percent pure, natural fiber. Maybe an Egyptian cotton or an Irish linen–

Tracy:
Uh huh.

Denise:
—then you’re looking at a bit more maintenance, but it is nicer to the touch. So you usually have a nicer, more luxurious feel–

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
—but you have to wash it very gently. Maybe by hand, and definitely don’t put it in the dryer. Either line dry it–

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
—or hang it to dry.

Tracy:
And you don’t want red wine on this, do you?

Denise:
No. You don’t.

Tracy:
That’s going to be a problem.

Denise:
Yeah. Then you also have vinyl as an option.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
So a really flexible vinyl or something with a little bit of flannel behind it.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
It’s great if you have kids or if it’s under the buffet table; you can just wipe it clean.

Tracy:
Totally.

Denise:
So that’s super, super low maintenance.

Tracy:
Throw the whole bottle of red wine on that.

Denise:
Yeah, yeah. That one’s okay.

Tracy:
You’re good.

Denise:
That one’s okay.

Tracy:
It’s going to wipe right off.

Denise:
So let’s talk about dressing the table. Before you put your linens on, you want to make sure that you’re ironing them.

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
So, pick a temperature setting on your iron based on the type of fabric.

Tracy:
Uh, huh.

Denise:
And, if you’ve got a hundred percent cotton or a hundred percent linen, then make sure it’s still a little bit damp when you’re ironing it, that way you’ll get the creases out even better.

Tracy:
Great tip.

Denise:
That’s a great, great tip. And bring your ironing board over to the side of the table so, as you’re ironing a huge tablecloth–

Tracy:
Yes.

Denise:
—you can just slide it right on the table. You don’t have to worry about it pooling down and getting extra wrinkled.

Tracy:
What a great idea!

Denise:
Yeah.

Tracy:
Because it is a bit of a beast.

Denise:
Exactly.

Tracy:
You take out this huge tablecloth–

Denise:
Exactly.

Tracy:
— and you’re thinking, ‘oh, my goodness.’

Denise:
Exactly. You’re ironing on a little board–

Tracy:
Yes!

Denise:
—and then it starts to pile up and you get more wrinkles in it anyway.

Tracy:
Yeah. Very smart.

Denise:
So when you’re storing your linens, you want to make sure you launder them and don’t iron them, because you’re going to iron them right before you put them on the table.

Tracy:
Right. That’s right.

Denise:
But–

Tracy:
You’re going to iron them right before you put them on the table.

Denise:
But how you store them is really important. So a very fine linen – let’s say, your mother gave you her antique linens. You don’t want to get them – you don’t want to have them in a mess.

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
So the best to do–

Tracy:
You want to preserve them.

Denise:
Exactly. To preserve them, roll them up in an hundred percent cotton sheet.

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
Or you could put them around a cardboard tube; just make sure that it’s lined with an acid free–

Tracy:
That’s right.

Denise:
—tracing paper.

Tracy:
So you’re talking about the family heirlooms.

Denise:
Exactly.

Tracy:
The things you want to make sure you hang onto–

Denise:
Yeah. You don’t want them to discolor.

Tracy:
—your grandmother’s linens.

Denise:
Exactly.

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
You don’t want them to yellow or anything like that.

Tracy:
Yes. Good storage.

Denise:
And then whenever dressing your table, make sure you mix it up. So look for different textures–

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
—look for different details, different trims. You could even go really crazy with embellishments, anything that you want. And just play with different colours, play with different textures. You can do layering, you know; layering a circle table – circular tablecloth–

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
—over a rectangular one.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
Or you could even try, you know, something that has more sheerness and more see-through under – overtop of a color.

Tracy:
That’s really nice–

Denise:
Yes.

Tracy:
—layer them all together.

Denise:
Yeah.

Tracy:
As someone in your line of work, do you have like a billion of these?

Denise:
Yeah. And it doesn’t have–

Tracy:
Do you have a ton?

Denise:
—to be matching, matching.

Tracy:
And do you mix them all together?

Denise:
Exactly.

Tracy:
So the place mats, the linens, you can – you can make this yourself, right?

Denise:
You can. And, actually, if – I have a really great DIY one–

Tracy:
Yes.

Denise:
—but I don’t want you to be afraid, because it doesn’t require a sewing machine.

Tracy:
That’s– I like that.

Denise:
So, let’s say– I knew you would. So, let’s say, last minute, you need a tablecloth. Maybe you have or are missing one or are one short, and your husband invited his boss, and you just found out and you need something for the table.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
You can head out to the fabric store and look for a fabric that doesn’t fray. So you’re looking for an oilcloth or a laminated cotton.

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
Or even a pleather. They have really great–

Tracy:
Wow.

Denise:
—flexible pleather these days –

Tracy:
Um, hum.

Denise:
—that are much more luxurious and beautiful and they look really good.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
So you’re going to just cut it on – off of the bolt and you can throw it on your table and you’re good to go. You don’t have to hem it, you don’t have to sew it.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
But what you do want to do is know the right length. So you want the length of your table plus two times your drop length.

Tracy:
So two times on either side?

Denise:
Exactly.

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
And if it’s for regular dinning, your drop length is an inch above the height of your chair – of your, sorry, the seat of your chair.

Tracy:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Denise:
Or eighteen to twenty-four inches drop length is perfect for formal or you can always go floor length.

Tracy:
You know what, I like these measurements. And if people are sticklers and they want them, can we put them on our website?

Denise:
Yeah. Absolutely, absolutely.

Tracy:
So go to cityline.ca to get all of those – those different heights.

Denise:
The drop length.

Tracy:
It’s really good. You can just head on over to the fabric store and–

Denise:
Exactly.

Tracy:
—cut a fabric that works.

Denise:
Just cut and go.

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
Yeah.

Tracy:
Good stuff.

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