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Thrift score: Vintage tablecloths

June 20, 2011
Erin L. Hubbs


I love old stuff. All of it.

There are certain vintage items I’m always on the lookout for every time I go thrifting: unique jewelry, souvenir cups and plates from Michigan or Detroit (my home state and town), handbags and linens, specifically napkins and tablecloths.

I am a hardcore barkcloth junkie — the crazier the print the better. Oilcloth is a favorite too, so much so that I bought a reproduction print and covered my kitchen chairs in a red strawberry pattern.

I turned vintage, tags-on Irish linen pillowcases I picked up at Metrolina into cafe curtains in my first house in Plaza-Midwood, and I’m still bitter about having to leave them behind as part of the sale. Sigh.

Photo via The Red Thread Blog

But my real linen obsession comes alive for vintage tablecloths. I don’t know what it is about the fruity, faded prints or the kitschy illustrations, but I must have them. I love the history that you can infer from their often worn, threadbare look.

I don’t know about your family, but tablecloths are not a daily occurrence at Chez Sutherland. Given the state of most of my vintage tablecloths, that wasn’t always the case. My personal favorites, including the poinsettia-dotted cloth I picked up in Michigan last year, are the ones that are patched and even a little stained from so much use.

I do my best to make use of my stash. Once the tablecloths are pressed, it’s easy to hide the signs of wear with a few strategically placed serving dishes.

What is on your thrifting lookout list?

-Rachel Sutherland

Stop by our Contributors page for more about Rachel, or read her other posts here.

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