If you have read my blog entries "From Table to Drawer" or "Rose Petal Scent Bags", you will know that I like to use vintage linens to make lavender and rose scent sachets. I have made a number of different designs using embroidered tablecloths and placemats.
Whilst tablecloths and placements are extremely abundant, finding the ones that are right for use is harder than it sounds. Firstly, I look for a natural fibre, as I don't really see the point putting a natural product such as lavender into a synthetic fabric. I therefore only use cotton or linen to make each sachet.
The other vital part for me is the decoration. I prefer not to use a patterned fabric which is why I use embroidered tablecloths and placemats. The decoration tends to be localised rather than all over the fabric. Finding just the right embroidery is also really tricky. Some tablecloths feature ladies in crinoline skirts which are far to big to be practical and some floral designs are meandering or flower garlands which again are just too big to be used.
The ideal embroidery is small areas of flowers which have quite a large blank area of fabric surrounding them. I like the embroidery to end up central on each scent sachet. If it is slightly to one edge though I will make allowances. However, if the embroidery is too close to an edge, then you don't have enough fabric left to sew the scallop edge around the scent sachet.
Two other factors to take into account are firstly you need to be left with enough plain fabric to create the back of the scent sachet. Secondly, you need to ensure that there is a fair amount of useable embroidery on the tablecloth or placemat to make it economical. If you spend a lot of money on a tablecloth with two pieces of useable embroidery, you will only end up with two scent sachets to sell. Taking into account the cost of the lavender, cotton, electric and not to mention your time, it would not be worth making them.
Finally, having found a cotton or linen tablecloth or set of placemats, with small areas of floral embroidery in good condition, the final point to check for is stains. Most vintage linens will have been used in their time and may have small stains on them. If they have come from a large house, they may even have a number dyed onto an edge for identification purposes when sent off to laundry. The best way to check for stains is to hold the linens up to the light. Stains that don't necessarily notice when you first look, soon show when held up to the light.
There is a certain satisfaction in finding just the right linens for use, at a reasonable price. Definitely the best part for me though is filling them all with fragrant lavender or rose petals. The wonderful scent wafting up makes them a pleasure to sew.
Why not check out my website, Etsy, Folksy and Dawanda stores and see my latest creations. Just follow the links at the top left of the blog.