13 December, 2008 at 6:58 pm #22964
Totally off of any subject, but we were cleaning out a dresser in the basement so we can store our sheets in there and I found like 4 OLD lace tablecloths. They are very yellowed and they are not something I would ever use..Not to mention they smell like they are 100 years old. I would hate to throw them out but I see no use with them..is there?13 December, 2008 at 7:27 pm #341830
It depends on how “old” they are. Are you talking about 10 years old or 50 years old? Lace can be cleaned to bring back their freshness and get rid of the odor. If they are really old for instance over 40 years and not synthetic, there are antique dealers who specialize in antique lace and would probably give their eye teeth for them. Take a look on eBay and see if there is anything listed there which you can compare them to. Depending on how much time you want to put into them and how creative you are if they are pretty and you want to keep them sometimes they can be sewn together to make a pillow case for display purposes. They can also be used to make a cute little tussy mussy which is really a doiley and some dried flowers used for decoration or hold place cards at dinner.
Their value is also determined on how they were made. Can you tell if they are crocheted or some other type?13 December, 2008 at 7:31 pm #341831
Here is a link for some ways to use old tableclothes. Maybe it will help.13 December, 2008 at 7:32 pm #341832
Oh, don’t get rid of them, CM!!!! There are so many things that you can do with antique linens!!! But, don’t dry clean them. Here are some hints on how to clean antique linens:13 December, 2008 at 7:32 pm #341833
Thank you for the links and the ideas. I will reexamine them and make some sort of decision. Hubby already said “Toss them”..13 December, 2008 at 7:40 pm #341834
Sorry I missed the “tablecloth” part. I was picturing lace doilies. I have seen lace tablecloths used on comforters or bedspreads. You sew them on top of a solid color bedspread but I think you need to really like them to be bothered with that. The easiest thing to do with lace tablecloths is make curtains. If you can post a picture of them I can maybe give you a little more information on their value and whether or not they are worth spending time on.13 December, 2008 at 7:46 pm #341835
CM……..Depending on their age and fragility would be a factor on how to proceed. I have often soaked yellowed lace table cloths and coverlets in a mild solution of bleach and warm water in the kitchen sink. When de-yellowed, rinse well, then hand wash with a mild detergent. One time I just soaked in Woolite, and that worked well. You might want to test a corner in the bleach water and see what happens. As for other uses….. Cover over solid colored accent pillows, drape across the foot of a bed, window curtains, stitch a band of lace along the bottom of bath/hand towels, draped over the back of a rocking chair, a topper for a skirted table. Hopefully you or your MIL knows how to sew……. not that you will have the time!! It would be a shame to just pitch, esp. if they are in good condition. Opps… I sound like an echo….. had to take a lenghty phone call….. came back and hit send, not checking out what others had suggested.13 December, 2008 at 7:58 pm #341836
I will take em if you are just gonna throw em, I love old things like that and I love lace table cloths and curtains and things like that!!!!13 December, 2008 at 7:59 pm #341837
CM while you are waiting to determine if you want to keep these or if they are of any value can I suggest strongly that you not do anything to clean them in any way. If they have any value to an antique dealer they will want them just as they are and will clean them themselves. You could do more harm than good by cleaning yourself.13 December, 2008 at 8:20 pm #341838
I have cleaned heirloom textiles that I have then used in quilts. I love to prowl antique shops and look for unique textiles to use.
Psssst, CM – those table cloths can always be whacked up and sewn into a quilt for, you know….. little girls!13 December, 2008 at 8:28 pm #341839
CM – I have a friend, who is so creative. She takes old (yellowed or discolored) lace table cloths and dyes them. All differenc colors, then uses them all year for differen things. She dyed one a beautiful pink and laid it over a white table cloth for her 6 yr old’s birthday party, and it was beautiful. She uses them at Easter, Thanksgiving, everywhere. She also uses them over table cloths on side tables for different looks.13 December, 2008 at 8:29 pm #341840
well I dont do quilting 🙂
but I have always wanted to learn how13 December, 2008 at 8:40 pm #341841
I have to admit, I do not sew…only buttons that’s it. I am so not creative at all. TKN might be getting them 🙂13 December, 2008 at 8:42 pm #341842
CM, do you know who they belonged to? Don’t let a family treasure slip through your hands because one of these days you will wish that you had kept those things.13 December, 2008 at 8:46 pm #341843
I am with WWM there, might be worth digging into family history there a bit.13 December, 2008 at 8:53 pm #341844
well with my mom gone…there is no one to ask…I don’t think it belonged to our family..I think she got them by default from a patient she used to care for. So she put them up..she NEVER threw anything away.13 December, 2008 at 8:55 pm #341845
lol, my mom is like that too. She still has all the childrens books in spanish from when she taught kinder garden13 December, 2008 at 9:20 pm #341846
Ask some local antique shops where you can get them appraised. If they are handmade and old, they could be worth a good deal. In today’s ecomony, extra cash could be handy.
One word of caution though, when my mother asked a local antique dealer about her lead crystal, the woman told her it wasn’t worth much and she would take it off my mother’s hands for $xx(less than $100). Fortunately, mother decided that wasn’t enough to bother with and offered it to the kids. We found another dealer and explained that we would pay for the appraisal but we weren’t going to be selling the pieces. The new price was almost 10 times more. Then we asked the second lady what she would pay for the pieces and she offered about 2/3 of their value. She was upfront about needing to pay less for the crystal then what she would be able to turn around and sell them for, but she wasn’t trying to cheat.
I’m not sure the first lady was actually trying to cheat mother, but she was definitely looking at making a big profit. You have to figure that no one would stay in business if they paid you full worth then turned around and sold the item for exactly what they paid.
Moral of that story – you get a more honest result when the appraiser is paid for their work and knows up front that you aren’t seeking to sell whatever it is.13 December, 2008 at 9:46 pm #341847
Like everybody said, it really depends on how old is old to you. If they are newer polyester cloths they are not worth much, feel free to chop or pitch. If they are hand crotched or hand-made lace (OMG), they are very valuable no matter their condition. I paid $100 for a small, 3×5, crotched cloth which is absolutely beautiful (when I think of the hours someone took to make it, oh, my.) In Ireland I bought a new but hand-made lace cloth to fit a large table, for about the same price, which I treasure and use on holidays. I’ve been buying old crotched doiles and cloths for several years, unfortunately the dealers have realized their value and the prices have risen considerably. I was lucky enough to inherit some items from my MIL which were old and discolored. I washed them in woolite and rinsed them in lemon juice and dried them on a sheet on the lawn in the sunshine (old cloth old whitening procedure) and they came out great.14 December, 2008 at 12:15 am #341848
I guess I should find a dealer…I just don’t know who is reputable and who isn’t..14 December, 2008 at 12:20 am #341849
Look on some antiques websites before you try a dealer, then you’ll have some idea of value and will know if someone is trying to rip you off.14 December, 2008 at 12:44 am #341850
Please don’t throw them out, CM, I love antique linens and though they are going up here too, I am astounded at the prices they get in the US. As Petpntr says, if they are natural materials (cotton, silk, linen. damask), not synthetics, then they are precious, and if the lace is handmade, just think of the labour that went into them. Even if they are not perfect, antique doll collectors can use them for dolls’ clothes, craft and quilt workers can turn them into something beautiful and new, as can skilled dressmakers, etc etc. I am sure TKN would love them to bits and make very good use of them!
In terms of value, there are three values for everything antique, insurance value (what it would cost to replace them — always the highest, because you have to take into account how long you’d have to search to find something similar), shop price, which is what you’d pay for them in a high-class shop (whoever sold them to the shop would of course get quite a lot less, because the shop adds on overheads) and auction price, which is what you’d pay for them at auction, relying on your own knowledge and at your own risk, so that’s probably the lowest price, but clever shoppers can find total bargains. Auction houses take quite a large cut (25-50%?) of the seller’s price, but they are doing the advertising to your target market for you.
I think CBM is right. Take them to a posh antique shop or reputable auction house for an appraisal (tell them for insurance purposes), which you would have to pay a fee for. Then you know what you’re dealing with. Then maybe ebay, or google antique linen in your area to see who might be interested, or accept an offer from a shop once you know what their value is. I would tend to go ebay myself, as they would be exposed to knowledgeable buyers all over the country! They have an antique linens section, I’m sure, as I used to browse it! As Petpntr says, browse it yourself and see if you can see anything similar and what they are going for! Good luck (I LOVE antiques!)14 December, 2008 at 12:45 am #341851
Oops, sorry about the long post!14 December, 2008 at 12:48 am #341852
lol jcat..no apology needed. I should check on them before tossing them. I just told hubby the ideas and the advice I received and he was like OH! so I think we can at least check it out. We do need some extra money (who doesn’t) so if we can sell these, it would be wonderful.14 December, 2008 at 12:49 am #341853
And if you’d rather not pay for an appraisal, I’d tend to go straight to ebay…14 December, 2008 at 12:58 am #341854
Just thought, CM, maybe your MIL or someone she knows or an elderly neighbour might be able to tell you straight off if they’re natural fabrics and actually old or not. There is always the burn test (take a thread out and hold a match flame to it — if it burns steadily, it’s natural, if it melts or flares up, it’s synthetic) but I always think I’d have to burn just about the whole darn thing to work out which it was, lol!14 December, 2008 at 1:08 am #341855
There is not much sense paying for an appraisal if these tablecloths are not worth anything. You could pay $50 or $75 for an appraisal to find out you have something worth $10.00. First you need to establish that they are in fact antique. Something is old at 25 years but it is not an antique and not worth much more than what you would pay in the store for a new one. It can be quite lovely but that doesn’t mean it is valuable.
You need to do your homework first or risk spending time and money for nothing. If they are crocheted tableclothes made by someones grandmother 25 years ago they are worthless except if you like them. If it is something like handmade Battenburg lace or tatting then you are talking about a whole different ball of wax.
I am sure if you find any local antique store which carries linens you can go in and ask for their opinion. People used to do that all the time when I had my store. I specialized in Victoriana and had a fair stock of antique textiles as well. It is something antique dealers are used to dealing with and for the most part don’t mind doing as long as someone isn’t taking up lots of our time and asking for a written appraisal without expecting to pay for it. You don’t need to sell it to them. Just find out what kind of lace you have to begin with. Between that and finding something similar on eBay you will at least have a starting point to know whether they are worth investing any further time or money in them.14 December, 2008 at 1:44 am #341856
That’s great advice, Petpntr. I must admit, I was running ahead of myself and assuming they are old and natural materials but of course they might not be. I envy you having an antique shop, that is my dream job (though I don’t think I’d be able to bear to sell anything, lol!)14 December, 2008 at 1:48 am #341857
You made me laugh JC. When I first opened my store I prided myself with purchasing only stock which I liked myself. My view was how could I possibly sell anything I wouldn’t want in my own home? I couldn’t! My sister used to come down and help me out once in awhile and she realized that the items I really loved didn’t seem to be moving. After a little observation she realized why. I put exhorbitant prices on those items I really didn’t want to part with knowing no one would pay the prices I asked. She got really upset with me and told me she thought I should put a sign in the window saying “no sales – viewing only”. I eventually got over it but it was not easy.14 December, 2008 at 1:50 am #341858
That is good advice petpntr…I will look at them again tomorrow and see if I can find out anything about them. It could just be homemade items like you said. Heck..my MIL might even know.
Thank you everyone for all your advice, it’s nice to have this family with so much knowledge!
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