|Some of my vintage initialled napkins, bundled in sets and folded ready for use|
Friday, 10 October 2014
DASHING AWAY WITH THE SMOOTHING IRON
There is a strange new fashion for wearing and using linen in its natural creased state and I find it hard to understand. To me, one of its virtues is the cool, slightly glossy look and feel of well-ironed linen and I enjoy pressing and folding it into perfect shapes - usually squares! To do a good job you need a large surface; a blanket and old linen cloth on an unpolished table will do fine, and a good heavy and hot iron. The linen should be slightly damp and it is a good idea to pull all corners of large sheets to get it stretched square so that it will fold neatly. With sheets, you can usually fold them lengthways in four and slowly press all the layers with your iron, turning the whole over at the end so that you can press the other side. This will not be as perfect as ironing all the surface once, but if you have several sheets to do, it does save time and trouble.
If you do not have time to iron the linen when it is just at the right dampness, roll it up in a bundle and store in your deep freeze till you are ready (I learnt this trick in Texas where the dry climate is a problem). Air the linen well and stack neatly. Be sure your ironed linen is dry (otherwise you risk mildew) and store in a cool dry place, a hot cupboard is not a good storage place, nor a damp bathroom. If there are buttons on pillowcases, do not iron over them as holes will soon appear, iron round them. If there is lace, also big initials, always iron on the wrong side and with a fine damp cloth, and be careful not to snag the 'brides' (joining bars in openwork) . The art of folding linen follows soon!