Can anyone tell me of the best fabric for making placemats and napkins that
won't wrinkle and curl and need to be ironed? I want something that comes
out of the dryer looking halfway decent.
You may want to browse around the linen dept. of a store to see what
they are using for placemats these days. For napkins, I have a dozen
white ones I made from birdseye weave diaper fabric - you can buy it by
the yard in the quilt dept. I bought three yards of 44" wide, cut each
one into four "fat quarters" then hemmed them on three sides - the other
side was selvege, and as these are for everyday use I wasn't about to
get fancy. If I fold them and smooth them as soon as the dryer stops
they do not need ironing. Also, if they get stained, they can be
bleached with safety.
Olwyn Mary in New Orleans.
I don't know if you can get it anymore, but I've used hopsacking with
good results. The more you wash it, the softer and more wrinkle free it
gets. I would look for a soft, "homespun" type fabric, with large
threads. I found hopsacking at fabric.com -
In my former home, I made all-cotton osnaburg curtains for two
doorways, one picture window, and five regular windows. These were
useless after we moved, so I cut them square to make everyday
tablecloths, and made the scraps into dishtowels.
I line-dry the tablecloths (draped over an unused shower-curtain rod
in the winter), store them clothespinned to wire hangers in the
laundry room (which is close to the table), and never iron them. They
do collect stains even though I use bleach as a disinfectant.
I'm thinking of trying the recipe for soap powder given in another
thread, but Ivory Snow is long since extinct in this area and I've
yet to stir up the energy to grate a bar of Fels Naptha. I do know
that real soap in boiling water is the ultimate cleaner.
I use paper towels for place mats; if I were making mats, I think I'd
get cheap (i.e. cottonized) linen, and stack the mats flat under a
pile of towels or sheets -- I don't iron my pillowcases, but use from
the bottom of the stack, so that they have been pressed by the time
it's their turn on the bed.
 The other thread turned out to be on another forum, so here's a
1c Arm & Hammer washing soda
1c borax (20 mule team)
1 bar Fels Naptha soap.. grated.
stir together. Use 1 TBL per load, or if extra dirty, use 2.
I would love to hear . . . why this appears to do a better job
The cost is 1 penny per use.
I . . . will grate the soap by hand next time.
I used my food processor and it bogged down with the bar of soap.
. . . those old hand-operated meat grinders . . . are great to grind
up the soap, and they take apart to wash. . . .
Pure soap washes out easily, so you can use it again for food.
[a third poster]
Ivory Snow, borax and washing soda. The ratio is 2:1:1.
The last is the version I would use -- if Ivory Snow were still being
made. I think I saw a detergent that snitched the brand name once,
but haven't seen even that in decades.
Back when you could buy soap flakes, I learned that you must put the
soap in first and let it agitate for a while before putting the
clothes in. Ultimate cleaner in hot water, works in cold if the water
is very soft -- I once spent a year in a place where the county
collected rain water for the public supply, and I didn't use anything
but soap -- detergent would have bubbled all over the yard.
Joy Beeson wrote in
if you have a microwave & a really large glass/ceramic bowl, put a
bar of Ivory soap in the bowl & microwave it for 90 seconds to 3
minutes (you can go up to 6 minutes. it won't hurt anything). trust
me, you *need* a big bowl! the soap will expand to about 6x the size
of the bar. when it cools (about 2 minutes) it will be crumbly.
almost instant soap flakes & it's fun.