I have two groups of table linens. The first group I consider to be everyday linens – they are the ones I use when it is just a casual evening with close family or when friends with small children join us for dinner. All of my everyday table linens are black, and that is on purpose. My everyday dishes are square and white, so the contrast makes a nice looking table. But those table linens are black also because they tend to not show imperfections. Because they were relatively inexpensive, I typically care for them myself. Besides, most five year olds don’t care if they are perfectly pressed. If one of these items gets ruined – whether because I do something wrong caring for them or because I cannot remove a bad stain, I can easily replace them.
My second group of table linens, well, I consider them to be priceless, and they typically show up for special occasions and holidays only. Many came from my grandmother, are quite old, are made of delicate fabric, and some are even hand embroidered. If one of these were ruined, I would be devastated. That’s why I would never attempt to care for them myself.
At Shores, we carefully inspect and pretreat by hand all fine table linens. During inspection, we also determine which cleaning process, dry-cleaning or professional wet-cleaning, will safely clean and restore the fabrics to mint condition. Once cleaned and professionally pressed (many of them by hand), we hang them with tissue in the folds to reduce creases, and if you prefer, we can also hand-roll your cloth.
The holiday season is quickly approaching. Don’t wait until the day before Thanksgiving to pull your fine table linens out for use. At least two weeks in advance, gather all the table linens you plan on using, and be sure to carefully examine them under good light. Make certain there is nothing that needs to be addressed before your gathering – look for stains, frayed edges, and tears or holes. Address any problems that you encounter. But also, if they haven’t been used since last holiday season, you will need to have your linens dry cleaned and finished again. You wouldn’t want your guests to wipe their mouths on a dusty cloth.