christmas crisis averted

I have this amazing Christmas tree skirt that I bought at a church fair easily 20 to 25 years ago. It is lined and hand needlepointed on cotton piqué with bright red trim. (see photo above.)  This Christmas tree skirt was vintage when I bought it.

So I have started thinking about Christmas and which Christmas tree skirt I was going to use on the tree this year – I have like four skirts I think at this point. I thought about this one in particular because I haven’t used it in a few Christmases now.

I got the skirt out of its storage container and noticed it had some dirty smudge marks on it and the white cotton background looked a little yellow with age.

So I thought I would soak it in Restoration,  which is a fabric restoring granular wash. I use it on all my vintage linens and even quilts. It is also septic safe. It lifts the yellowing right off the fabrics and gets out more stains than anything else I’ve ever used.  Literally restores the pieces I use it on.

So I soaked the Christmas tree skirt for the 6 to 8 hours and Restoration, and everything rinsed clear. I put it on a drying rack to dry and everything looked perfect.

I came back the next day to put it away figuring it had ample time to dry and yes it was dry but the dyes from the needlepoint yarn had run all over the white cotton! 

It looked like it was glowing the way the color had bled on the white. I was horrified!

So back into Restoration and water it went. I repeated the exact same process. The exact same thing happened again.

They say three times is the charm. Luckily for me it was. Once again on the third try, I put it in Restoration. Once again it rinsed clear after washing it in Restoration. 

Only this time I did things a little differently. I did another rinse/soak in white vinegar and water – something I remember from batik and tie-dye. Once again it rinsed clear. 

But I did not put it on the drying rack to dry. It took over an hour and a half but I ironed it dry between old bath towels on the ironing board.

The picture at the beginning of this post is what it looks like now after taking those extra steps. It’s a little damp still but I am hopeful that it will dry the right way this time and I won’t have the yarn dyes running all over the place.

I’m putting this into a post because it’s a cautionary tale of dealing with vintage linens. I’m pretty good about restoring them but this one really flummoxed me for a while.

The reason I like to hand wash a lot of my linens is the modern dry cleaning process will cause them to yellow sometimes. But I learned once again the valuable lesson that not everything can be hand washed with ease.

But I love this Christmas tree skirt so I’m glad I think I found a solution to my problem.

Thanks for stopping by!

1 thought on “christmas crisis averted

  1. Great post! Thanks for the information on Restoration. I have a few pieces of beautiful, old linens from a great grandmother but they are yellow and with some old stains. I will give Restoration a try.
    Your tree skirt looks gorgeous. You get an A plus for tenacity. Glad it worked out.

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