Back in the day, when our grandmothers and mothers were using the colorful printed vintage tablecloths that we prize today, they were primarily used on the kitchen or breakfast room table, while the dining room was set with a far more formal cloth of white linen damask. And because the kitchen and breakfast tables were generally much smaller than the one in the dining room, most of the vintage tablecloths we find today are smaller, usually square, about 50 x 50 inches, sometimes rectangular, up to 72 inches long.
In our modern homes, often our kitchen table is larger and requires a larger cloth. And, with our penchant for nostalgia and the vintage look, we are more likely to use the printed tablecloth in the dining room as well. One way to adapt a smaller cloth to a larger table is to layer it diagonally over a white cloth. Or if you have two matching cloths, you can overlap them in the center and cover a much longer table.
According to Michelle Hayes, in her book Elegant Table Linens from Weil & Durrse Including Wilendur, the most common sizes from that manufacturer were 54 x 54″, 54 x 72″ and 48 x 54″, followed by other sizes, from small card table sizes up to 60 or 72 inches round. She does mention that larger gatherings were accomodated with larger cloths, sized 64 x 100″ and 84 x 112″. Any of us who’s been collecting for any length of time realizes that the larger sizes are now scarce, to say the least.
Here at Sharon’s, we’re often asked for larger cloths and find relatively few. This week we were lucky enough to find one of those larger Wilendur’s, in the Wildflower pattern, measuring 60 by about 103 inches. Instead of being hemmed on the ends, this particular cloth was serged.
I tried to show it on my table; it fit fairly well, folded in half – but unfolded, not so well.
If it’s hard to find larger printed tablecloths, it’s harder still to find them with their original paper tag. I guess the large ones mostly got used, were less likely to be a gift that someone just put away. We recently found two that, according to their labels, are both 80 inches long. This one’s already on the website:
And this one’s not, but will be soon:
The hunt goes on. We’ll be adding more tablecloths to the site this week, some fruit ones that we really like.