Think Beyond The Box, Wear A Tablecloth!

Deco Tablecloth & Andyman's Gran!, Rocking Dog

Deco Tablecloth & Andyman’s Gran!

My interpretation of thinking beyond the box and wearing a tablecloth, is to use them as fabulous scarves, shawls and sarongs. I’ll pass on that last one because i’m not one for promenading on the beach. In fact i’m the one sat under the tree or umbrella and complaining that it’s simply too blasted hot! Give me snow, the arctic circle, pine trees and sub-zero temperatures in preference to blazing sun and sand hot enough to melt your flip-flops!

So yes a fashion staple of mine is a good vintage tablecloth to snazz up a plain, and possibly somewhat bland ensemble. Spend a little time configuring the best way of draping your vintage garb. If you are of a certain age, Dame Judi Dench and the lovely Dame Jenni Murray have great ways of configuring a whole host of scarves.

Yesterday the CLIC Sargent charity shop in Gloucester Road proved a fruitful vintage hunting ground. I spotted a lovely square tablecloth in jolly yellow and white with vibrant images of tables laid up with lobster, gammon and exotic fruits. £10 bought me a fantastic little cover up when forthcoming hot days become dusky cooler evenings. Dating from the 50’s or early 60’s, I know I will covet this nostalgic textile. Oldest daughter has “bagsed” it already without even seeing it!

Still in the 50/60’s I have a lovely cloth depicting red roses which i’m sure will get an outing soon. I find it fascinating to think about how it would have looked in its surroundings when it was proudly purchased or gifted. Was it laid over the oh so practical Formica topped kitchen table and was it dressed with the latest pyrex tableware?

Another favourite table linen is a somewhat older cloth dating from the 20’s/30’s. We are in the realms of The Charleston, cloche hat, sleek motor car, the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and glamour with a capital G. Of course not everything was rosy, the Great Depression and grinding poverty for many, sat harshly in this era of the carefree spinning flapper girl. My Deco tablecloth came from a now defunct vintage shop in Clifton Arcade. Cleo’s tiny shop was an absolute trove of fashion, jewels and accessories of the last century. She was passionate about her stock and knowledgable on its provenance and quirks. Back to the cloth, in perfect condition it is printed with geometrics, stylised flora and abstract pattern. With a simple colour palate of navy, dove grey and vibrant orange on a cream background it’s certainly striking! I wore it against white linen for a party. After a lot of frou’ing I decided to set it on one shoulder. Voila!

Although not a tablecloth, I am somewhat tempted to use an old St John Ambulance sling as a scarf one of these days. I love the powerful black imagery. It dates from WW1 and unfortunately I have no recollection when or where I bought it. It’s amazing that in the last decade we have seen cotton triangular slings become obsolete. Velcro, D rings, mesh, manmade drip dry materials, ice pockets, render the art of tying a sling to history.

If tablecloths are stained or moth eaten they can be cannibalised into pretty aprons, retro headbands and turbans. “Chic on a Shoestring” by Mary Jane Baxter is a great little tome for up-cycling materials into whizzy things to wear. There are even instructions on making a pill box hat from a Cornflake’s packet. Wedding millinery sorted!

Whatever the weekend (sorry, very cheesy link!) holds for you, I hope it’s a lovely one. Love Rocking Dog x

Rock n' Roll Table Linen, Rocking Dog

Rock n’ Roll Table Linen

60's Mum & Bro!, Rocking Dog

60’s Mum & Bro!

Wonderful CLIC Emporium, Rocking Dog

Wonderful CLIC Emporium

WW1 Sling, Rocking Dog

WW1 Sling

Box For The Sling!, Rocking Dog

Box For The Sling!

Vintage Laundry, Rocking Dog

Vintage Laundry

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