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EllynAnne Geisel follows her well-loved The Apron Book: Making, Wearing, and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort with her recent The Kitchen Linens Book: Using, Sharing, and Cherishing the Fabrics of Our Daily Lives. Kelly from Modern June was one of our very first pattern reviewers and today she’s back with a review of The Kitchen Linens Book. Kelly was inspired by the book to create a tutorial for an oilcloth picnic mat on her Oilcloth Addict site, so be sure to check it out.

We hope you’ll enjoy Kelly’s review below, then comment on today’s post for a chance to win your own copy of The Kitchen Linens Book! Tell us about your favorite vintage linens or your most special kitchen memories… We’ll announce the winner before our Spring Sewing kick-off on April 1. EllynAnne also has a big giveaway on her site (you’ll find details and the link at the bottom of today’s review).

From Kelly: This is a book after my own heart. What could be better than great vintage table linens? For me, the answer is not much!

When I was given the opportunity to review this wonderful book by EllynAnne Geisel I was honored. I was honored because I too have adorned my home in vintage linens. I’ve placed embroidered tea towels in my kitchen windows, and a small vintage tablecloth covering the backdoor window, both serving as curtains. I also have drawer full of beloved tablecloths and napkins.

When I began reading this book I could see that EllynAnne knows the true value of the table linens she has spent years collecting– she sees each piece as a memory. And in this we are kindred spirits. Like her, each piece I found, or inherited, is a story. For example, every time I use my first vintage linen purchase, I am flooded with memories of being a newlywed, cruising the flea markets with my new hubby and dreaming of all the great meals we would eat at that tablecloth.

The Kitchen Linens Book covers them all, from humble workhorses like pot-holders, trivets, and towels, to casual dining linens for picnics and tailgate parties, to more elegant linens for gatherings like garden parties. Trust me, after reading this book you will be making that PB&J your kids eat an occasion to remember. You’ll start to use the treasures that have you have tucked away, because within them are new memories just waiting to be made.

EllynAnne even gives nod to my fabric of choice, oilcloth! No backyard BBQ should be without an oilcloth tablecloth. And she gives instructions for combining a beach towel and oilcloth into a handy beach rug– I’ll be making four of these for the summer! (I have a tutorial for an extra large picnic mat on my Oilcloth Addict blog.)

This book is loaded helpful tips, recipes, projects, and the history of linens. Did you know that bright kitchen linens began in the Depression? You can see that trend happening again as our economy has brought us back to the home once more. Women, then and now, need a bit of loveliness to perk up our daily chores.

In the back of the book you’ll find a real treat, a reproduction transfer of a vintage Butterick pattern. EllynAnne gives you detailed directions for adding these cute teapot charactors to napkins, tea towels and tablecloths for your own use.

EllynAnne scatters “From the Linen Closet” stories throughout the book, detailing the stories she has collected from others and their lives with linens. My favorite is the story of a woman that has always given tablecloths as gifts for every occasion. Many years later the same woman’s daughter surprised her with a grand birthday party, each table set with the tablecloths she had given as gifts to all of her friends and family from over the years; each guest brought back their favorite tablecloth to share in this special event. What memories that must have conjured. I believe I’ll adopt that tradition, but my tablecloths presents, be them new or vintage, will have a copy of this book tucked in side along with a note insisting that nothing is too good to use.

Tonight, join me in setting the dinner table with your best linens and make a memory. Hey, even take-out looks great on vintage linens and nice plates! Bon Appetit!

You can find more details about The Kitchen Linens Book and enter to win EllynAnne Geisel’s big giveaway on the Apron Memories site… Six winners will win this wonderful selection of prizes!