Monday, October 13, 2014

Ya Ya Secret Whitening Formula

Over the years, Mary and I have shared many things. We've traveled all over the world together...we've been to New York City, Seattle, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Florida, Sweden, Norway, Beaver Dam.. .well, you get the idea.
We are always collecting things for our NEXT SHOW....(which I will announce soon)...I have a big collection of fur collars...hummm....
We've written books, designed patterns, planned seminars. We've laughed, we've cried -- and we have NEVER ONCE run out of things to talk about.
We did our Midwest Ya Ya Show in Chautauqua, New York...what a GREAT TIME we had!!
We created these goofy outfits for the Pink and Red charity event in Puyallup, Washington. You will be happy to know we never wore them out in public...
We both enjoy collecting vintage linens and aprons. One of the joys of my life was when Mary and I designed all new updated 7 Days A Week kitchen towel designs for a machine embroidery CD. WHAT FUN THAT WAS!! Of course, our favorite day was MONDAY!! WASH DAY...

When I was writing my book, Dress Your Dream Bed -- the subtitle was "Vintage linen inspiration for today's elegant bed." I had a set of white on white monogrammed pillowcases (with tatted edges) that I wanted to use in the book. But they had been improperly stored, for many years, and they were more brown than white....
The book cover was photographed in my cousin Kim's back yard...(I still use a damask tablecloth for my bedskirt).
Those pillowcases were a conundrum. I wanted to photograph the "before" and "after" to illustrate how they could be refreshed and still used on today's beds.  I took the "before" pictures but, after many washings, with various products...they were still too discolored to be usable. 

Mary recommended the following treatment**:
  1. Soak them overnight in a bucket of plain warm water. When fabric gets very dry (dehydrated) -- it is at it's most fragile state. (The plain water plumps up the fibers, and makes the fabric stronger, more able to absorb subsequent treatments.)
  2. After the first 24 hour soak -- put them in another bucket for a second overnight soak with Mary's mega-whitening-solution:
  • 1/2 cup of dishwasher soap.
  • 1/2 cup of Clorox bleach
  • 2 gallons of very, very hot water
THEN -- wash them in a regular cycle (hot wash/cold rinse) with normal detergent. (I prefer Oxyclean for whitening)

THIS WAS MAGIC... I hung those pillowcases on the line -- on a beautiful bright, sunny day and they were BEAUTIFUL.   Completely restored...they were a stunning, snowy white. 

After the book tour, those tatted pillowcases went into my regular bed linen rotation, and I'm still using them today.


**  CAUTION:  Think long and hard before using bleach on any fabric -- especially vintage linen. Bleach should always be considered a last resort.  By the time I use this solution, I've already exhausted every other logical treatment.  Here's my criteria:  If the item is too yellowed or discolored to be used on my bed -- I have nothing to lose... 


  1. Oooooooh, new topic for YaYa!.........does that mean it might premiere about Feb/Mar 2015........... ;-)

  2. New topic, yes....Feb/Mar