Working with vintage fabrics is amazing. They seem to come with their own story. They feel different that the new-synthetic-fullofsizing-stiff fabric off the bolt.
That said, sometimes even fabric to use in re-purposing is too bright white. Probably loving cared for and seldom used by the original owner so they are still nice and crisp and too white. When I am using a piece to re-purpose..and that is easier to do if there is damage to it. I like to help it feels it's age...and tea or coffee becoming my friend.
Here in pictures is how I do it:
First the nice white.. pieces:
Nice but TOO white - they lack the warmth of "old".
So I mix up a batch of 'aging solution'. I like the cheapest tea but instant coffee also works. Just make it about 3 - 4 times stronger than recommended for drinking - let it steep (simmer) for a bit. Pre-moisten the fabric /lace/trim, and dip it in the mixture.
Then make little piles with the fabric on a cookie sheet: - crumpled makes a better uneven and distressed look.
Then put the cookie sheet in the oven at 170 for at least an hour or longer. If it is a nice sunny day - they can be put outside to 'bake in the sun'. They look pretty 'crusty' here. Sometimes this is great to use just like this. Especially for something that won't be washed - like to trim a doll dress, or use on a decorative item.
For the things that will be washed - like my bags and aprons -after the pieces have dried and baked in the oven or sun, I wash them in a short cycle with detergent and then toss them in the dryer. When they come out they are so nice and mellow and warm.
Have you even noticed how smells can transport us to another place and time and bring in sharp focus all the details associated with the smell. That is incredible, isn't it? Well, I am not a coffee or tea drinking, however my Dad drank coffee and doing this 'brew' makes me miss him, that delightful-early-morning-on-the-farm coffee smell first thing - Dad just coming in from milking and eating breakfast - it was a family rule that we all ate meals together...then Dad drinking that last cup of coffee and singing out... 'bus time - bus time" about 100 times as we girls frantically changed our clothes three more times before the bus rounded the last corner from our neighbor-in-laws. Another family rule...never make the bus-driver wait - that was rude.
Miss you Dad....