Many years ago I created a collection of unusual vintage cloth cocktail napkins which is ironic because I am not really a drinker. I was attracted to their colors, their humorous and witty sayings, and their small size. I read that the first cocktail napkins were created in ancient China for tea cups. Their use in the United States developed and increased with the rise of cocktail drinking during Prohibition and in the 1940’s and 1950’s. With the increased use of paper napkins, cloth cocktail napkins fell out of favor, housewives didn’t want to wash and iron them constantly. The one above is part of a series illustrated by Carl Tait. He was an illustrator who decorated vintage linens and his creations are now very popular and in high demand.
These can still be used not only for cocktails but other drinks as well and they are quite a conversation piece when they appear. I also think any of them would be really cute if they were framed alone or as a group.
These might have been used for serving cocktails while playing bridge or other card games. I don’t think they are vintage but I have seen vintage ones like these before.
I love the expressions on the ladies’ faces and all the different hats!
The images were just drawn on the fabric. That bird is a wonder!
She is well put together, the flowers on her dress, the earrings, the hat!
Love the hanging cherries!
These cocktail napkins have designs that appear to be appliques that were attached by hand. I love the story the set tells and the added anatomical embellishments!
The handwork is amazing, such tiny stitches!
I have a whole series of sayings like this one but some are not appropriate to share!
Another series with appliques, I love all the different fabric that was used. These however have an added surprise as the next photos show.
I have another somewhat similar series but they are a bit risque so I won’t share them.
Because I am a second generation Californian, (both my parents were born here too), I was really happy to find these. There are several in the series.
I suggest watching for cocktail napkins and using them, for whatever drink you serve!