See 20 old-fashioned cloth calendars that lived on as kitchen dishtowels

All year long Vintage tea towel calendars lots of people would hang up in the kitchen (1970s-1980s)

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Do you remember seeing one of these vintage calendar towels hung up on the wall, or hanging from the oven door?

Although you can get modern versions of these vintage tea towel calendars (see some of the ones available at Amazon here), we think the best part of these old-fashioned linens is remembering the ones from years ago — just like our moms and aunts and grandmothers (and grandfathers) used to have in their kitchens.

In addition, we have some crafty tips from people about how to make good use of the old towel calendars — although in my family, the old dishtowel calendars simply became… dishtowels.

This calendar is a dish towel (1957)

Have you seen the calendars that are really linen dish towels? The whole 12 months of 1958 are printed on the lower half with a picture of some sort printed above, and the idea is to hang it on the kitchen wall for the coming year, then demote it to the task of drying dishes for year after year… or until your husband buys you an automatic dishwasher.

Since last January 1, I’ve been enjoying the 1957 model of one of these calendar towels. My mother brought it back from Boston to tuck in with my Christmas surprises, and it was definitely my favorite surprise. So glad I can now replace it come December 31.

1958 Vintage towel calendar for the retro kitchen

Mine’s the type with a slender bar slipped through a narrow top hem with cord attached at either end to simplify hanging. One of our department stores now has a similar model, packed in a tubular carton, for $1.49. Choice of a Pennsylvania Dutch design or a scenic view above the calendar half, on yellow or pink background.

Destined for kitchens where pink and black spark the decor are linen slipcovers for automatic toasters at 98c and matching aprons with two pockets for the lady of the house, at $2.49, both sporting the calendar treatment. Tea towels to match exactly are sold out, unfortunately, but there are others that would do, having a pink background, at 88c.

MORE: See 10 vintage portable electric hand mixers & beaters from the 50s


Vintage cloth calendar towel from 1958

A Pennsylvania-Dutch style design in red, blue and green

Vintage calendar towel from 1958


Retro calendar towel from 1963

This cloth calendar features three wonderfully 60s stylized cat designs 

Vintage calendar towel from 1963


1965 linen cloth kitchen calendar with an old kitchen shelf image

Shown are in this olde-time kitchen scene are nutmeg, stage, thyme, cider, cocoa, a cookie jar, fruit basket, corn, and a “Peace and plenty” sign

1965 Linen cloth kitchen calendar


Two 1968 dishcloth calendars with roosters

Despite the roosters here, 1968 was actually the Chinese year of the Monkey.

1968 vintage calendar towel

Vintage linen kitchen towel calendar - Rooster (1968)


Vintage calendar towel – Retro stained glass design from 1971

From an old advice column: I have read and heard about many different ways to use those cute linen towel calendars, but thought you might like to hear what I do with them.

I embroider a new baby’s name and circle the birth date (parents’ names optional). Then I keep it for the child’s 18th birthday or present the towel, framed, to the new mother.

Also, it is good for a keepsake memento for the bride and groom with wedding date circled. Makes a nice gift at the time of marriage or 10th anniversary, if kept.

ALSO SEE: How to make beautiful folk-art paint designs using simple brushstrokes

I have calendars for four grandsons, for four consecutive years, and will hold them until they are old enough to appreciate them.

On my modest income, expensive gifts aren’t practical. but these wonderful towels make very nice keepsakes, and the delight expressed when I present one of these calendars is all the incentive I need. – Mrs. Ruth Light (San Francisco Examiner – July 5, 1971)

Vintage calendar towel - Retro stained glass design from 1971


Vintage towel/cloth calendars – Blue with wishing well (1972)

Vintage calendar towels - Blue with wishing well (1972)


Vintage calendar towels: Turn back the hands of time (1972)

Vintage calendar towels - Turn back the hands of time (1972)


Vintage calendar towels: Rooster on yellow (1973)

Vintage calendar towels: Rooster on yellow (1973)


Vintage calendar towel from 1974 with an old red covered bridge

Vintage calendar towel from 1974

MORE: Vintage colored paper towels: See 60+ old-fashioned patterns, colors & kitchen towel styles


Vintage linen tea towel calendars: Vegetables, fruit, gourds & grains (1975)

1975 vintage tea towel calendars: Vegetables, fruit, gourds and grains

Two more retro cloth calendar designs for the mid-70s,! The first has a variety of autumnal flower colors up and down the sides, while the second features a tree, with owls on branches, each holding a calendar page for one month.

Vintage 1975 linen calendar towels for the kitchen


Vintage calendar towels: Birds & plants (1977)

As the time of year for new calendars approaches, I have decided what to do with my old linen towel calendars. I will sew them together for a picnic table cover, or to use for a throw cover over a chair or couch. – Veneva E Clemans (News-Record, Neenah, Wisconsin – December 28, 1966)

1977 tea towel calendar: Birds and plants


Vintage tea towel calendar: Clock, spinning wheel, flowers (1981)

Not a typical scene in 1981, this design emphasized a gentle old-fashioned motif

1981 vintage tea towel calendar: Clock, spinning wheel, flowers

ALSO SEE: Remember Hickory Farms? That’s how we fed our charcuterie obsession back in the day (1970s-90s)


Retro towel calendar from 1982: Happiness is love

Retro vintage towel kitchen calendar from 1982


Vintage cloth calendar towels: American folk art (1983)

This one had an inspirational quote: “There are two days about which no-onw should ever worry — yesterday and tomorrow.”

1983 vintage tea towel calendars: American folk art


Vintage tea towel calendars: Wishing well, rainbow, ducks on a river (1985)

1985 vintage tea towel calendars: Wishing well, rainbow, ducks on a river


1986 vintage calendar towels: Hearts & bears

1986 vintage tea towel calendars: Hearts & bears

NOW SEE THIS: The ultimate guide for making perfect fudge like your grandma used to make PLUS 14 famous & delicious fudge recipes

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