Besides my love for fabric and aprons, I love vintage linens. You can find me at estate sales, garage sales and antique shops seeking out really awesome pillowcases, tablecloths, dresser scarves and occasionally a sheet that is not too abused. I particularly love the ones that have been embroidered or crocheted. I do embroider, but I don't crochet and I really admire other's work. Sometimes I find a tablecloth or dresser scarf that has a tear on it that I can cut around and still use part of it for a pocket or trim or whatever.
When I find something that is stained or yellowed with age, but still usable, I try to talk the price down and buy it anyway, always pointing out the flaws. Then I take it home and put it in a large sink or pail with oxyclean. I probably go a little heavy on the oxyclean, but it won't hurt the fabric. I leave it in there for 2 full days, going in a couple of times a day and swishing it around. When the 2 days are up, I dump the whole thing (even the water) into the washing machine, add a little bleach and wash as usual. I have been amazed at what will come out of fabrics. Now it still won't take out things like lipstick, marker, pen or anything with artificial color, but most any organic (natural) stain will come right out, including most food, blood, sweat and tears! My son came home from college and his "unders" were more of a grey/brown than white and he said he needed new ones. I treated them the same way and they came out perfectly white.
Another time that this comes in handy, is when you wash baby clothes and put them away for the next child. Even when they go in clean, I am always surprised and disgusted when I unpack them they have spots all over them. Maybe if I washed them with oxyclean before I stored them, I wouldn't have this problem. My youngest child is 21 so I don't pack away clothes much any more, but you might give it a try. Also on garage sale items that have a stain on the chest and you can get them cheap. It might be worth it if it is otherwise a good item and only costs you a quarter.