I have sold several Army Navy tablecloths and they are gorgeous. Many were made in Hong Kong or the Philipines. The identifying pattern is alternating linen and lace blocks. The lace can be hand or machine made. Many times the linen blocks are beautifully embroidered. I have seen embroidery in white and colors. The newer pieces I have acquired have machine made lace.
There are several versions as to how that name was acquired. They have been popular gifts for years.
Mothers and girlfriends have received these beauties from their service member husbands and boyfriends overseas. A sailor spending some time on Guam in the 1950s sent the one pictured above home to his mother. It is 68" x 90" with twelve matching embroidered napkins.
The price range is usually $60.00 and up to $300.00, depending on size and decoration. Keep your eyes open and you may find a deal on Ebay.
This is a picture of a new tablecloth. It is easy care 65% polyester and 35% cotton. This particular cloth bears no resemblance to the vintage pieces. The "lace" is cheap and stiff. The fabric has no body, no handwork and zigzag stitching joins the squares. I have nothing against zigzag stitches, they are very useful. But it doesn`t equal the elegant look and quality you find in a true vintage Army/Navy Tablecloth.
The vintage cloths are hand washed and air dried. Many times they are sold with matching dinner napkins. Once you get your hands on a truly quality tablecloth you will not settle for second best.