Friday, January 22, 2010

Vintage Linens

Most of us enjoy fabric shopping, being easily entertained by the color, texture and bargains we can find along the way. I get probably even more entertained by shopping for Vintage Linens, and nothing beats inheriting them! Recently, my mother gifted me with several bags of Vintage Linens that had belonged to my grandmothers, including hankies, napkins, tablecloths, tea towels, dresser cloths and pillowcases - what a treasure! 

I enjoy displaying many of my Vintage Linens in my home, and have also used some of them in sewing projects. There are many creative ways you can recycle Vintage Linens into clothing, home decorating, gifts and accessories. A few books that will creatively inspire you are Sew Vintage, Sewing Vintage Style and Affordable Heirlooms.

These books have helped to inspire me to get creative and use some of my cherished linens in some sewing projects. Vintage or antique tablecloths and other linens often have beautiful patterns and colors, but plenty of wear and tear from years of use. Recycle those treasured heirlooms in projects that bypass holes, stains, faded spots, and other hazards of antique fabrics
Using vintage hankies and fabric from my stash, I made some throw pillows for my bedroom. I couldn't bear to cut the beautiful, delicate hankies, so I made envelope-style pillows, which made use of the entire hankie. I stitched one side of the hankie to the back side of the pillow fabric and the front side of the hankie is tacked down with a button or snap so that the pillow insert can be easily taken out if the pillowcase needs washing.

Another idea for using Vintage Linens is in clothing. Altho not vintage, I made this little jacket and bonnet set with linen tea towels. I carefully laid out my pattern pieces on the tea towel, making use of the decorative edges of the tea towel for the lower edges of the jacket and brim of the bonnet.

About as soon as I made this little set, Sew Beautiful Magazine Issue #99 had a cover article using linen tea towels to make a similar jacket and bonnet set. The cover article is by Jeannie Baumeister of The Old Fashioned Baby. I think Jeannie must be my long lost sister in sewing because we tend to create along the same lines, both sharing a love of the classic, old-fashioned styles! 

This back issue of Sew Beautiful is well worth taking the time to look thru it again - Jeannie gives excellent instruction on how to use Tea Towels to make the little jacket and bonnet shown on the cover of that issue. It's amazing how quickly an ensemble like this goes together using the finished, decorative edges of the tea towels.

Next time you find some vintage linens that you love, try to think of all the possibilities!

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ShirleyC said...

This brings back memories to me. I have a collection of these from my mom. So many of them are not in good shape as she used these everyday. I did selvage a couple of good ones, and I use one of those on my magazine table.
The pic in the top right hand corner really looks like some my mom embroidered. I think I did a few as a kid also.
I hope to do what you suggested someday, and that is to make use of the good pieces that are left. Hopefully, something to pass down to Shelby.

jhwolf said...

Here's another idea for using those linen collections.

Cindy Needham makes beautiful quilts from linens.

Judy in MO

Jeannie B. said...

Well, if you are like must have felt like you had died and gone to heaven when your Mom gave you the bag of linens!! How wonderful. That is the stuff my fantasies are made of! I think we certainly are sewing sisters. Glad to have found you! Jeannie

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Oh! how beautiful! Love what you have created :o)

Blessings & Aloha!


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