The habit, the Jones of collecting "antique" and "vintage" linens came out of necessity. They were once cheap, and unloved. Then Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart jumped into the fray, and collecting old linens became popular. They made it okay to be a working class stiff with nary an heirloom in your linen press. You could collect someone else's heirlooms and love them as if they were handed down to you.
It was quite the rage back in the 1970's and 1980's and 1990's among my friends. We scrounged around flea markets and thrift stores buying old towels, sheets, pillow cases, nighties. When we went to Europe we had to buy an extra suitcase or two to haul back the linen loot we picked up there.
We loved the thick monograms you can feel, and we didn't care that the initials weren't our own, although when we did find "our" monogram or initial we were thrilled.
In fact we loved writing of all kinds on the old linens and grain, flour, or feed sacks. Better yet if it was in French, which seemed so glam and to die for.
If you could sew a little, you could turn sacks into pillows for your couch.
I pulled them out for the guest bathroom since we had company
Cute message board!
This is the 'N Things part of the post -
I just like the wall, and think it would be a good message board idea
Ticking was a big deal too. Any color from the trad blues and black and grays, to red and green.
Ticking in my bedroom past
We collected tablecloths and napkins by the dozens. It didn't matter if they had holes or faint old stains. We used our linens everyday. We learned how to launder and iron them, and hold them together as the fabric rotted away with time. I once had a super long linen sheet that got tattered on the bottom edge. I took it to my local dry cleaner/tailor and asked that they cut off the bad part, and make me a nice hem so I could use the good part of my precious piece. They laughed at me, and told me to get that rotten piece of crap out of the store. So I did it myself, and used that sheet as a tablecloth for many years, until it finally did disintegrate.
Shabby Chic was a godsend. We happily slip covered and mixed matelasse, florals, lace, and linen. We found a two new words: Euro sham. We piled on the pillows.
If they didn't fit us, we displayed them as a work of art.
and wore them as evening dresses, and learned all about the bias cut -
I got a date with Truffaut wearing a pretty like this
The petticoat and cami are antique and were a close fit!
Even a pair of vintage and frayed pink satin slippers becomes wall art in my bedroom
Most of my old linens have gone by the wayside. I still have enough pieces to use once in awhile. Personal style changes as we all know, so I don't have the same places to use and display these things. What made me do this post is taking out those ratty little towels and hanging them in the guest bathroom. I realized how many images I have collected of vintage linens, and voila, another clipping file weekend post for you to peruse.
Images from: Cote de Texas, Velvet and Linen, Apartment Therapy, and that fabulous rabbit hole called Google Images.