Choosing and using vintage linens in your home

Vintage linens are some of my very favorite things. They are usually soft and maybe a bit worn. They have a history, and usually they have a lot of detail that you just don’t see these days in new products.

Here are some of my favorite vintage fabric items to buy:

1. Grainsacks
My favorite material, from vintage grainsacks, is rough and nubby. I find it sturdy and amazingly durable considering how old many of them are. The newer ones are very thick and coarse, while the older ones are very soft and bendable. I use them for pillows, upholstery, and even placemats. Typically grainsacks have a stripe or two down the center but not always, and sometimes they even have an embroidered monogram. The monogrammed grainsacks are more and more difficult to find and are becoming quite expensive. One alternative is to buy a grainsack and add your own monogram like I did with my antique French fireplace screen.

grainsack placemat
grainsack pillow
2. Toweling
Toweling is a roll of fabric, usually hemp or linen, used to make towels. It is often soft and has a stripe similar to grainsack stripes. I use it to make pillows and other accessories.

back porch bed small
3. Sheets
Old linen sheets are quite versatile—you can use them to make pillows, sachets or for their original intention as sheets. Often they are on the small side so I prefer to use them as tablecloths. They can be thin, like modern-day sheets, or quite thick and coarse. I actually prefer the more coarse linen sheets because you can tell that they are quite old and not a modern fabric.

4. Handkerchiefs
These dainty linens are often made from cotton, and typically have remarkable detail such as lace or embroidery. Some of them are so beautiful , you can even frame them.

french linens detail on antique bedspread
5. Bedspreads
Sometimes I use old bedspreads as… well, bedspreads, and sometimes I wrap them around a duvet at the foot of the bed and call it good. You could even use them to make pillows, but for now I don’t have the heart to cut any of them up.

vintage bedspread
I mainly use neutral vintage fabrics, but there are many colorful options, as well. So next time you are looking for a way to add charm and character to a room, try vintage linens.

For more simple French home décor inspiration from Anita, check out her blog Cedar Hill Farmhouse.

Get Ready, Get Set, Create – with Bali! There are so many options to explore. . .So many colors, fabrics, styles, and features. . . so much potential for bringing a little zing into a room, or injecting your style into a whole house. So . . .where do you start? Start here. With Bali.

Leave a Reply