So I know I must be pretty boring every time I talk about how much I love vintage linens, but I do.
I bought a couple new old dish towels￼￼ and these two amazing embroidered vintage pillowcases that were all remainders of an estate sale￼.
I think people overlooked the pillowcases because they were super yellowed with age in spots including covering the fabulous embroidery. They are embroidered with pine cones and pine branches. I just thought they were so incredibly special.
So I soaked them overnight in Restoration and a little Woolite. You can buy Restoration directly from Engleside Products or on Amazon.
I have said before how terrific this wash is on vintage linens and quilts and old crocheted items￼￼￼. But I wish I had taken a photograph of the pillowcases before I soaked them because this was that amazing a transformation!
Now my old linens are drying on a clothes rack and when they are dry I will press them and put them on my pillows next time I change my sheets!
Don’t overlook old and vintage linens￼￼￼. They add so much charm and character to your home.
I am also in the process of restoring and patching an old flannel-backed quilt from Maine￼. I love them on our beds in the winter there’s nothing cozier and nicer than an old patchwork quilt and vintage embroidered pillowcases!￼ and if you shop smart and aren’t afraid of cleaning items up you can usually find both of these things at less than fancy dealer prices.￼
I have come across some more fun vintage linens in my travels recently , so I have been laundering them and putting them away.
Recently I have found some terrific vintage pillowcases and linen hand and kitchen towels.
The linen kitchen towels of yesteryear are of a better quality than what you find today, and they clean up very nicely for the most part. Plus they add a twist of fun vintage kitsch to your kitchen!
Pillowcases might seem like an odd thing to hunt for, but some of them I have found a very beautiful. Hand embroidered, handmade of linen, funky floral patterns from the 60s and 70s by Vera. I am not a patterned sheet person, so I use solid colored sheets, which means I can mix it up and create a fun and funky bed scape with vintage pillowcases. And since I like to use vintage quilts and bed spreads, it really makes a nice look.
I will also apply my mixing it up to my tables when I’m setting the table for dinner. Just because you’re having company doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up – and often I do using different fun napkins with a more traditional tablecloth. I will also mix the plates up. Everything does not have to match exactly to get along. I will use colored goblets instead of clear glasses, and things like that.
You can pick up all these vintage items in any number of places: barn picking, flea markets, church rummage sales, consignment and thrift shops. And the things I pick up aren’t necessarily “shabby chic”, they are in fact in excellent condition.
Back to the linens. I use this linen wash stuff called “Restoration”. I discovered it after going on a hunt for something to clean vintage and antique linens because you aren’t left with a lot of options as far as these washes go on the shelves of your local grocery store. Restoration is a little pricey but a little goes a long way. I also use it on my vintage quilts.
I love most things vintage. Which is of course one reason I love open barn weekends at the Smithfield Barn on Little Conestoga Road in Downingtown.
So I went wandering out this afternoon to pick up a garden bell on hold for me and ended up scoring a couple of kitchen items – fabulous old and handmade wooden spoons, a Corningware covered medium casserole ( which was just perfect for my peach blueberry crisp I baked later), and a couple of hand embroidered kitchen towels that were kicky in a kitschy sort of way.
I laundered by hand the towels and dried and ironed them. It was at that point I thought I would put them in my powder room instead. They would get too beat up in the kitchen.
I have been collecting linen and cotton vintage hand towels for years. I pick them up where they are inexpensive – thrift stores, church sales, flea markets, the Smithfield Barn. I buy what catches my eye and I buy them to be used.
What you see in the photo above are the towels I scored today with others I already had.
Yes I know, a very Martha moment – only I still do my own ironing!
But seriously? Look how easy it is to dress up a fairly utilitarian powder room or half bath with some vintage linens?
Remember, freshening up the decorating takes neither a large budget or a decorator.
The scents of summer are as important as the visual cues we get that stay embedded deep in our brains for who knows how long. Seasons always evoke memories. And a summer scent or smell is definitely the smell of hand-washed vintage table linens drying in the sun.