Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In Praise of Vintage Linens

It's still hot here in northern Illinois. Very hot and it's the high humidity that's making it so dangerous and unbearable. The grass has gone dormant. Forget about watering grass. It's impossible with two acres. The weeds are thriving though.

No matter what the heat I cannot sleep without something over me. Even the thin cotton matlasse coverlet is too much but I must have something to sleep under. This is where vintage linens come in.

Here's my collection:

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There's a thrift store in the area that is a great source for vintage linens. I use these in many projects, including my aprons. Linens are the best fabric bargain - new or vintage.

I've been working with fabrics my entire adult life and these linens have a cool and crisp feel that the newer fabric just don't have. The flat sheet I've been sleeping under seems very, very thin to the touch but it's incredibly sturdy and tightly woven. There's something about it that just feels different. Like I said it feels smooth and cool. I'm crazy for it.

How about you? Do you own any vintage linens? Can you tell the difference?

18 comments:

Vee said...

Oh yes I can tell the difference. And I'm none too happy about the prices for the new stuff when it is obviously inferior quality. Looks as if you have plenty, but I'm having trouble with getting deep fitted sheets to fit that new mattress so these are what I really, really want:
http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/products/For-The-Home/Bed-Bath/Sheets/clothesline-crisp-white-Sheet-Set.html

Like you, I must have something to cover me no matter the heat and humidity. I may find it "gone" in the morning, but to start with. ☺

Stay cool!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I can tell too! And was going to tell about the Vermont Country Store too but Vee beat me too it.

The modern high thread count sheets tend to trap air almost like a sheet of plastic. Those who spend the extra dollars for them often find they are not that comfortable after all.

I also need to wear pjs...and miss the tissue weight cotton fabric of my childhood bedwear.

Hope the weather breaks soon for your area...but get ready for some serious whining from DC and NYC as the heat arrives there. I'll try to send some of our currently mild Utah weather over to you soon!

Sandy said...

There's just nothing like the feel of vintage linens! The lady who commented before me should make her a pair of pj's out of the sheets. They're wonderful. As far as the heat and humidity goes, sorry. That's what we southerners put up with every summer. It's like living in the tropics here in SC. Hurry up cool, crisp days of Fall.

Thirkellgirl said...

I sleep with flannel sheets (and when it's hot at night, no blanket) year round. It breathes. And I'm over 50. :)

Tess said...

This is a perfect example why ceiling fans are a vital accessory in South Texas.

I love vintage linens and for the life of me, I don't understand my obsession with vintage linen napkins.

Yours at the Menger,

Tess

Michelle said...

I'm just finishing a quilt made from a vintage sheet. This fabric is far older than I am, I'm sure it was used for my years, and the fabric is still nicer than what I'd buy in a quilt shop. If I shopped at quilt shops.

Anonymous said...

I just bought two sets of vintage bed linens on eBay, still in their original packaging - so wonderful I almost cried when I opened them.

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

Our grass is d-e-a-d, thank you very much. Same problem with one acre, watering a pain. Love those linens. Right now we're using my parents' (@60 year old) chenille bedspread, talk about thin! But I love it :) It's perfect for summer. Where do you get your linens?

xoxo
Kathleen

Leslie T. said...

Wowee zowee, that is a fabulous collection that you have! I love vintage linens, but my tiny collection is limited to solely napkins and tablecloths.
Vintage fabric is lovely. It breathes echos of the past, and just a glance at an item in a drawer makes my heart smile.

Susan said...

By "vintage" sheets, are we talking all cotton? I remember them from childhood because they needed ironing after hanging in the wind on the clothesline. I did the ironing of the sheets for many, many years. I have a problem finding linens I really like. Will check the Vermont Country Store. Thanks.

Where in the world is Jefferson City, Missouri said...

I'd give any thing to have some great old linen from the 50s and 60s. There is a difference and they lasted a lot longer than the crap we have now a days. But we'd have to pay an arm and leg for that kind of sheets now aday....then what would we cover....haha
I have to have my butt covered if nothing else is covered.....haha....

lifeinredshoes said...

Love love love vintage linens, but the sheets don't fit many new matresses :(
And you're right, they just feel different, a nice kind of different. I'd like to try a set of old real linen sheets, but the price is prohibitive!

Anonymous said...

I still have (and use) some linens that my grandmother would refer to as "Friedensware" ("peace wares"). In her opinion, nothing made after the war (by which she meant WWI) was ever of a comparable quality.
Susan in Berlin

Jennie said...

Oh - I'm so jealous of your collection! Not that I would even know where to start with utilizing it other than to make pillowcase dresses for my daughter and the other little girls in my life!

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I'm real picky about my sheets, and yes I do have a thing for vintage linens--like tablecloths, pillowcases, dresser scarves, etc. Housewrenstudio.typepad posted some glorious bluebird pillowcases she's working on! I'm wanting to try my hand at it!

Kathi said...

I love vintage linens too. I just discovered flannel sheets and like them too. Kathi

Mom Taxi Julie said...

I've been searching out vintage sheets in the thrift stores lately to make stuff out of.

Nothing last like it used to. Probably because the pride of having a great product has been replaced by "how cheap can we make it".

Anonymous said...

I live in Chicago, can you tell me what store you found your vintage linen sheets? I am willing to make the drive, I cant find any near Chicago.