Thursday, June 2, 2011

Old Linens I

As I'm still fooling around with the felt wedding cake pincushion, and would bore you to tears if I wrote about my progress, I'll share with you some of the linens I collect. I will often go to antique stores and will buy handkerchiefs and hand towels just because I love them. Usually I really have to restrain myself to keep the budget from bleeding too much! But sometimes I have found some absolutely gorgeous hankies, and this is one of my favorites. Look at that beautifully stitched butterfly with the satin stitched outlines. Don't you just love all those eyelets? There is no way I can make them that well. But what is really flabbergasting about this is the scalloped hem! It goes all the way around the hanky! 

To top it off, each corner has a little design, just some simple eyelets in a flower arrangement with granitos. The execution is excellent and the hanky is in marvelous shape. The fabric is a moderate weight linen so it has just a bit of heft to it. The thread seems to be either cotton floss or more likely, a very light weight of coton a broder.

This little one is having some raveling issues in the design corner, but other than that it looks pretty nice. This fabric seems to be a cotton batiste so it is a bit lighter in weight than the first one. But being such a fine cotton it really lends itself to the techniques used here. The medallion with the two side "wings" are made with Madiera applique, all very tiny and pin stitched by hand. In the center of the medallion there are two "bananas" that are made with shadow embroidery. The hem around the embroidery is a scalloped hem, but the rest of it is hand rolled, another technique that I find fairly difficult. The rest of the embroidery is very simple, just stem stitching and satin stitching.  This seems to be worked in a single strand of floss.

Every once in a while I'll host a bridal or baby shower, and I'll get all of these out and use as napkins or even coasters. They all tend to wash up fairly well, and I've had no problems with stains. But then, I suspect my guests are all especially careful around them.  I have quite a bit of other items that I'll show you from time to time, especially when I don't have good progress to report on a project.

PS. I wrote this post on Tuesday evening, then on Wednesday Mary Corbet of posted about vintage linens. I have a few that look very much like hers, and will post about them as soon as I get them photographed.


  1. I also collect antique hankies, tea towels, etc... I usually use them to incorporate into little girls' dresses.

  2. So beautiful! I love linen


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