Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Vintage haul

A few weeks back we (Jonathan and myself) were delivering our last piece of furniture (from our now finished furniture making business) to a local customer. As we were saying goodbye, she took me aside and asked me if I would be interested in some antique linens. Well as you can imagine I was certainly very interested in antique linens and left her in no doubt of this with my reply (Jonathan said she may as well have been offering me drugs).
It turns out that an old man who attended her church had died and left the church his vast collection of vintage linens. I don't know whether she was just offering these to everybody she met or I was just giving off those sort of vibes but she couldn't have approached a more interested  person! I used to buy the odd embroidered tablecloths / tea cosies / runners etc. from Antique shops years ago but never really did much with them until quite recently when I saw the sort of loveliness that Hen of Hen House blog creates with them. I managed to get a piece of embroidery from an old tablecloth in to this patchwork cushion and really liked the result.
 Anyway I went along to the church to inspect the linens. They had a cupboard full of stuff and this was after already having a Sale and making £900. Not all of it was in good nick but there were a lot of gorgeous embroidered tablecloths and runners. I put aside a huge pile and got the whole lot for £75. I had set myself a budget of £50 but there was just so much! And the money is going towards the church roof fund, so to a good cause.
Look at this gorgeous applique! I think this is my favourite piece.
The stitches are SO tiny!

So what am I going to do with all these riches? Well I am about to have 2 weeks off work and the second week is earmarked for 'playing in the sewing room'. I want to work on some new cushions (like the patchwork one mentioned above) for the shop and maybe some bags, so hopefully I can incorporate some of the bits and pieces in to these.
I'm sure some of you might think it's sacrilege to cut up all these beautiful old table cloths, etc. but the way I look at it is that I am never going to be able to use all these things for what they were intended as, but if I can turn all the lovely handiwork into something that's useful now then at least it is getting preserved and not wasted.
The only problem I have is that I might need that 'playing' week for something else. We made a momentous decision on Sunday which has turned our lives upside down! More on this in my next post (I like to keep you in suspense)!


  1. I have loads of these linens in my airing cupboard that used to be my mum's. Have never known quite what to do with them, but just knew I wanted to keep them. Your blog has inspired me to get creative with them!

  2. Such beautiful linens! I can't wait to see what they become.

  3. What an amazing find, Jo! I think these opportunities don't come along so often and we really need to make the best of them when they do, and you certainly have!
    I cannot wait to see how you will transform them... This is so inspiring!

  4. Wow. I love these sort of handmade things - it's like owning a little piece of someone else, y'know? And I bet curiosity is peaked all over about the momentous decision! Or am I just reeeeeally nosey? *grins*

  5. What a great find! I have been collecting these for some time now when I find the odd ones in charity shops but am still collecting before I will use them!

  6. You're such a tease! I hope it was a nice monumentous decision?! I think your decision to reuse the linens is great - what good are they stuffed in a cupboard, at least this way they can be seen and loved once again :) AND there's no doubt you'll do something beautiful and worthy of them. I shall come back soon - not just because I love reading your blog, but just like Lynz, I am totally nosey?!! You're not having a baby are you, ha, ha?!!!!!!!

  7. wow, Jo, talk about being in the right place at the right time! That's some treasure you have yourself right there! Can't wait to see what you produce at the end of your week locking yourself in your studio...have fun!

  8. I love those linens, lucky you. I can't wait to see what you do with them.