Antique & Vintage Linen from Italy
Few things epitomise luxury like an exquisitely embroidered antique linen sheet, or a hand monogrammed vintage damask linen tablecloth and napkins.
We travel across Italy, far off the beaten track, in search of exquisite hand-made and hand embroidered linen. Each piece is a ‘one off’.
The source of supply has dried up, as sadly, this skill has died out.
Traditional techniques are no longer being passed from mother to daughter.
These treasured pieces, made between 70 and 200 years ago, by Italian noblewomen and ladies of status, are rare survivors of a bygone era. ...
How we would love to know the story behind each piece, to know the life and loves of the woman who made it.
Often stitched by candlelight, bed sheets and table linen were embroidered with the initials of a young couple, for their trousseau.
Antique linen, woven without the use of modern day chemicals, is a joy to feel against the skin.
Woven from flax, linen has many wonderful qualities including being a temperature regulator – keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter, hypo allergenic and an environmentally friendly renewable resource.
Did you know that linen has a very high absorbency? Italians have been using it to dry themselves for centuries.
Linen lasts far longer than cotton and is approximately 30% stronger than cotton.
The longevity of linen, makes it a worthwhile investment.
What we love most is the versatility of vintage and antique linen
-use a vintage napkin (those giant ones) as a hand towel in your guest bathroom
-use a monogrammed sheet to make a headboard
-use a monogrammed sheet to make a bed canopy
-use a monogrammed sheet to make a duvet cover
-use a vintage napkin to make a cushion cover
-use bed sheets as window treatments
-use Italian window blinds (long and narrow) as table runners
-use a tablecloth as a bed throw
-the possibilities are endless. Enjoy!
Over- dyed linen.
We have updated a few pieces of linen by having them dyed in trendy colours.
This transports them from traditional elegance to fashion fun.
How to care for your linen:
Antique linen is a lot easier to care for than you may imagine.
Store away from direct sunlight.
Machine wash on a gentle cycle in cool to warm water (not hot), using very little commercial washing powder.
The addition of half a cup each of white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, to the washing water, will help keep the linen white.
Avoid using commercial cleaning / bleaching products with their harsh chemicals.
Fold neatly while wet and dry flat on a clothes horse.
Table linen: Iron while still damp (do not allow to dry too much before ironing).
Linen will naturally ‘crisp up’ when ironed dry from damp.
Bed linen: I have done experiments on my own bed linen and not ironed it at all.
I make sure to fold it precisely when wet, with the aid of another pair of hands and give it a gentle pull to smooth out the edges.
Lay the folded sheet flat across a clothes horse until dry.
If you would prefer a crisper finish, fold, lay flat on clothes horse and iron while damp.
Over – dyed linen:
Wash separately in cool water with a tablespoon of kitchen salt and a small amount of washing powder.
Fold, dry and iron as for table linen.