Raison d'etre

I am enthusiastic about home design and love French antique and vintage treasures.

This blog is about the things I find and use.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Linens & Textiles


I have a passion for old French linens and textiles.  I use large bistro tea towels (torchons) in the kitchen - these often bear embroidered initials in the corner and are the best drying cloths I have found.
Antique linen torchons with monogram
Antique linen, cotton and metis (a mix of linen and cotton) sheets can be used as curtains as I have in the picture of the French bedroom.  I look for those with large monograms - usually embroidered in white or red - and hang them simply from a curtain pole with the embroidered end over the rail to form a valance.  This won't draw of course and looks best on long windows.  Alternatively you can use French brass clips which have a toothed grip - see below - which will draw.  Simplicity is the key I think - let the fabrics speak for themselves.

Old brass curtain clips - hinged and with toothed grips
There is a wonderful book I have had for years - The Book of Fine Linen by Francoise de Bonneville.  The illustrations are to die for!  Embroidered linens folded in an old armoire; delicious piles of whiter than white frilled, lace-trimmed and embroidered table cloths and napkins and dreamy lace curtains fill the pages.  The old carved walnut armoire with shelf upon shelf of white sheets, cloths, towels and frilled knickers is the one I aspire to! There is another image that sticks in my mind - that of a group of nuns 'pulling' sheets.  I remember as a child doing this with my mother.  We took barely damp sheets from the line and, taking an end each, pulled them to take out creases before folding them for ironing.  Does anyone still do that?


Even damaged cloths can be used.  The embroidered ends of sheets which are past using on a bed can be transformed into laundry bags, cushion covers and whatever else your imagination leads you to.
Unfortunately Francoise de Bonneville's book is rather expensive on Amazon at the moment so a search of second hand bookshops or ordering through your library are useful options.

1 comment:

birdfeathers said...

This is becoming a "must follow' !!!