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deegw

Any vintage linen fans?

deegw
last month
last modified: last month

The following are some pictures of old linens that came from DH's parent's house. This is just a small sample. I have no idea if they are good pieces or so-so. Some are quite pretty to my eye.

I'd like to pass them along to someone who appreciates them but I don't know where to start. Does anyone have any website suggestions? Or, should I just post them on Etsy or Ebay and see what happens?

Comments (34)

  • deegw
    Original Author
    last month



  • deegw
    Original Author
    last month



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  • deegw
    Original Author
    last month



  • Fori
    last month

    I can't help you, but they are pretty! Some might be hand tatted (is that the word?). Looks like they've been stored carefully.


    I have to keep telling my mom not to give me any more of my grandmothers' old table linens because I don't know what to do with them either. I do use an antique linen tablecloth under the Christmas tree skirt sometimes, but decorative lace things like you've got are hard to find an alternate use for.



  • satine100
    last month

    Im not knowledable about linens but I sure love them. I have some sheets and other items that my now deceased aunts created during their young adult years. I treasure them. I also love the pillowcases that are embroidered with flowers etc and any time I see them at antique shops I buy them. I use them all the time, mostly in place of shams. I also use linen hand towels in my guest bathroom. I even collect handkerchiefs which I just love and take them out of their storage box often to enjoy the colors and patterns. Between linens and dishes I have no storage space left!

  • maifleur03
    last month

    Be aware that if you go to list them what you are showing while in the category of linens they are more frequently stated as doilies.

  • mcbmd3
    last month

    I’m obsessed with fine old linens. I adore them and have many and use them when I entertain. And like satine100^ , I have hand embroidered linen towels in my powder room. That is a wonderful collection you have but doilies don’t excite me like placemats and bed linens do.

  • lindac92
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I love old linens....and these are lovely! Crochet, and I see a tatted doily, cutwork and some battenburg.

    To the right person, they are works of art....to another just clutter. Try to fine the person who appreciates them....perhaps search eBay and see how those things are selling....or join worth point.

    Or use them yourself. A lace doily on a dark tablecloth under a flower arrangement for one example.

  • Lars
    last month

    You have a beautiful collection, but unfortunately these are difficult to sell. However, there are still people who buy them, and I have bought linens on eBay. I was shocked at how low the prices were, and so I think it is pretty much a buyer's market. There are buyers, but it seems that the supply exceeds the demand.

    I have no more room to store linens, and I almost never use my Irish linen tablecloth. I have, however, considered buying more linen tablecloths and using them to make clothes, as this is much cheaper than buying new linen.

  • desertsteph
    last month

    I have tons of them. I seldom use any myself. they're from my Xs mother and 2 gmothers homes. I know my kids won't want them. I'm going to suggest to them that they donate them to the city historical society. my Xs gfathers on both sides were founding fathers of the city.

  • ci_lantro
    last month

    I was lured in because of the word 'linens'. Not into doilies but I love vintage real linen tea towels. I snap up every one that I find at garage/ estate sales.

    Real linen is my favorite for drying glassware. No lint and wet real linen seems to dry faster than cotton.

  • Alisande
    last month

    Thanks for the reminder. I need to try to sell a large linen tablecloth with white-on-white embroidery my mother-in-law said was done by French nuns. I know my kids are not going to want it.

  • wednesday morning
    last month

    I inherited a ton of crocheted doillies and bed covers and table cloths. Most of them had been made and put away for good where they just stayed until, maybe christmas day. And, back they went into storing for "good". The truth is that "good" days never came and now here I am with these things to keep for another generation that will never find that "good" day.

    Many of the doillies had dry rot and I composted them.

    These things I find no use for but, because mom/grandma/ great grandma "put her eyes out" crocheting them, here they are at my house.

    It was a thing that women did back around mid century even it they had no use for them. My mom never had a show bed to showcase her spreads or a table worthy of a lace cloth, or an occassion worthy of a lace cloth. She tried to use them, but it always looked out of context and awkward.

    There is no practical use for any of this crocheted lace stuff. There is a lot of it out there. A lot!


    Some people use the word "linen" to refer to any household cloth .

    I do have one old cotton sheet of the old school variety . I treasure that sheet and keep it only for me. I love the feel and the comfort of old fashioned plain weave cotton.


    For many things, I advise just to use them and dont worry about preserving them. But the truth is that so many of these things really have no practical use, or to use them is awkward and way too much work.

    Like many other things from yesteryear, you can hardly give them away.

  • smiling
    last month

    One thing I've done with the smaller doilies, even ones with bits of damage, is to turn them into Christmas tree snowflakes, so that they will be used and remembered at least once every year. I bleach them white, then soak in a mixture of white glue and water (half-n-half proportion), then lay out to dry. They are so sweet on the tree, and the kids will have a few for later years.

  • maifleur03
    last month

    It wore out long ago but when I was younger and much poorer I lived in unairconditioned apartments. I found that those linen or even thick cotton tablecloths made an excellent summer bed cover.

  • sjerin
    last month

    When dh used to go home to India every couple of years, the most-requested items were towels and sheets. The ones they had were rougher and thinner than ours. How things have changed. I wish I had kept more of my mother's linens as they were much better made!

    Arcy, that headboard is gorgeous.

  • woodrose
    last month

    Another way to use doilies is to frame them and use as wall decor. a single one, or several on a dark background looks very pretty. They can also be sewn onto the cover of a solid color throw pillow.

    If you don't want to use them yourself, you could call/visit an antique mall and find a dealer who sells antique linens, and sell to them. At least they would get into hands that value them. Some of those in your pics are really fine handwork and shouldn't be discarded .

  • nicole___
    last month

    I remember asking my grandmother-in-law to teach me tatting. She loaned me a shuttle and I never did get the hang of it. ♥ Those pieces are truly BEAUTIFUL! Yes....try to sell them...

  • lascatx
    last month

    Deegw, are you interested in trying to repurpose some of the lace in a way you could keep and use some of it? I look at those pieces and think about how you might put a lace edging on pillowcases or linen hand towels. You might be able to do an inset or an applique on something -- anything from a little pouch or bag, a journal or notepad cover, bookmarks, clothing, a quilt or wall hanging. Would something like that appeal to you?

  • bpath
    last month

    Arcy, that headboard is lovely, and such a good idea.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    last month

    I just popped in to mention that every time I read the header for this thread, I picture ceiling fans made with linen!

    Arcy, that headboard is wonderful.

  • Helen
    last month

    I have several storage bins full of vintage linens of all kinds and as others have posted, they are very difficult to sell because they don't fit in with today's lifestyle. I have beautiful cut work tablecloths embroidered by mother grandmother but I am certainly not going to wash and iron them after a meal.


    I tried giving the stuff away to relatives but no one wanted them either. This includes loads of needlework and crewel; hand knitted sweaters from the 1950's for women and children and various and sundry other items.


    There are some people who do collect the stuff and some people repurpose it. There is probably nothing rare enough to merit interest by serious collectors. You could try selling on craigslist or at a garage sale. But generally I just wind up donating stuff if no one in my circle is interested because it is too much effort to make a few dollars.


    I do however try to research as carefully as possible so that I have an approximate sense of what equivalent items are worth. If you go to EBAY and check the SOLD items, it gives you a good sense of fair market value. Since linens are very easy to ship, it also gives you a good sense of what the national value would be versus items which are expensive to ship and so are pretty much limited to local sales.

  • bbnny
    last month

    Guilty here. Vintage linens are a passion of mine. Not so much the crocheted and rated game work but tablecloths, napkins, pillowcases and kitchen towels. I also embroider vintage linens that have been stamped but never worked. I use my stuff all the time. I did find a use for the old crocheted doilies handed down -- I keep two small nicely worked ones by my bed, one for my water glass and one for my hand lotion. I had a bunch of cotton ones -- these I use in the kitchen between nesting casserole dishes and lids, etc. so that they don't rattle when the drawers are opened and closed. (we don't have the "soft close" kind of drawers.). They are prettier than a paper plate and I feel that its nicer to give them a new use than to let them rot in a box. Of course, yours are very nice - I hope you find a use for them.

  • wednesday morning
    last month

    Helen, I, too tried spreading these things out among relatives and no one really wants any of it. I even took into consideration every one of hubs grandmothers latest generation of great,great and great grandkids and sent each one of them a bit of hand made lace that great grandma crocheted.

    I sent them off and never got one word of response from any of them.

    Between my sister and I, we inhertied a lot of this stuff from our family and the families of our husbands.

    People had less in those days, back when. Beautiful and intensive things were created through effort. Now, there are so many things that having a single thing of beauty is no longer an experience that most of us have, because we have so very, very much of everything.

    What value is little girls dress embrodered with sweet little embroideries by grandma when the child can have a shirt with a liscened character on it? That sweet little teddy bear or heart that grandma embrodered on there has no power against Paw Patrol or Scooby Doo.

  • Gargamel
    last month

    I use little linen doilies to cover my drink glass outside (if I remember -lol). I’ve seen some with drop beads sewn on the corners for weight

  • bpath
    last month

    Bbnny, using the doilies or small linens to separate dishes is a good idea. And as a coaster and drink cover.

  • deegw
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    For some reason, I'm not getting notifications for this thread. I didn't intend to ignore your thoughtful responses. The collection includes tablecloths, napkins, placemats and other items as well. I posted just a few pics of the things that photographed well.

    For now, everything is neatly piled on my breakfast room table. I need to do something with them and leaving them out is a big motivator because I hate clutter. I don't want to toss them in a box for my kids to deal with in 2041!

  • Helen
    last month

    @deegw I appreciate your concern for your children. Many of us who are getting on in years have had to deal with going through all of the stuff accumulated by our parents.


    As others have pointed out, it is a matter of both taste and lifestyle. When I was a little girl, my grandmother would embroider the tablecloths and napkins for my "trousseau". I don't think most young people have any idea of what a trousseau is :-).


    It was really hard sorting through the stuff because when they died I felt a lot of emotional guilt about getting rid of anything not to mention the sheer amount of time it took to sort through stuff to make sure that I wasn't tossing out anything important or meaningful.


    And yet still left with a dilemma of what to do with these items. A needlepoint cover for a piano bench cushion when most people don't have pianos any more. The beautiful valences which my mother did in crewel work that were in my childhood home. She didn't know what to do with them when my parents down sized to a retirement condo and she just boxed them up and left me to deal with them.


    And that is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of all the stuff that I had to deal with. The Limoges china set for 16 with multiple serving pieces which isn't dishwasher safe. All of the miscellaneous tchotchkes that aren't even MY taste - My grandmother - bless her heart thought Meissen figurines were the most elegant things possible.


    It took me a number of years to be able to sort through again and get rid of those items which no longer brought me joy. I retained a few of the tchochkes which I still liked or for which I had some kind of emotional attachment. I hung one of my mother's quilts and a large crewel picture she had embroidered of the Tree of Life. I can see it when I am in bed and it gives me pleasure to remember it from my childhood. I also have one Meissen figure that my grandmother loved which I also keep in my bedroom.


    I boxed up all of the embroidered stuff and hand knit and crocheted items. They are taking up space in my closets but aren't impacting my life adversely. When I die whoever goes through them will be able to easily deal with them one way or another as I have done the hard work of culling through and getting rid of most of the tchochke type of stuff.

  • Richard Dollard
    last month

    I have a few of my grandmother's vintage linens that were passed down to me. My mother had them in a drawer for the last 30 years and really never used them. Most of them were still stiff from the starch that she used to put on them. I gave away to friends the ones I thought they would like and kept the ones that I liked. The ones that were left over went into my garage sale last weekend for free. Most of them went and what was left I donated to a local thrift shop. A few had some serious stains but thank goodness for oxiclean and patience. They came out beautiful.

  • arcy_gw
    last month
    last modified: last month

    DD#1 used the head board for several years then decided she needed a larger bed so those that thrift store pursue, keep and eye out, it's somewhere in the Menomonie WI area! The curtain panels


    are now hanging in her dining room. Oh and I inherited some handwork and decided they look like snowflakes so proudly display them under my Tchotchke each January.



  • lily316
    last month

    I have a ton of old linens and crocheted doilies which are not in vogue any longer. They never were with me but the grandmothers and great aunts loved them so guess who has them all? And if I don't want them, my kids certainly won't.

  • bpath
    last month

    Arcy, might be worth a little road trip! i like the doilies for seasonal use. Wintry, and if they are ”lighter” and lacier good for spring.

  • Rachel Granholm
    last month

    Hello! Beautiful linens! I run a blog called The Antiqued Journey and I wrote a post a month or so ago on vintage linens...it might be of a little help to you and give you some inspiration on what to do with them. I'll leave the link so you can check it out if you like. Have a great day!

    https://theantiquedjourney.com/vintage-linens-for-a-storied-home/