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By: Jertheous Mathis, Fri Aug 10th, 2012
First, antique linens are old cloth or clothing. They can be handkerchiefs or bedsheets or curtains. The material is delicate and usually partly lace. You can often tell vintage or antique linens by how delicate yet sturdy they feel. They have been around for decades, in some cases, and they must be strong enough to withstand time.
Just because these items started out as a bed sheet or a curtain, does not mean they must stay that way. The beauty of vintage linens is you can repurpose them to suit your needs but still retain the old world feel and the history of the piece. They contain a story that cannot be shaken even when they are turned into something new. It enhances the story of a piece that you can make yourself and display with pride.
Often vintage linens are found when going through old trunks and storage spaces. The pieces are not treated with the respect they deserve. They are often packed away without a care to how they are maintained. If you are able to find a piece of antique linen and need to clean it, you must take care not to ruin it. It is best to start with simple solutions that do not use harsh chemicals. A mixture of lemon juice and water can be applied to any stains or brown marks. After application, leave the material in the sun and let the sun bleach the material. If the mark is not gone, try using salt and lemon juice sprinkled directly on the stain. It is not a good idea to use harsh chemicals at full strength on the piece. Never wring it out by twisting the material, either. Instead, squeeze it inside a towel so as not to twist the fibers. A solution of hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach can be gentler for these delicate fabrics.
Care and proper handling go into all the finds in Lynda Sue's Attic Treasures. The delicate and sheer beauty of the linens that are available are exquisite. There are many uses for antique linens. Even if you do not sew and cannot repurpose the items in a new way, you can use these items as they were intended. At your next dinner party, you could purchase a set of embroidered linen dinner napkins to dress up your table. People will admire and exclaim over the delicacy of the napkins, although they might not use them out of fear of ruining them.
Any way you decide to use the vintage linens will be prolonging their life. Connecting us to a past where craftsmanship and pride of ownership were fundamental values, and people created amazing pieces that are still around today.