A New Love for Old Linen & Lace June 8, 2012

I used to see women digging through piles of linens and lace at estate sales. I never could understand what the attraction was. But now, I think I know!

My mother was the consummate entertainer. Every dinner party included linen napkins that she carefully washed and ironed. In the early years, she would always include a table cloth on her table, for a dinner party. In the later years, she substituted beautiful placemats instead.

While I always use cloth napkins for a dinner party, I never use tablecloths, because I hate covering up the wood grain of the table. I probably would never want to go to the trouble of ironing the tablecloth, either!

Since becoming a pillow fanatic, I am looking for all sorts of beautiful well-worn fabrics, that I can make into pillow covers. Today I discovered that my mother’s old dinner napkins that are huge, are perfect for pillow covers.

The old napkins have a wonderful sheen to them and a pattern that’s difficult to see unless you’re in the right light. By adding lace to the front of the pillow, it becomes much more interesting.



Since I have a very limited number of my mother’s old napkins, I thought that I would make a special effort to find more linens at the estate sale I went to this afternoon. As it turned out, I hit the jackpot! I found beautiful pieces of lace, a wonderful queen size sheet with hand made lace along the top and matching pillowcases, and a wonderful coverlet that I originally bought to make pillows with.

Once I washed and ironed the coverlet, I found that there was no way I was going to be able to cut this piece of material up. Instead, I put it on our bed. It may have been designed for a double bed instead of a queen size bed, so I left the white coverlet on underneath it. But I wish you could see it in person! The material is just wonderful.


I still have plenty of linen to make more pillows! Let me know when you get sick of hearing me talk about pillows, pillows, pillows!
Until then, I hope you’re having a wonderful day!


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  1. Karena on June 9, 2012 at 5:10 am

    Barbara I never tire of Pillows!! How wonderful to use pieces from your Mother!

    Anita’s Parisian Party
    Art by Karena

  2. kim on June 9, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Those are some beautiful linens. I love the pillows and I think the coverlet looks great layered on your bed. Beautiful bed.

  3. Shirley@housepitalitydesigns on June 9, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I have such a fondness for gorgeous old linens too…your coverlet is gorgeous!…I can see why you did not want to cut it up!!….

  4. Gretchen@birdnestcottage on June 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    You have been finding the best linens lately. My mother used to buy boxes of linens at auction and dumb me didn’t keep any when she passed away.

  5. stephanie on June 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    How lovely! I have an old lace tablecloth that was given to me by my grandmother. It was actually made from the lace curtains that her mother handmade for her when she came to America. My grandmother modified it (she was a great seamstress herself)and gave one to me and my sister as well.

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