Sunday, May 3, 2009

Timeless Linens

Bolts of Cloth

Linen by the yard from the Ulster Linen Company displays a range of neutral coloration. Linen is woven in different weights, ranging from heavyweight, for upholstery, to medium and
handkerchief weight, for sheeting, shirting, and tablecloths.

Linen Bouquet

A romantic bouquet of linen flowers from Dulken & Derrick is a naturally appealing alternative to the typical silk. Whether you wear one on a lapel, pin a few to a straw hat, or even gather them in a vase, they add a grace note of femininity.

Living Room Linen

Linen is as ancient as the Egyptians and sturdy enough to survive intact from their tombs, resilient enough to be woven into the fiber of banknotes, timeless enough to be treasured as an heirloom but still headline in fashion. Because it "breathes" well, linen is a natural air conditioner, cooling the body in hot weather and helping retain warmth in cold. It only gets softer and more lustrous with age, so that tablecloths, bedding, and even clothing can be enjoyed daily.

Linen & Stone

Vintage linens tied with twine and adorned with a spring of sage resting in a stone bowl.

Linen-Covered Chaise

The flax-upholstered chaise from Theodora's Collection is topped with a linen cushion and dressed in pillows from Nancy Koltes at Home and a hemstitched linen sheet from Charles P. Rogers.

Linen Quilt

A hand-stitched linen quilt from Lori Mason Design.

Vintage Linen

A vintage napkin and tablecloth from Trouvaille Francaise echo the linen upholstery on the chair from Theodora's Collection.

Hemstitched Napkins

Linen's threads are plucked into delicate hemstitching for the napkins from Libeco-Lagae.

Fine Dining

Old and new napkins, from Trouvaille Francaise and Libeco-Lagae, mingle compatibly.


Pillow shams, sheets, and duvet covers in a range of rich taupes, beiges, whites, and chocolate browns, from Charles P. Rogers, Nancy Koltes at Home, Libeco-Lagae, and Lori Mason Design.

Distinctive Pillows

Vintage tea towels and napkins with tears or stains can be recycled into distinctive accent pillows for a window seat.


Linen damask tablecloths and napkins, in which a subtle, tone-on-tone pattern is woven into the fabric, have set the standard for refined dining since the Renaissance. Over time, and with careful ironing, damask patterns develop a lustrous sheen. A table set with a linen tablecloth and napkins still connotes a luxurious repast, whether it is natural linen or heirloom damask.

Linen Pouches

Pouches of linen ticking hold bath salts from French Soaps.


The wondrous durability of linen means that pieces, when properly cared for, can last several lifetimes or more. Vintage linens are widely available and adaptable -- from heavy French convent sheets, prized for use as upholstery or slipcovers, to fine batiste handkerchiefs with lace or embroidered detail, which can be repurposed, perhaps as a throw pillow or a cover for a sachet.

Bed Linens

Linen was commonly used for bed sheets and pillow shams up until the 19th century, and the trousseaux of the European aristocracy often contained dozens, and sometimes in excess of a hundred, linen sheets. But it also merits our consideration today. Linen gets softer with age. Once linen bedding has been well washed and worn, connoisseurs say, there is nothing finer to sleep on.


Crisp, light linen is a fabric of choice for summer clothing, when its ability to "breathe" and absorb moisture make it particularly comfortable and airy to wear. As with bedding, linen clothing needn't be pressed; in fact, the fashion now is for a gently wrinkled, more natural look. Everyday home accessories are also made more luxurious in linen, from laundry bags to clothes hangers to shower curtains.

Cozy Alcove

Among linen's many pleasing attributes: It holds its shape and drapes well, making it an equally good choice for crisp Roman shades or soft draperies. Linen's textural richness complements a wood-framed settee upholstered in nubby flax with a linen cushion for extra softness.

Linen Clothes

Don't shy away from linen because you believe it must have that just-pressed look. Yes, linen has a lovely crisp hand when ironed, but it is equally appealing in its gently wrinkled state. The same qualities that make linen wonderful for sheets -- softness, breathability, durability -- make it ideal for sleepwear and clothing, too.


Airy linen slippers from Amy Jo Gladstone can make even your feet happy.

Hand Towel

The sheen of pressed linen lends itself to intricate damask and jacquard weaves, particularly pretty on a border for a guest towel from Nancy Koltes at Home.



marty39 said...

What gorgeous linens. They are all so pretty and wonderful to see. I love fabrics of all kinds. Hugs, Marty


Your post on linen is absolutely beautiful. I enjoy the vintage linens that I use passed down from my grandmother. Your selection of photographs is magazine or book worthy. Thank you for sharing.

Sandra said...

Pretty linens! I love the color of all of them!

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

Enjoyed your linen post very much. Lovely pictures.
Mesquito netting?? I've got one I bought years ago and have not used yet but you are giving me ideas! It's nice to meet you.
~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

Robert Petril said...

So inpiring, especially the "Cozy Alcove" loving it! Great blog!