I don’t know about you, but I love linen! I love vintage table linens, bed linens and drapery linens.
And so this post is about linens bestowed on us by my late mother in law. I LOVE this picture of her as she is writing. I loved getting letters from her and at the very end of her letters, she always wrote:
ta mère qui vous aime beaucoup et je vous embrasse trés trés fort mes enfants. Meaning: your mother who loves you very much and big hugs my children.
I still have all her cards and letters.
Maman in 1970 when she was 48 years old
I will also share examples of linen today and how I use them in couture window fashions.
I was inspired to do this post last weekend as a result from reading one of the blogs I follow by Libby Wilkie
. She shared a video about the making of linen from the Linen and Hemp Community and for the next 15 minutes, I was totally enthralled! The music is really cool and it is French with English subtitles!
PLEASE go to her post HERE
and read it as she gives excellent background information about linen that I won’t be giving you. Why repeat the same thing twice, right? And then watch the VIDEO
. You won’t be disappointed!
But as you all know if you are regular readers of my blog, while doing research for it, I ended up writing about leek and potato soup instead!
These tiny seeds are the beginning of something really great. From the fibers and seeds this plant produces, we are able to eat and clothe ourselves.
Better known as the flax plant.
flax seeds. Photo courtesy of herbcompanion.com
Look at the beauty of these flowers! Did you know they are only open one day their whole entire life? They close up at the end of the day forever.
If you only had one day to show off your beauty wouldn’t you want it to be as spectacular as these?
flax flowers or fleur bleue. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
THE VINTAGE SHEETS
When Maman (French for mom) passed away and we were going through all the armoires, we found 3 sets of these sheets in their original state. She had bought a set for each of her 3 children around 50 years ago.
vintage set of Metis linen sheets with original stickers and red ribbon wrapping
They are Métis linen, a type of linen produced in Normandy, France along with retting and further production in Belgium. The video tells the story from planting and harvesting to spinning the actual fibers and weaving them into linen.
Metis Fleur Bleue label
Isn’t the embroidery just gorgeous at the header of the sheet? This embroidery was done by machine. The sizing is metric but still, these are not small sheets and are heavy.
closeup of the tag describing size and machine embroidery
I remember the years of going to France and sleeping in the beds all having these linen sheets on them. There is nothing quite like the feel of these sheets. Over the course of time with many washings and hanging them out on the line to dry, they turn white from the sun. I must admit I thought my husband was nuts and that he didn’t know what he was talking about because how could these sheets in their natural color turn to white? I didn’t believe him until I found these originals in the armoire.
And then in my research last weekend, I found this website from Au Trousseau
. They sell vintage sheets like this and have a page on the care and cleaning of them HERE
because these are not your average poly/blend type of sheet to maintain. So glad I found this site. I learned that I have not been caring for my sheets properly! Like everything else, I throw them in the dryer at low heat, but, NO NO NO! I really should be hanging them out to dry. So guess what dear hubby will be doing for me when Spring comes?
AND, if I were like Maman, I would be ironing them too! I remember her bringing them in just before they were dry and ironing them. Never understood the chemistry of it, but after reading the above link, the AHA moment came! They should still be damp when you iron them so the creases come out. Hmmmmm……I might have to work really hard on that one. But, I do have those memories of getting into the bed and remembering the feel of those sheets.
Notice the difference in color. Look how white the sheet has actually become over all these years compared to the original.
one of the sheets we use today compared to the new sheet showing how linen whitens over the years
This was one of two remaining shams that we brought back but even then, you can see how it is ripped at the side where the embroidery meets the flange. Years and years of use. Now it is purely decorative on my bed.
Another neat picture of Maman when she was younger.