Wednesday, May 9, 2012

sorting through old linens...

i'm finding things i forgot that i had. they were all labeled in bags, sitting on a shelf since 2007. i even found some things i had been looking for but were nowhere to be found...until now. that's the problem with having too much stuff. one of the bags had lots of the remainders of cotton pieces, with some embroidery, that i had purchased from ebay...nothing really special there. the other 3 bags were linens and cottons that were stitched by my two grandmothers and one kit given to me by my aunt. these relatives have been gone a very long time. i am taking Jude's contemporary boro class 2 and am embellishing a linen shirt that will become a jacket---hopefully---so i was looking for bits and pieces of things i could use. here are some images of what i sorted through. click for a closer view. my grandmothers were amazing stitchers.

2 tablecloths. 1 whtie cotton. the other beige linen.

a section of the linen cloth

4 matching linen napkins

cotton stitched round tablecloth

the stitched embroideries were done on the machine by 1 of my grandmothers. i bound them with scrim and stitch many years ago. the crochet kit was given to me by my aunt. there are some completed sections that she had already done. haven't found those yet.

and some of grandma's crochet doilies
those beige linen pieces would make such a beautiful easy wear dress or blouse but there are so many stains all over that i'm not sure yet how to go about it. all suggestions welcome.

22 comments:

jude said...

dye them?

henrietta (aka ani aka zani) said...

your treasures are really beautiful deanna. i can see where you get your skills from...in the family. i thought perhaps a light "dye" dip - maybe onion skins that would add a gentle color - in complement to what's there. that was my first thought, anyway. cheers

Mo Crow said...

rubbing in some coffee grounds could work to give all these beautiful old pieces a feeling of continuity

liniecat said...

I was going to suggest eco dyeing them too - wise minds amongst us all lol
Of cousre that would alter the colours of the stitching too and you may not want that.
I guess you could cut out the stitched area and applique them onto a base cloth too?
Or maybe fabric paint over just the stains maybe?

Rachel said...

Start by handwashing them gently. If you intend to make them into something wearable, you need to know that they will survive wash-and-wear!

karen said...

beautiful treasures Deanna....

Ms. said...

My Massachusetts friend, a collector of all things old and beautiful, and a big stainer too--soaks things she wants to keep in a strong solution of oxy-clean and hot water for at least 24 hours, then washes them by machine and hangs them out to dry. Most times the seemingly stained to death resurrects gleaming white. That's what I'd do if I had a machine and and outdoor line. Then maybe take a batch and just dye them with Indigo, or whatever.

blandina (aracne) said...

Beautiful works of art, I love old embroideries, they speak to me of people, patience and love.
If the stains aren't too big, I would put some 'modern' stitches on them, for example buttonhole flowers, could be a nice contrast.

Notjustnat said...

What treasures you have found Deanna. I understand so well about bags tucked away for years, but they are all good treasures you are glad to see them again - Hugs Nat

neki desu said...

i swear by savon de marseille. a lady in the old linen trade gave me the how to.
wet the spot, rub with the soap, lay in the sun. repeat if necessary then wash as usual.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marseille_soap
i saved anold linen tablecloth like that. if you need more info send me a message.

Mosaic Magpie said...

Deanna,
What beautiful heirlooms you have there. Such nice examples of fine handwork.
I know you love natural dyes and you may not want to use something like this but I have had great success with a product called, White Brite. It says it is safe for delicate fabrics. I have had to resoak a couple of items, but most stains will come out. For those stubborn stains I will lay the damp linen piece out on the lawn while it is still wet with dew. Allow it to lay in the sun
and the stubborn stains will be gone. An elderly lady gave me that
advice, she insisted the lawn must we wet with dew for it to work.
Good luck and I look forward to seeing your jacket!
Deb

Sara Crittenden Coppedge said...

I soak my antique needlework in Vintage Textile Soak. I buy it at my local fabric store but it is made by The Star Spangled Sampler and Co. in Arlington Texas. I leave most pieces to soak overnight and it does a remarkable job. You can't believe the color of the water!

woman with wings said...

Deanna, it's in your genes! These are such lovely pieces -- I love that you'll be using them and will watch to see how you overcome the stain hurdle.

Nancy said...

My first thought was also to dye them. I did that to a set of napkins with crochet inserts.
All of these comments reminded me of how I used a Commet paste on the necklines of my children's shirts, when as infants they were stained with food and drool! I don't know that I'd recommend that here!
This post is amazing because, for one thing, I sorted, bagged and labeled in my dreams last night! How odd to see we were doing the same thing :)
And another thing, I have always thought the very finely stitched hankerchiefs of my grandmother & great aunts were store bought. Now I wonder if there wasn't a great stitcher in my family's past. Mmmm?

Nancy said...

Oooops...meant to also say that the ones in the photo with the crochet kit, that you had bound...look like they'd make great pockets on you jacket!

Janet said...

I would try washing them first to get the oils out, then dye them with tea or other colors as suits your jacket - how nice to have these - and to be able to give them new life.

Jeannie said...

Deanna, what treasures! Sometimes I work with the stains. They are a part of the cloth's history. I have been known to use lemon juice and then lay the cloth in the sun on grass. That is how the Irish bleach their linen. It works, but takes forever! Biz bleach works well and isn't too harsh. Indigo will hide the stains. ;) I am amazed by the stitching. I have always had excellent eyesight until recently, but I could never stitch like our ancestors. Did they have more patience? or skill? Wishing you a fun filled weekend.

yvette said...

All those skills of embroiderie...it's so good to see them back. I'm afraidbwe loose all that skills
You are a lucky woman to posses this
We are lucky to see

Hugs

Anita said...

Beautiful treasures! I love the embroidery done by your grandmothers,so pretty they are...You are lucky to have these.Thanks for sharing these wonderful pieces.Looking forward to see your jacket Deanna.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

loved reading all the comments...
xo

Velma said...

yummy stash and ideas coming events!

FredaB said...

Hi Deanna

I did not realize I had your blog on my list and I am glad that I have found you.

I soaked tons of old laces, fabrics, etc for Karen's class. I used hot water and Oxy clean. I buy mine at Wal Mart and it is in a plastic tub and only costs 2.00.

I use hot water and lots of the Oxy and leave overnight. If the water gets terribly dirty I will empty it and repeat. Most stains came right out.

Hugs

FredaB
www.sewwhatsnew-fredab.blogspot.com

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