Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Embroidered Pillowcase

Great Grandmother's Pillowcase

When I was twelve years old, my great grandmother Agnes passed away.  Fading Kodak snapshots in old family albums prove we had moments together, but I don't remember them.  She moved to California while I was still small.  The rest of my childhood would be spent in West Virginia -- the other side of the nation.
     After Great Grandmother's funeral, my mother brought to me a set of pillowcases that Agnes had beautifully embroidered.  Even at 12, I loved them.  The basket design was satin stitched blue, filled with pink and yellow daisy-stitched flowers with french-knotted centers.  Mom knew I was a sentimental child that would take care of them.  She was already teaching me needlework.  Although I had a hard time finishing any project I started, I could already appreciate Great Grandmother's handiwork.
    Years passed.  As a young wife, I brought the treasured keepsakes into my new life with my husband Mike.  Occasionally, Mike and I actually used the ever-so-soft cotton cases, but the material was wearing thin.  I opted to use them instead as table runners for our matching nightstands.  It was then that I began to see that these vintage pillowcases could be repurposed or even up-cycled in an endless variety of ways.  After a spontaneous stop years ago at an estate sale, I purchased a couple more for a few dollars.  Needless to say, I now have a small collection.

Other Uses for Embroidered and Crocheted Pillowcases

Here are a few ways you can use the decorated cases in their purchased condition.  Of course, the embroidered or crocheted edge would be the featured edge, the the rest of the pillowcase would be used as background, etc. in the following situations:

1.  Each pillowcase can make a beautiful dresser top runner/scarf
2.  Let the crocheted edging peek over the edge of your favorite basket for a unique basket liner.
3.  Give a special friend a relaxing spa set complete with slippers wrapped in a rare vintage case tied with a ribbon.
4.  Keep your extra set of sheets folded and stored inside a pretty vintage pillowcase for easy access next time you change the sheets.  This keeps the dust off your extra set, and keeps the matching set together.
5.  Drape a pillowcase over coats and off-season clothing pushed off to the side/back of the closet.  Place the pretty side over the front of the closet bar and the back of the pillowcase towards the closet's back wall.  It will look nice when you open your closet door, and will keep that layer of dust off the shoulders of your clothing.
6.  These pillowcases make great linen closet shelf liners.  I've also used them as shelf liners in my laundry room.  Drape the crocheted or embroidered edge over the shelf's edge.

Do you have any creative uses for vintage pillowcases you'd like to share?



  1. These are all lovely ideas. I love to think of ways to show off pretty embroidery, vintage and new! I love the idea of storing a set of baby sheets in one as well. And using in a nursery decor. When my kids were little I dreamed of being able to have pretties like this, but didn't have any. I think it would be a great gift!

  2. Such a beautiful blog. I have embroidered towels from my grandmother and a quilt from my great-grandma. I treasure them. I am a new follower from Ruby. I hope you'll stop by my blog. Donna

  3. These are beautiful and I love the story with them..so glad you appreciated them so early in your life, sometimes it takes us awhile. This post goes with heirloom post and it really makes me for interested in making more things for the future.

    Great post..enjoyed my visit.

  4. very nice thank you so much ;)