Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sewing with Vintage Linens

Repurposing vintage pieces into a new project
 can seem daunting at first.
Any vintage linen enthusiast hesitates
to cut a handmade item.
Here are a few tips
 I've learned along the journey. 
 I hope that they will encourage you
to begin a project using upcycled vintage linens.
Choose a small project for your first
vintage linen upcycle.
Save that hankie quilt project using
Grandma's special hankies
for a third or fourth upcycle project.
You'll be much more confident at that point.

Choose first to upcycle linens that have
no sentimental value to you.
This charm-square tote upcycles two
very small linen pieces -- an 11" crocheted doily
and a small embroidered dresser set side-piece.
Neither piece held any sentimental value to me.
They were thrifted finds that I didn't mind cutting.
Choosing to cut thrifted finds removes the
pressure of making cutting mistakes.
(charm square -- a 5" fabric square)


Secure the piece you've cut to a background.
After cutting the linen piece to fit above the brown charm square,
I top-stitched the raw edge to one
 of the brown square's raw edges.
The 1/8" seam secured the linen's wrong side
 to the charm square's right side.
I then top-stitched along the inside edge of the crocheted trim.
Once this charm square was pieced
within the others to form the tote's front,
the linen's raw edge was secured again
 within the 1/4" seams called for in the pattern.

A thrifted sheet was used for the tote's lining.
Another piece of the linen
 incorporated into the side of the tote.

Always secure loose/cut
crochet threads with Dritz Fray Check.
This beautiful variegated doily had many loose threads
after I cut it.  After stitching it to the blue charm square
with an 1/8" seam around the raw edges, I brushed
 the loose threadswith Fray Check. 
The stiffening Fray Check will prevent
the crochet threads from slipping under the square's seams.
The doily was secured again
within the pattern's 1/4" seam allowance
used to sew the tote's charm squares together.

 I hope you'll be inspired to start that
vintage upcycle project.
If you've sewn or crafted with vintage textiles,
please share any tips you've learned along the way!

The charm square pattern used for this tote
(#1156 Charming Totes 4)
The vintage-look charm square pack is
a lovely example of Moda's Fig Tree & Co. fabric line.
Happy Stitching!


  1. What a fantastic post!! I just need some ideas on what to make using the treasures I have. The way you embellished this bag was totally inspiring and clever.

  2. Amy, this is just a beautiful project! It came out so lovely. You really out all the colors and textures together in a beautiful way !