Last month, when I was sewing my fingers to the bone, I was also busy buying vintage textiles for new 2013 designs. I re-invested half of my December Etsy shop income in fabric. Talk about fun, fun, fun!
I was able to find vintage linen toweling, European grain sacks and linen bedding. I found a couple of sellers in France who worked with me to mix and match several pieces of antique, French fabric.
The fabric from France came in pieces. There were 5 pieces and they were all different sizes. I laid it out and designed the pillow covers accordingly. That was a challenge. I ended up adding grain sack to get a better selection of pillow covers. I hesitated for just a second because I like pillow covers that have grain sack on both sides. In the end, I decided that grain sacks and vintage french fabric make the perfect pair!
Here are a few hints for sewing with vintage fabric:
1. Launder first…before you do anything else. I have been tempted to skip this step but I think it’s very important. As a consumer, I wouldn’t want to buy a pillow cover from old fabric that had been sitting in an antique shop or barn for who knows how many years. Most of the time vintage fabric has an odd smell. It’s best to get rid of all those years of dirt and dust.
2. I use a pod of detergent and a pod of Oxiclean on a normal cycle. I rinse twice. For the grain sacks I add Downy. I don’t add Downy for the bedding because I like it to be crisp and a little stiff.
3. Dry it all the way. Use a normal dryer setting and just let it run out. By doing this, the chances that the fabric will shrink after you have sewed with it are greatly reduced.
4. Iron it. This is not my favorite step but again a necessary one. Vintage linens usually come out of the dryer a wrinkled mess. I use the hottest steam setting on my iron. A spray bottle filled with water works wonders to get out wrinkles.
5. Square if off before you cut. Even if you have a bed sheet or pillow case that looks perfectly straight, chances are that it’s not. Make sure and get a square, straight edge on your piece of fabric before you measure and cut.
Wishing you all a beautiful weekend. The sky is baby blue here but it’s colder than the dickens. See you soon!