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Making bedding out of vintage sheets

I have a very strong nostalgic relationship to vintage linen sheets. The crisp, cold feeling against my skin reminds me of childhood sleepovers at my grandparents. I don’t think they ever switched to duvets, it was always fold over sheets under the bed quilt, and the edge of the sheets were decorated with insert lace and monogrammed.

I even had a period in my young adult years that I used vintage linens exclusively, but the solution was not ideal because:
A. The vintage mattress sheets are too short for modern beds and don’t stay put. For me the best option is pull on sheets with elastic that keeps them in place.
B: I really prefer duvets over sheets since duvets keep the quilt in place (well most of the time anyway).

Then somehow earlier this year it all came to me in a stroke of lightning – why not take vintage sheets, sew them together and make duvets? And in the process make some pillowcases too. So I prowled a few vintage stores and managed to amass five sheets for about $40. I washed them in one of those “back to white” washes to get rid of the yellow tint and began sewing. For the duvets I just sewed together two sheets, and left openings in the bottom and on the sides for pulling the quilt through. As for decoration I kept the original lace.

For the pillowcases I used some cotton lace that I bought when visiting a local textile manufacturing museum. The feeling of quality linen compared to the usual run-of-the-mill cotton is huge in my humble opinion. Yes I might sound like a total snob but this is the truth 🙂

I made a a bed skirt too, but for that I cheated a bit and used a new cotton/linen fabric for the side pieces (the top fabric is a big vintage sheet though).

This, I think hands down is my best recycling project ever. Pretty simple, yet so rewarding and made to last.


  • Crab and Bee
    September 23, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I feel like I can see the difference in vintage linens just from your pictures – they look so thick and crisp. What a lovely project.

  • Digs
    September 25, 2015 at 2:43 am

    Is linen bedding unique to nordic and northeastern Europe? I've never – ever! – come across it or even heard of it before. What a lesson you've given us. Do linen sheets wrinkle terribly? Do you use them even in winter? Great, very informative post, thank you!

    • Johanna
      September 27, 2015 at 11:22 am

      Great questions! I will do a separate post about that to answer your questions

  • bed linen
    March 13, 2018 at 7:50 am

    But with virtually stacks of linen to settle on from, wherever does one invest for the best? will thread count actually matter, and what is in an exceedingly weave? If you do not apprehend your textile from your fabric, or ar nonplused by pattern, concern


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