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.