Here at Intercept we love vintage linen.
It was heart breaking to see all of that quality material and handwork that has taken someone hours to create, heading for the landfill. So we have been rescuing it since Intercept began 18 months ago.
We read about fabric artists and upcyclers struggling to find those damaged pieces, because who can cut up perfect pieces right? So we have placed a basket in the Intercept shop and filled it with those wonderful, but not-quite-perfect pieces, grouped together and at reasonable prices.
I know that some of them will clean up to almost perfect - try this...
Cleaning Up Vintage Linen
Dissolve the required amount of nappy soak in boiling water and place your linen pieces in it. Depending on how dirty the water gets, rinse and repeat after an hour, leaving your linen in there for 4-5 hours. Next, wash it in the washing machine with a load of whites.. Hang it out on the clothesline in the sun, which will finish it beautifully.
Remember, they boiled linen back in the day, so boiling water is fine.
Don't do this with fragile antique linen though - it needs gentler handling.
Qualities of linen
Bleaches and disinfects in sunshine
Beautiful and sensual
Nontoxic when burned
Ideas for Using Vintage Linen
Old linen as teatowels - makes for lint-free drying of glasses
Use vintage linen as tissues or handkerchiefs
Use those beautiful serviettes - stop using paper ones! Keep some in your car, carry one in your handbag - it will be multipurpose
Use linen as beautiful handtowels
Make reusable bread bags and sandwich wraps - it'll keep your bread fresher
Giftwrap and gift bags
Upcycled into clothing - beautiful nightwear, lingerie, aprons, children's hats, bibs and dresses
Patches on clothing, doilies to patch furniture, just overlap them if they have a little damage
If you live local to our Intercept shop in Whangarei, New Zealand, come and pick out some rescued linen to work with. If you live elsewhere - talk to your op shop volunteers about not throwing out the damaged linens and doilies - they need saving!