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Ways With Vintage Linen

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.

Intercept vintage linen cushion by Jenny H

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

  • Sheen

  • Soil resistance

  • Wicks moisture

  • Bleaches and disinfects in sunshine

  • Long-wearing

  • Lint-free

  • Crisp hand

  • Beautiful and sensual

  • Non-irritating

  • Non-allergenic

  • Generally chemical-free

  • Nontoxic

  • Nontoxic when burned

Beautiful damask serviette keeping my bread moist


doily repair from Pinterest

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

Lavender sachets


Giftwrap and gift bags

Soft toys

Cafe curtains

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

Intercept vintage linen upcycled top by Jenny H

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!

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