I like everything about vintage linens…the embroidery, the high-quality linen or cotton and the crochet-lace edges. A boxful often comes home with me from an auction. Inside, the handy work of American girls and women from the Victorian Era through the 1950’s continues to amaze me. Sometimes the workmanship is just passable, but I often find a treasure included, no doubt passed on from an earlier generation. After washing and ironing, I sell the best examples in my shop and keep all the ones that have defects, such as stains that cannot be removed. I’ve lived here for ten years and the pile is growing. All six drawers of this dresser and the suitcases are filled with vintage linens.
If I’ve found a vintage or antique doll bed over the summer, I make new bedding for it using this supply. Christmas is a good season for shoppers looking for a gift for daughters, granddaughters and nieces with an American Girl doll. These 18″ dolls are just the right size for vintage doll beds which usually measure between 18-20 inches long. Some of my beds sold to women who collect dolls, too.
This year, I found only one doll bed, a typical 1940’s – 1950’s bed with a crib-style side that lowers. I painted it white, as the wood looked listless, using some left over Fine Paints of Europe enamel.
I made the mattress from some high-density foam pieces that I had left over from furniture projects and covered it with some thick 1950’s pillow ticking fabric. You can see the ticking showing through the linen mattress cover.
The top sheet is part of a tea towel. It worked out perfectly because I had just enough of the embroidered linen for the back of one of the pillow cases.
A twin size Chenille Cinderella bedspread had just enough strong fabric left to make a doll-size blanket while pastel-colored crocheted scallops decorate the tea towel top sheet.
I made linen-covered pillow forms in fun shapes to pal along with the embroidered pillow covers. There were quite a few petticoat ladies linens in the drawer.
Embroidery motifs popular between the 1920’s and 1940’s are charming and I could have made the bedding using linens featuring butterflies, a favorite flower, Japanese lanterns or ladies’ fans, to name just a few. Flower baskets were popular for decades, but particularly in the 1930’s. Below, you’ll see a few pieces of flower basket embroidery from my dresser drawers. Aren’t they pretty?