Antique Linen & French Fabric Pillows
When I made my first pillows, I hoped to convey to my children a sense of history and their European heritage. I also wanted my home to connect with nature, by using natural materials instead of man-made fibers. I can hardly tell you how much we have enjoyed pillows made of this beautiful linen! Now my children are parents, and they love having these pillows for their children. The linen is super tough, washes easily and will only become softer and more beautiful with age.
In a previous life I must have been French, because I just adore antique/vintage French fabrics and can't get enough of them! I buy most of my fabrics in France, personally choosing them so that I can offer only the most delightful ones to my customers. Fashioning pillows and accessories from these fabrics for my customers brings me great joy as I think of the women who owned and loved these fabrics in former times.
German Grain Sack Pillows
These pillows are made from genuine antique German grain sacks, which are VERY RARE with few surviving the wars. The printing on the sacks is original. The history of these grain sacks is amazing. German farmers would have them stenciled with their names in order to identify their sacks when they took them to the mill. They also often inscribed the name of the farm and the date it was established or taken over by a new owner. The earliest sacks were hand painted. Around 1890 stenciling became the more common mode of imprinting the sacks. Wealthier farmers beautified the sacks with farm emblems that often hinted at the kind of farming in which they were engaged. Most of them were hand-sewn together.
Nowadays they are sometimes found when old farmers give up their farms and sell their farming implements because farming is no longer economically viable for them. To keep track of their sacks when the farmers took them to the mills, they stenciled numbers on them. Smaller farmers may have had only a few sacks, but those with larger farms had naturally more sacks and would number them from 1 to 99. Sometimes the farmers also designated certain numbers to hold the various kinds of grains they harvested. So 1 through 10 may have held barley, 11 to 20 wheat, and so forth.
The linen makes stunning table runners, which complement any season and décor. Red-striped linen is perfect for Valentines Day and Christmas celebrations, while the blue-striped fabric looks beautiful for Easter and Independence Day décor. The very rare caramel, brown and black striped fabrics will make your autumn table look sensational.
For many years, on trips to my home country Germany, I loved to search rural villages and markets hoping to come across this rustic, homegrown linen that I loved so much while growing up. All of my linen is between 80 to 130 years old. The entire process (see our history page), from the growing of flax, the retting (rotting) of the plant's fiber, the spinning and the final weaving, was done by individual farm families of former times. Women weavers would work an entire evening, between 4-6 hours, to produce just one yard of this beautiful linen. Each bolt is one of a kind, never to be produced again! They differ in texture, color and width. Each farmer wove unique stripe patterns into the linen to identify his sacks when he took them to the mill. That way, the miller could make sure the sacks were returned to their rightful owner.
Mangle cloths were used with old roller ironing presses called mangles. These wonderful linen fabrics, which are about 3m long, 90cm wide and 60 to 100 years old, were used to protect other fabrics as they passed through the mangle. Mangle cloths can be used for a wide variety of >home projects, such as curtains, roman blinds, tablecloths, upholstery, anything you can imagine! The uses for these gorgeous linens are just limitless!