Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Vintage Linen Finds New Life

As my Mom continues to downsize, I continue to receive items that are "just too good to go to a thrift store."

Besides the postcard collection that I am still sifting through, I have been given a few tobacco cans (these will soon be listed on ebay), wooden spools (these found a new home quickly, just in time for Valentines Day) and antique and vintage children's blocks.  I was also handed a vintage linen piece that Tressie (from the Pieces in the Garden sew along) made.

I loved the color and the simple design and knew immediately that I wanted to quilt it.  But how was I to do that with the curved edge without covering it up?  As is typical, I woke early one day knowing exactly how it was to be done. My mind almost immediately turns to quilting designs and ideas as I wake up. (Am I the only one this happens to?)

Since I had completed all of the blocks for my new sew along, Pieces of My Life, I was clearing away all of the blue fabrics and placing them back in my stash closet, my eyes fell on a piece of batik backing fabric that I had purchased in a clearance sale from Connecting Threads.  It was the perfect choice to accompany the linen piece.

Using fusible batting, I cut a piece to the exact size I needed with plans to have about 1-1/2 inches all around.  

Next, I cut the backing large enough for it to fold over to the front to create a "self-binding" and a mitered corner look.  

I then placed the linen piece on top of it, trying to center it as best I could.  I fused the piece into place and then used a few pins along the edges since it was over the fabric and could not be fused.  
Using a hanging star quilt design in a matching thread, I stitched down the edges and then quilted the lines 1-1/2 inches apart.  

Before long, I had a completed piece!  I took another quilt that I use each evening and tossed both into the washer for a quick swish, transferred them both to the dryer and by dinner time, I had a beautiful new table runner.  The 80% cotton batting offers a beautiful, soft, crinkly look that just invites a touch from the hand.

One of my most favorite custom quilts was made in 2017 using a vintage embroidered tablecloth ~ You can follow the link to see the pictures and read the story at "The Heart of the Home."  This table runner gives me the same feels... I imagine it being placed at the center of a table for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner... or perhaps, because of the pastel color, it was brought out to grace the table for an Easter dinner.

I have another box of "stuff" sitting under one of my sewing tables with similar pieces that I may have to explore... or just wait for Mom to find more for me. LOL!

I find projects like this create unique heirloom pieces that help to preserve the memories of loved ones.  

Have you ever "upcycled" vintage linen?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear what you have done (or hope to make).

Keep Piecing,


Linking with:


  1. That's a beautiful way to make that vintage linen piece useful again and stronger! I love the way you quilted it. That's a favorite design of mine, and I forget to use it!

  2. I knew I would enjoy this post as soon as I saw the title! I like the way the linen runner turned out, and yes, I often do my best problem solving when I first wake up. It's almost like my brain figured it out while I was sleeping, and it's right there waiting for me when I wake up.

  3. What a lovely way to use that vintage linen! Such a treasure. Thanks for sharing on my weekly show and tell, Wednesday Wait Loss.

  4. I love what you did with that piece of linen - so pretty!! And now it has a new life ready for new memories to be made with it! Thanks for joining in on Monday This and That!! xx

  5. What a brilliant idea. Your new linen/batik table runner is so unique. I was chuckling at the postcards. I got quite a few postcards when we dismantled my mom and dad's house. I am involved with a queen bee style block group. We make blocks and mail them to our queen bee. I've been using the old postcards to write notes to enclose with the package of blocks. I don't have a whole lot left but I'm enjoying them.

  6. This was a clever idea and it turned out beautifully. I have a big box of linens and doilies , for years I have been trying to decide what to do with them. Thank you for linking up to Put your foot down.

  7. Your up-cycled linen looks fantastic!! Such a clever idea!!
    Thanks for linking to TGIFF!

  8. So pretty! I love what you did with this.

  9. Nice work! I have some pieces from my hubby's family that are deteriorating and could use an overhaul. Thanks for the idea!

  10. What a great idea, Melva! I love how you made this. Thanks for linking up with Monday Musings.

  11. You did it very nicely, this piece of linen is gorgeous inside the batik backing!
    Thank you for sharing!

  12. I love this piece. What a fabulous way to reuse and make new!

  13. A great way to use and showcase that vintage linen! Most of my patchwork-quilting ideas come as I wake up! Sometimes in the middle of the night which can make it difficult to get back to sleep. I've learned not to be too hasty in making decisions for a project. 'Sleep on it' is a good maxim for me too.

  14. Hi Melva, I really love how you backed the vintage linen runner with the batik. It's very effective. What a great way to give it back life. One of my favourite quilters, Cindy Needham, does amazing work with vintage linens. You might want to check out her Pinterest. Thanks for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks!

  15. Great way to make a vintage piece usable and stabilize it to extend its life.

  16. What a fabulous way to feature the vintage linen and create a beautiful quilted table runner. Thanks for linking up with Favorite Finish!

  17. Thanks so much for sending me this link...I love how you quilted it... I also love how you added the doilies to the other piece... I figured that they would have to be sewn on by hand which is fine...Thanks so much for the inspiration...I really appreciate it!! I hope you have a great week!!
    Debbie-Dabble Blog