Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Linens...and things

I consider myself a thoroughly modern girl, and yet I have some decidedly traditional quirks. My taste for good linens for instance.

I insist on the silkiest 100% cotton Italian sheets (they are insanely expensive but I generally can pick them up at the bargain mecca Century 21 for a somewhat reasonable price), and am happiest when they are freshly laundered (although honestly that only happens once a week).

I also love my fluffy Turkish towels, and to round out my international textile trip, my Irish linen dish towels as well. But frankly, in the context of my linen collection (such as it is), my napkin selection had been sorely lacking. It was, until recently, composed solely of violently colored (although not evenly colored) cotton squares that I had picked up on a very deep discount at Calypso Home a few years ago. Sad, no?

A few beautiful napkin options have caught my eye over the years...the obscenely expensive heavyweight linen napkins at Bergdorf's and Barney's for instance...everytime I step foot in the stores...but as much as I relish the feel of that substantive natural fabric, I just could never bring myself to pay the exorbitant prices (I draw the line at $50 per napkin).

But with a week of vacation in a home with a sturdy old PFAFF sewing machine on my hands (this fabulous machine, which I imagine was quite a splurge for my parents when they bought it back in the 1970s, will hopefully last forever) and a mom to go fabric shopping with, it occurred to me that a bit of DIY action might be in order.

So mother and daughter toodled on down to the textile paradise that is Piedmont Fabric for a bit of retail therapy. Lo and behold, they not only had bolts of heavyweight napkin linen,

but also wonderful cottons and linens perfect for dish towels.

I picked up a few yards of the coveted fabric and headed home to cut, pin and sew. I can't say that the napkins are all exactly the same size, or that the corners are perfectly square, but the outcome was satisfying all the same. Six napkins, the heft and grace of which is undeniable.

Even when strewn about carelessly, as is wont to happen after a particularly excellent meal. Now all I need is a dining room table to match!


vicki archer said...

Linens are the best and some of my favourite things too, xv.

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

A great post, Laura! Your homemade linens look perfect. We are big fans of cloth napkins and use them with every meal. Some are everyday napkins that were bought as everyday napkins; others are "fancy dinner party" napkins demoted to everyday after many uses [and when they're replaced by new "fancy dinner party" napkins]. Not only are cloth napkins nicer to use, they're greener too.

Maggie's garden said...

What a great project idea...yours turned out great!

Laura [What I Like] said...

Vicki Archer - It is amazing how much improved one's life can be with good linens, isn't it?

Terry B - You are so very green! And I couldn't agree more, so much nicer than the paper variety.

Maggie's Garden - Thank you! I must admit it was somewhat tedious, but in the end I was quite happy with the result.

Millie said...

As a total sewing klutz, I'm so impressed Laura. You, your Mum & the Pffaf have excelled. We had a whole set of Irish Linen napkins + table cloth given to us as a wedding present from the Board at my work & use them constantly. We got a wedding invitation yesterday & the sweet couple requested money so they could build an outdoor deck on their house. I'm tempted to rebel & give Irish linen!
Millie ^_^

Laura [What I Like] said...

Millie - Do it!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin