ANTIQUE GERMAN LINENS
I have a real problem. I hoard linens. My closets are full. My chests are full. You'll even find them stuffed underneath the beds.
It doesn't matter what they are, as long as they are early German handwoven linens (called Bauernleinen in Germany, as they were made by the farmers' wives for use mainly in the kitchen and the bedroom).
I have sheets and duvets and pillow shams and kitchen towels and nightgowns and table runners and napkins . . .
. . . and rolls and rolls of linen woven well over a hundred years ago still waiting to be used for a project.
So when my daughter added a master suite addition to her home this summer, I told her she would be decorating with antique linen.
Our first project was redoing her contemporary wicker headboard, tearing it down to the frame and sending to our upholsterer to have it covered in antique natural-colored flax linen. He did a beautiful job.
Since the looms in the 1800s were very narrow, we had to make the narrow rolls of linen work for this project. Our upholsterer divided the headboard into three even sections and covered cording to combine the strips of fabric. The little bit of detail it added to the king size headboard was perfect.
Our next project was using the same bolt of handwoven linen for the Roman shades. This time we had to run the bolt from left to right in the window. You can see a seam only when the shade is closed. Our seamstress is used to my projects using antique linens . . .
. . . and she had also made Roman shades for the twins' bedroom windows out of blue and white ticking from an old mattress cover.
Another project last year was covering an old chaise with a German grain sack.
Although I have dozens and dozens of grain sacks, I was especially happy to be able to use this one as the name , Fritzsche, is an old Amana name and makes me think of home.
The next project is my bedroom. I have three bolts of gray flax linen that I can't wait to cut into!
Susan, this looks wonderful. Love the chaise cover and all you have done in your daughter's home. I have a love for these linens also, but I am not as fortunate in finding them as you are. All I want is several pillows....you know, with German or Frence writing on them. Sigh.......
11/6/2011 05:03:41 am
Lovely chaise. I like your photo as a little girl...
11/29/2011 01:13:41 am
I have linen envy; it's my favorite fabric and I have several great old French linens that I need to remove from storage and enjoy. Love the 1887 flour sack, a stunning use!
12/8/2011 08:32:32 pm
Lovely linens, and uses! I am still determined to figure out linen for my living room sofa slipcover. Thanks for the inspiration!
You have a really nice linen collection. I am collecting antique linen too. I am also sewing sometimes nice things out of it and put them into my etsy shop, so I could help you with antique linen sheets, grainsacks, etc. My specialty is Transylvanian linen which is awesome. Please have a look, I would be glad to mail you some pictures. Nik
12/29/2012 03:16:55 pm
The antique linens are beautiful! I'm interested in the history of my ancestors from Germany. My Greatgrandmother's name was Catherine Fritzsche and her brother was Oscar Fritzsche,(born around 1873) It would be amazing if you knew anything about them! I'm from New Jersey,USA. and would greatful for any information you may have. Thanks!
The "Amana" Fritzsches immigrated to the US through Ebenezer, New York, and then went directly to Amana, Iowa, from there. Your grandmother was most probably not a relation. I would try www.ancestors.com. My sister and I started looking there and were amazed what all we found!
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Welcome to Living Tastefully’s “Antique of the Week” page. Our love of antiques is reflected in every aspect of our everyday lives. We are passionate about collecting and also love functional antiques that can actually be used and not only admired. Hopefully we can inspire you to incorporate antiques in your home and your life to add charm and beauty to your surroundings.