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The hidden history in the weaves: vintage fabrics and linens!

Discovering vintage fabrics has been truly wonderful for me; it opened up a new world full of inspiration and stimuli that I had never imagined! Among the various types of antique fabrics, what has most captured my attention are those printed on cotton and linen. Perhaps this is also due to my upbringing in my grandparents’ household linen and fabric store, where, from a young age, I was drawn to the oldest fabrics in stock, some of which dated back to before World War II. I particularly loved old fabrics for children with delightful and adorable designs of rabbits, chicks, and flowers. I noticed that these fabrics were very different from the newer ones (in the 1970s at that time), both in the elegance of the designs and the quality of the fabric. I would lose myself exploring the hidden corners of the old shop to find more.

Later, in the 1980s, my mother renovated the store and introduced many prestigious brands of linens that were still produced in Italy at the time, and they created truly stunning collections, many of which were inspired by old French and English printed fabrics. I often bought French magazines and books that featured beautiful interiors decorated with very special fabrics and bric-a-brac objects. I realized that my favorite fabrics were those inspired by antique textiles, and I began searching for them in the antique market. I noticed that especially abroad, they were often incorporated into interior design to create unique pieces and unique atmospheres.

I love the patient search for these pieces and the way they can be paired and made to converse with each other. It’s a challenge every time because in this field, there are no sample books, color charts, or designs specifically created to coordinate. However, the end result is always rewarding because it is consistently surprising and different. It’s a true relief for someone like me who seeks an escape from the homogenization brought about by globalization.

I have, therefore, put together a collection of old toile de jouy, Art Nouveau and Art Deco printed fabrics, Edwardian-era fabrics with delightful romantic prints inspired by the time of Marie Antoinette, French fabrics from the Napoleonic era, fabrics with Asian and Japanese-inspired patterns, old French mattress ticking fabrics with stripes and damask designs…

The designs on these fabrics are often true masterpieces that testify to both the precision in the design and printing processes. They also provide insight into the evolution of fashion and styles over time. These old fabrics are never ordinary; they are rich in different meanings and have their own history, shaped by the people who created and handled them, the places they have been, and their journey from one generation to the next, often changing from one use to another. They always bear the marks of these transitions, acquiring an incomparable patina that only the authentic passage of time can provide. This is extremely fascinating and moving for me!

In addition to printed fabrics, I also greatly appreciate old hemp and linen fabrics and old grain sacks with contrasting stripes, often embellished with precious monograms that distinguished families. These were made on hand looms, originating from both Italy and Europe. They are humble and exceptionally durable, designed to withstand the test of time.

I find these fabrics to be very versatile and enjoyable to use in interior design for creating upholstery for chairs and sofas, curtains, cushions, tablecloths, runners, and more. They adapt very well to any environment, from the most rustic to the most refined, and they are also very eco-friendly because the hemp and linen used have not been cultivated using modern intensive methods and have not been dyed with chemical dyes. Thus, they are truly pure and possess an incredible charm that comes from their always diverse weaves and the many shades of white and beige that can be found.

In this case as well, these fabrics have a history behind them, as they were woven in households, especially in rural areas, where each family wove their own fabrics at home. They speak of lived lives and continue to provide us with emotions to this day.

The world of antique quilts is absolutely fascinating. Even today, it is possible to find old French and English quilts, commonly but mistakenly called Boutis. In reality, their true name is courtpoint, as Boutis refers to a particular quilting technique that involved creating small sewn channels following intricate patterns, which were then padded using special needles. This technique gave rise to genuine works of art, which are now very rare.

Old French quilts were made at home for brides and involved the collaboration of women from different generations. They come in various thicknesses and are sometimes made from magnificent fabrics. They are often well-used, bearing the signs of their use. You can find them with patches and repairs using different fabrics, but with beautiful combinations. Sometimes, you may discover an older layer of fabric (sometimes even dating back to the 18th century) beneath the top layer, which was damaged and then covered to allow the quilt to continue to be used. The quilting patterns are often very interesting and always made by hand. Today, these beautiful quilts are highly sought after for use in French, Nordic, shabby chic-style interiors. They look great folded and displayed on wardrobes, draped over sofas and armchairs, at the foot of a bed, or as tablecloths. When they are too damaged, the salvageable parts are used to create beautiful cushions, bags, or other textile home decor accessories. They are too precious to let even the smallest fragments go to waste!

In my gallery, you can also find vintage linens such as old curtains, bed sheets, piqué and crochet bedspreads, embroidered tablecloths and napkins with monograms, centerpieces, antique lace, and vintage cushions.

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