Category Archives: fabric

Steampunk Colorado – not a place, but a state of mind


Steampunk

I have to admit I didn’t know much about steampunk.  I probably still don’t know a lot about steampunk, even after my long conversation with two neat people who came into my store dressed in Victorian steampunk style.  I’m learning however.

However, I am always curious and open to new things.  Shrugging off my middle America farm girl cloak, I went looking for answers to my question “What is Steampunk?”  Thanks to Wikipedia I learned that Steampunk is a genre that originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fictionfantasyalternate historyhorror, and speculative fiction.  It involves a setting where steam power is widely used—whether it be an alternate history such as Victorian era Britain or the “Wild West” era United States, Science fiction depicts Steampunk in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy.

Now I understand it.  Turns out I do know some of the steampunk styling’s after all.  TV Shows such as the television series The Wild Wild West (1965–69), which inspired the film Wild Wild West (1999) with Will Smith as James West. is a Steampunk genre.  The popular “Sherlock Holmes” series is considered Steampunk, the modern version with Robert Downey, Jr. more so then the older versions.  I love these type of films.  If you want to know more about the history of Steampunk, look up the Wikipedia article.  It’s a comprehensive look at the genre and the history.  I understand why it is attracting so many young people today.  It’s creative and inventive and that is exciting to anyone who has a pulse and the ability to fly in the face of convention.  I understand this.

I find myself involved because of the linens and the lace that I have in my stores.  Turns out the Victorian style genre that steampunk builds on, incorporates the linens, lace and the styles from the Victorian era.   Both of my stores are perfect for the creative imaginations of the steampunk aficionados.  Even my husband’s collection of desk and writing items; some from the late 1800’s,  plus his ornate watches that he has tucked into “Dads Corner” suit the genre.  I can’t say that you will ever see me dressed in the steampunk style, (as a teacher I may frighten the conservative parents of my students) but I love the freedom of expression and uniqueness the genre brings.  I’ll continue to furnish the lace and satins, but it will take a more creative stylist then I to make the material live in the steampunk tradition.   I would love to see the results however.

I’m sure I will have more to say about this fascinating art in later posts.  Readers feel free to help me out here.  Point me in the right directions.

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The Care and Cleaning of Vintage Quilts


I just put in a bunch of 1900’s to 1960 vintage quilt pieces (scraps, fats, squares, oh my)  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, as I started to say before my mind wandered off to its secret place, I put of load of vintage quilt material in both stores, and this got me to thinking about how to take care of vintage quilts.  I called a friend who quilts all the time. First words out of her mouth were “very carefully.”

my new (new to me) antique quilt! i lurve it.
My new (new to me) antique quilt! I love it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I asked what she meant by very, she explained.  Never dry clean a cotton quilt since the weight of the ‘fluid’ may place more stress than ‘water’ on old fabric.  I emphasized fluid and water for a reason.  Dry-cleaning fluid is heavy with chemicals. (Who would have thought?)  Its weight will tear old fabric.  Her next bit of advice was “never hang a wet quit on a single line.”  Same reason.  The water pools at the bottom, placing stress on the seams and threads at the top as they drape over the small line.  If you have to dry a quilt outside, then hang it over two or even three lines, evenly distributing the weight of the quilt.  If you have a lot of quilts or need to wash and dry many for sale, then consider making a rope drying rack. The look like an old rope bed.  One of my mother’s friends uses an old king size bed frame she weaves a bed of ropes.  Bottom line of all this is be careful with vintage quilts.  I am sure you have seen some beautiful ones for sale in an antique store, only to turn it over and find the material separated, or the stitching torn out.  Makes you want to cry doesn’t it?

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About Julie:

Julie is a homemaker, mother, teacher of special needs children and an entrepreneur. As a teacher with along history of teaching students in the elementary grades, she obtained her credentials for Special Need teaching and advocacy late in her career, because – as she puts it, “these kids need to be taken out of the corner and given a voice.” As a means to lessen the stress that comes when one deals with bureaucracy, Julie – her Mother-in-Law and her daughter, opened the Mom & Me Vintage Linens and Lace shops late in 2011. Now with two locations in Colorado Springs, (The Treasure Shoppe – downtown CS and American Classics on N. Academy) she has managed to gather a rich following of friends and steady customers who look forward to seeing her come in with an armload of vintage linens, fine lace and the occasional vintage purse or pillow to round out her diverse selection. Julie can be reached by JClark@Linens2Lace.com . You can also follow her blog at www.Linens2Lace.WordPress.com, and her Tweets at #MomNMe.

Squeeze your wet linen


Drying rack
Drying rack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wet vintage linen can be delicate.  When the fibers are wet, they become fragile.  Tears or separations are commonplace.  So, how can you dry vintage linens safely?  The best way is to use a large towel.  Lay the wet linen on a large towel and roll it up, squeezing the water out of the linen as you go.  Repeat as many times as you need until the linen is fairly dry, then drape the linen piece over a drying rack.  Make sure you support the linen across the entire drying rack and not just one rung, as one rung will stretch that area touching the rung. Let it dry – then fold it.  Try it – you’ll never dry fine linens on the line or (shudder) throw them into a dryer again.  I have more tips like this on my new public Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mom-Me-Vintage-Linens-Lace/335108499846187?sk=page_insights  Join me and share your tips as well. 

Save the Leather


You bought that vintage suede jacket.  It’s beautiful, but when you get home and take the rose-colored glasses off, you

Suede
Suede (Photo credit: AMagill)

notice that dark color you thought was only from the poor lighting, is actually a large stain.  Suede is leather with a brushed or “napped” surface.

NEVER use leather cleaning products on suede unless it says it is specifically designed to clean suede.  Instead, make a paste of fullers earth and water.  Brush clean with a soft brush after drying.  Re-apply as needed.  Make sure the past is wet enough to stick.  Allow it plenty of time to dry fully.  Brush the area gently.

We obtained some suede pieces that had been mixed in with some linens we purchased from an estate.  A couple of pieces had small stains of unknown origin.  So before we ut it in the shop, we tried this and found that it worked well.  Will it work on every stain?  Don’t know, but it’s a safe method for trial and error.

Happy repurposing.

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About Julie
Julie is a homemaker, mother, teacher of special needs children and an entrepreneur.   As a teacher with along history of teaching students in the elementary grades, she obtained her credentials for Special Need teaching and advocacy late in her career, because – as she puts it, “these kids need to be taken out of the corner and given a voice.”
As a means to lessen the stress that comes when one deals with bureaucracy, Julie – her Mother-in-Law and her daughter, opened the Mom & Me Vintage Linens and Lace shops late in 2011.  Now with two locations in Colorado Springs, (The Treasure Shoppe – downtown CS and American Classics on N. Academy) she has managed to gather a rich following of friends and steady customers who look forward to seeing her come in with an armload of vintage linens, fine lace and the occasional vintage purse or pillow to round out her diverse selection.
Julie can be reached by JClark@Linens2Lace.com .  You can also follow her blog at www.Linens2Lace.WordPress.com, and her Tweets at #MomNMe.

Oil Down, Don’t Strip


Have you ever bought an item from an antique store or flea market only to get it home and realize that the seller glued a %@*$#+ sticker on the wood or other finish, that will not come off without the threat of ruin?  Don’t use alcohol, scrape it or use any abrasive.  (shudder)  Don’t even pick at it with your finger nail.  Instead, grab the salad oil or mineral oil, pour it on a soft cloth and cover the sticker, letting it sit and soak for a while.

If you have already pulled parts of the sticker off, use the cloth, rub the oil into the glue in a circular motion until it softens and rolls off.  If the sticker is stuck fast or has been there for a long time and you can afford the time, (and with some stickers you may have to do this anyway) pour either one of the oils directly on the paper and let it sit overnight.  The following day it should be soft enough to pull off, glue and all.

While we are on this topic, every collector should have mineral oil around.  A small amount of mineral oil works great on removing light scratches from vintage furniture, without stripping the original finish or patina.

Diapering with Damask


Damask

Let’s talk about “diapering.” No, I’m not talking about a baby’s butt, but diapering as it applies to Damask Linens. Diapering is derived from the French term diaspre, (bed of flowers) and means to adorn or bejewel. Vintage Damask linens were used to “diaper” walls, windows, tables and bedchambers. When used in a fashion sense, ladies of the French and English court were said to have had their bed chambers “diapered” with fine Damask linens.  And (I’m speculating here) probably someone “bejeweled” a baby’s butt with a piece of Damask linen and a whole new use for the term “diapering” was coined.

From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, most damasks linens were woven in a single color, with a glossy warp-faced satin pattern against a duller ground. Two-color damasks had contrasting color warps (fatter thread) and wefts, (thinner thread.) Polychrome damask is often gold or other metallic threads or additional colors as supplemental brocading wefts. Medieval damasks were usually woven in silk, but wool and linen damasks can also be found.  (Thank you Wikipedia)

Today’s Damask is usually a single-color produced from silk, linen or linen-type synthetic fabrics. Damask weaves appear most commonly in table linens, but also in clothing and furnishings.  Many repurposers take a Damask tablecloth and repurpose it to beautiful Damask evening dresses. For a wide variety of Vintage Damask linen, visit our vintage linen and lace store in The Treasure Shop. Space B4.  We are exclusive linens and lace, and we’ve been in the same location for many years. Repeat customers come from all over Colorado to “pick” our finds. If you have never been there, we invite you to try us. Let us know what you are looking for. Send me an e-mail. If we don’t have it (yet), we may know where we can get it.

We Depend on You.


Occasionally people ask us where we get our linens. It took us awhile, but at this stage of our business, we depend on our customers; therefore, most of our linens come from referrals and sellers who contact us directly. More than just referrals however, we depend on our customers to tell us what they want. In some cases, especially when it comes to vintage lace, we may buy from a few known dealers or private estates, both local and out-of-state.

In any case, we have specific criteria for what we put in the store and most of our referring agents know what we look for. When they get it in stock or hear of a supply, they contact us. For example, some of our early 70’s and 80’s linens have come from a Chicago estate sale and we are fortunate enough to have established a long-term relationship with the estate so we expect that we will have plenty of beautiful vintage linens for years to come.

Some of our exotic lace came from the granddaughter of a Russian immigrant who ‘hand made’ the lace she carried out of Russia as a young girl, during the revolution. Occasionally, I will come across a great supply of vintage material on either Etsy or eBay that I can’t pass up. I have selected dealers on both these sites that I have bought from before and what they sell is quality.

Bottom line is that we depend on people, just like you, people with taste and an eye for fine linen that holds that old school quality. Thank you for you e-mail and your suggestions. Please keep them coming. If you’re local and have vintage linens to sell, contact us. We are always in the market.

Mothballs and Persimmons


Ripe Hachiya persimmons on a tree in December
Ripe Hachiya persimmons on a tree in December (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Persimmons.  That was the smell, persimmon.  I stood with my nose buried into the cloth, taking in the smell that brought me back to my childhood.  Even thought I wash and iron all my stock I could still smell it.  My mother used to pack her linens with a persimmon scent.  Where she got it from, what she used, I don’t know.  I didn’t want to put the towel down.

Mothballs, the next smell that came to me, brought me back to my grandmother’s house.  Trying to sleep; on those rare times that we would sleep over and she would drag out the guest bedding.  Bedding stored with packets of mothballs.  To this day, the smell conjures up the memory of her; which in turn, brings up the scent of Noxima, the stuff she smeared on her face at night to remove her multiple layers of makeup.  Of course, she had to kiss us kid’s goodnight before she took the goop off.  Why?  I don’t know.  To this day, I can’t stand the smell of Noxima.  Into the rewash pile this piece of linen goes.  I’ll wash it with my new lavender-scented softener.  I love the smell of lavender.  It calms me.  I need calming.

If you ever see me in The Treasure Shoppe with my face buried in my linen stock, giggling – don’t worry about me.  I’m not the crazy woman in space B4.  I’m simply taking my occasional trip down memory lane.  .

Patience and Talent


What happens when you combine patience with talent?  You get one of the most unusual bedspreads we have ever seen.  Done by hand, we were told it was a bedspread, but as big as it is, it could just as well decorate a large table.  It’s in the store now.  See what you think.