The use of linen and lace has become obsolete for most dinner tables and few make their own fresh flower bouquet to grace the table but somehow both continue to hold a place in my heart. (At least the romance of the look lingers in my heart. The reality of ironing those linen tablecloths and napkins gets pushed to the back of my mind.) Like many, I rescue those vintage linens whenever I find them—auction houses, antique stores and boutiques, even from their resting place in the drawers of my friends. I don’t grow flowers as beautiful as those found in the grocery store or the big box store much less the floral shop or, in my case, the fabric shop. My solution for satisfying the heartstrings is to combine vintage linens and floral fabrics in a quilted project for the wall, the table or the sofa.
Small or large, I dye the linens with no special regard for home décor color schemes or the popular color palette of the day or year but for whatever comes out of the dye bath. Those colors that seem most unusable for home décor present the opportunity to find a beautiful floral fabric that can become the flower arrangement.
The bright orange napkin at first seemed hopelessly unfit for anything but I was determined to utilize it’s sunny disposition and found the appropriate color combination in a floral from Westminster Fabrics.
Fusible was adhered to the floral fabric and a variety of flowers cut out. A tricot fusible was adhered to the napkin to stabilize it. My recollection of flower arranging from my 4-H days is quite simple: find a lovely vase (in this case a complement of turquoise to the oranges), make a pyramid, put in some greenery and voila, a flower arrangement! Add a neutral linen napkin for a base, coordinating batik borders, embellishment of beads and thread, quilt and bind. Vintage linens and flower arrangements once again grace the home.
Additional project ideas: A simple arrangement of something resembling bittersweet and the Japanese lantern plant combined into one allowed the design of another napkin to be highlighted through quilting and provide the backdrop for the vases.
Hand-dyed burlap used for a sofa pillow was the perfect background for a small doily with fused teacup fabric—Tea for Two.
You don’t have to have a last name beginning with “F” to use those initialed linens. “F” is for fruit including apple, pear and orange that might once again grace the dining table as a runner.