The concept of Les Toiles Blanches consists of recycling textiles and old linen that lie dormant in wardrobes into decorative objects and clothing to take advantage of the nobility of these canvases woven sometimes more than a century ago and offer these wonderful materials a second life.
For centuries in France, household linen or trousseau has been part of a family's heritage; it is stored in a cupboard or chest and it is encrypted, that is to say embroidered with the initials of the mistress of the house, because it was pretty much the only possession women had for centuries, the only possession they were allowed to take away when they were divorced! Linen is an age-old material, it is also a woman's affair.
Linen is used to make sheets, shirts and office linen such as napkins, tablecloths and tea towels. Relatively rigid and brown in color, linen softens and whitens over time. Its weaving varies depending on the uses. Of fine, supple, strong or extra strong quality, linen is sold white, unbleached or creamed, i.e. unbleached. To whiten it, we spread the canvases on a meadow and let the dew and the moon whiten the fabric naturally. I use heavy, rustic linen to make placemats, aprons, and large decorative objects like bears and rabbits. Beyond its solidity, the irregularity in the weaving brings a crazy charm I find.
It is the finest quality of linen ever woven. The canvas is fine, fluid with a silky touch. A quality reserved for refined and embroidered trousseaux. I use this exceptional material to make clothes. Children's tunics, but also blouses, headscarves and dresses. The yarn is a light and breathable material that is very pleasant on the skin.
Metis sheets, often embroidered with ladder stitching, became common at the end of the 19th century. They are also numbered like linen sheets and embroidered with designs. To deserve the Métis designation, the canvas must contain at least 45% linen, the rest is cotton. No two metis sheets are alike, as the mixture and weaving give them a different appearance. These are easy-to-wear, beautiful and durable canvases that can be washed an infinite number of times. A perfect material to transform them into baby comforters.
It is a very resistant canvas which has a characteristic relief. Hemp sheets have long been used in the countryside and by modest people. Their seam in the middle testifies to very ancient weaving on looms which do not exceed one meter wide. They are woven by hand in the countryside and in eastern Europe, they are made into grain bags to carry heavy loads. I recycle them to make my large shopping bags and pencil cases.
The use of cotton appeared at the end of the 19th century and concerned table linens and bath towels. The tablecloth is white and damask, that is to say woven in such a way as to reveal designs by contrast of matte and satin. Cotton towels are often made of honeycomb, an embossed cotton whose weave is reminiscent of the cells of swarms of bees. They are sometimes underlined with red or blue battens, and are engraved with satin stitch. I use them to make decorative items.
It looks like silk because this material is so silky, but it is actually linen, a fine, fluid and extremely durable quality. I use damask linen, embroidered napkins, tablecloths, to make my dolls' dresses, but also decorative objects, small lavender bags...
Tea towel cloths are always woven approximately 70 cm wide to sew only the upper and lower edges. The canvases are generally made of linen woven with red vertical cotton battens. I use it to make kits and bunnies, playing on the battens.
These are the most common furnishing fabrics throughout the first part of the 20th century. The tones are muted, sand, khaki, bronze, sometimes even yellow, blue or pink, with striped or floral patterns, these canvases are super strong and perfect for making foolproof cuddly toys...
All the utility fabrics from the beginning of the 20th century were woven to withstand the most harsh treatments, horse blankets, furnishing work, sofa covers, chairs... I love it when they are striped, I like using them in a mix and match on the same blanket!
More recent, but just as interesting, the flowered cotton fabrics found throughout the last century are fun to transform into cuddly toys. I use everything, tea towels, curtains, napkins, as soon as a print surfaces in a pile of old linen, I'm on the lookout!
When they are damaged, I cut out interesting parts from old clothes, lace borders, festoons, mother-of-pearl buttons, embroidery and monograms from sheets, towels, pretty pieces that I reuse in the manufacture of my dolls.
Last upcycled material, lace which I am starting to recycle into removable collars.
Soon on sale in the Linen Clothing category!