10 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens

10 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens

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Here are 10 of my favorite ways to repurpose the stacks of vintage linens that seem to find their way into my home.

When I am out thrifting, I am always drawn to antique bedding, table runners and napkins. I rarely pay over a dollar or two for these items, even for a dust ruffle or duvet.

White fabrics are my favorite and anything with monograms melt me. Hand crocheted lace stops me in my tracks and takes me back in time. Who was she? What did she think about while labored over the details of her beautiful textile?

I know many women who acquire linens, though, and don’t feel the same about them. They don’t use them because they don’t fit their lifestyle very well.

So today, I want to think outside of the box and show you 10 different ways to use vintage linens beyond their intended purpose.

I am known in my family as the sentimental one, therefore family heirlooms are offered to me regularly. I am thinking of that one time that my aunt handed me a stack of my grandmother’s doilies. There were some weird ones in there, like a big crocheted bird.


Then a light bulb went off.


14 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens

Ta Da! How about a knock off “poodle skirt”?


10 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens


For our Anne of Green Gables Party we hung a paper doily bunting in the trees, but you could make a higher quality bunting with real doilies.


14 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens

In our master bedroom, we used a crocheted table runner to add detail to our curtain panels.

Speaking of curtain panels. . .


14 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens

This lace maxi skirt was part of a set of lace curtains I bought at Goodwill. One panel hangs in my bathroom and the other became last year’s Easter skirt! How’s that for proving the theory that we decorate how we dress?


14 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens

Every Christmas each of my daughters receives a pillowcase nightie in their stocking.

Here is a tutorial on how I made these.


10 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens

The curtain panels in our kitchen used to be a vintage dust ruffle.


10 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens

And dust ruffles are my favorite go-to for table cloths that fit banquet tables. The crocheted edges looked lovely for our Anne of Green Gables party.


10 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens

Duvet covers make great shower curtains, even the button holes can be reused. When we remodeled our bathroom, this ended up being the perfect solution for the shower curtain.


1906 Farmhouse tour, childrens play room

Any large piece of fabric can be repurposed as a slipcover. Here is on old duvet that I paid one dollar for that now is covering a chair in the school room. The blue chair is a bed sheet from a garage sale.

This post contains some affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure here.

How to Slipcover a Recliner by She Holds Dearly

And I used antique hemp sheets to cover our recliners.


10 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Linens

Finally, here is a fun gift idea using an old lace table cloth.

For more inspiration see these beautiful books

Monograms and Antique Linens

The Book of Fine Linen

Linens: For Every Room and Occasion

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  1. Kenetta
    August 24, 2016 / 10:45 AM

    Add me to your email

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 25, 2016 / 8:17 AM

      Looks like you are good to go! Enjoy!

  2. Jacki
    August 24, 2016 / 11:26 AM

    All beautiful and very creative!!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 25, 2016 / 8:18 AM

      Thank you, Jacki, what a sweet thing to say!

  3. Tanya Hulbert
    August 24, 2016 / 1:09 PM

    Your ideas amaze me! Each and every picture was so inspiring. Thank you for constantly teaching me.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 25, 2016 / 8:18 AM

      Tanya, that means a lot coming from someone as talented as you! Thank you so much for all your encouragement.

  4. Bonnie
    August 24, 2016 / 1:11 PM

    I love vintage linens also but I haven’t used them in creative ways like you have. Beautiful!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 25, 2016 / 8:19 AM

      Bonnie, I hope these ideas help you love your vintage linens even more! Thank you for stopping by.

  5. Tonya
    August 24, 2016 / 3:28 PM

    That lace maxi skirt! I need that skirt in my life! And now I think I simply must make a pillowcase nightie. And those curtains, I’m definitely doing that. Love it all! Sarah, you’re truly inspiring.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 25, 2016 / 8:20 AM

      Haha! You crack me up! I will get that pillowcase nightie tutorial out in September. Thank you for all your wonderful compliments.

  6. August 25, 2016 / 8:19 AM

    I love, love, love vintage linen and your creative uses are fantastic! I don’t know where you find them but your selections beat mine. Great ideas. Pinned and shared.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 25, 2016 / 8:23 AM

      Carol, I have collected for many years, I think that is the secret. Anytime I am in a thrift store, I browse the linens and I always say, yes, to family hand me downs. Thank you so much for pinning! xoxo

  7. Rebecca Smith
    August 25, 2016 / 12:38 PM

    I am excited about the nightie tutorial. It would be more economical than the nightgown I was looking at on Etsy. I am wondering how you have time for all this sewing. I homeschool my first-grader and have a two-year-old. You are an inspiration!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 31, 2016 / 7:42 AM

      Oh,thank you and yes, you can make a pillowcase nightie for a couple of dollars!

      As for the time question, you are in a really busy time of life, homeschooling first grade is one of the hardest years of all to homeschool because they need you so much for everything and, well, two year olds are self explanatory. Haha! I have been there.

      I do have a lot of systems in place which allow me to maximize my time and am currently writing an e-course all about productivity in the home, but I only sew a couple of hours a month usually. It just adds up over time.:)

  8. August 25, 2016 / 12:44 PM

    What an inspiring round up of ideas! I will most definitely be eying linens a little differently when I head to a thrift shop. Just lovely!! – popping over from the Creative Circle. So glad I found you!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 31, 2016 / 7:42 AM

      Oh, yeah, I love what you said about seeing the potential in thrifted linens now. That makes me so happy!

  9. August 25, 2016 / 6:55 PM

    I love all these ideas! The vintage dust ruffles ideas are my favorites :o)


    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 31, 2016 / 7:42 AM

      Mine, too, Tania!;)

  10. August 26, 2016 / 4:32 AM

    This is so useful and inspired! Thanks for sharing!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 31, 2016 / 7:44 AM

      Thank you, sweet Katherine, you are so kind.

  11. August 27, 2016 / 8:32 PM

    I love vintage linens as well, I get so attached to feminine vintage items of any kind. I hadn’t thought of using old lace table cloths for a child’s play tent though. Certainly a beautiful idea.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 31, 2016 / 7:46 AM

      I can see that we are kindred spirits! I’m glad you liked the children’s tent idea, last Christmas I made two for my nieces’ gifts and they were a hit.

  12. Pamela
    August 28, 2016 / 1:58 PM

    Fantastic up-cycled projects! You’re one clever gal. What size dust ruffle did you use for the banquet table at the Anne of GG party? A couple projects I tried the links to but didn’t work are the lace curtain to maxi skirt and the crocheted table runner on the master BR drapes. Ok me to retail sites. I have many vintage linens, in particular lots of ecru cotton crocheted lace. Maybe I’ll send you a picture of how I display them. ????

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 31, 2016 / 7:53 AM

      Pamela, thank you very much!

      I use twin size dust ruffles for table cloths, the only problem is that one short end of the table is not covered. I just add a smaller table cloth to cover that part or I will put two banquet tables end to end.

      And I apologize for the links not working. I am aware of the issue and working on it with tech support, those retail links are not supposed to be there, it is some kind of gliche. I am hoping to have it fixed in the next couple of days.

      I would love to see your pics!

  13. August 30, 2016 / 7:11 AM

    The Pillow case nighties are so sweet! Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Pinned! Have a great week!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 31, 2016 / 7:54 AM

      Thank you, my dear, I love your link party and always appreciate a pin.

  14. August 30, 2016 / 12:57 PM

    Loving all your ideas❣ Pillowcase nighty –
    wow – you are helping me with Christmas ideas!
    Your a gal I would live for a neighbor❤️

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      August 31, 2016 / 7:55 AM

      Oh goody, let the Christmas gifts begin! And what a sweet thing to say about being neighbors.

  15. September 1, 2016 / 12:21 PM

    I love reusing old things and I hang onto fabric like it’s gold. You’ve shown some ideas that I would have never thought of! Thanks so much for sharing this on the Merry Monday link party.

  16. September 3, 2016 / 10:12 AM

    these are all fabulous ideas. i share your love for antique linens and have acquired quite a few from my family as well. i’ll be using some of your ideas for sure. have a great labor day!

  17. September 5, 2016 / 5:24 AM

    I love this post and all of your great ideas for re-purposing old fabrics. I tend to be drawn to the old sheets and tablecloths section of my local Goodwill too. In fact, I was thinking of heading over there today to look for some fun fabrics for daybed pillows! Thank for the inspiration.

  18. Genevieve V.
    September 13, 2016 / 6:31 PM

    Love this post! It just became my favorite! 🙂 Can you possibly share a tutorial on how to sew a T-cushion slipcover? That is the one part of one of my wingback chairs that I ended up paying someone to make for me because I couldn’t get it right. I’m sure that it was operator error on my part! Hahaha! The rest of the body of the chair turned out well for a novice. Would love to hear your tips.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      September 13, 2016 / 7:54 PM

      I am not sure when I will be slipcover a chair cushion in the near future, but Miss Mustard Seed has a video on how to do it. Just search for her slipcover series.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      September 18, 2016 / 6:50 AM

      Thank you, sweet friend!

  19. Olivia Gust
    April 30, 2017 / 9:14 AM

    Just discovered your blog and I love it!!! I was wondering if you have a tutorial on that fantastic skirt? I rescued some lace hearts my grandma made and would love to make a skirt to attach one too!!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      May 1, 2017 / 1:09 PM

      Olivia, I don’t have a tutorial on the skirt, but I can tell you what I did. The linen skirt is from Banana Republic, but I found it at the thrift store and I just hand stitched the lace bird off to the side. Hope that helps!

  20. May 24, 2017 / 8:13 PM

    I love all of these sweet ideas! I’m going to have to add dust ruffles to my shopping list next time I go antiquing!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      May 27, 2017 / 12:53 PM

      Oh good!! I’m so pleased you found some new ideas, have fun!xoxo

  21. July 26, 2017 / 12:19 PM

    Fantastic ideas! I love the dust ruffle as a table cloth idea. I was looking for the perfect, vintage table look for my mobile boutique, and I think this will work perfectly. Thank you!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 31, 2017 / 8:37 AM

      Oh, I’m so glad! Good luck! xoxo

  22. August 25, 2017 / 4:48 AM

    Love the runner on the drapes. Such great ideas! Thanks.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      September 6, 2017 / 3:31 PM

      Oh thank you, that was such a fun design!

  23. Victoria
    January 2, 2019 / 6:14 AM

    Love all your creative ideas! I also the wall color of your master bedroom, what color is it? I’m getting ready to paint ours
    Thank you

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 3, 2019 / 10:23 AM

      Thank you, my dear. The color was just something I color-matched at Sherwin Williams from a magazine. They would probably be able to do it for you if you took a pic of my wall into them. Hope that helps!

  24. Tina
    October 30, 2021 / 4:50 AM

    Great article. I love the Easter skirt, it is so Scarlet O’Hara!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      December 7, 2021 / 9:55 PM

      Thank you! 😀

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