Antique Linens & Textiles
With 100 years as your measuring stick for authenticity, antique linens and textiles from the early 1900's and late 1800's are your best finds when collecting these items. Antique quilts, samplers, and tapestries, provide a blend of styles and textures that you'll proudly display on a bed, wall, or other location. You might also choose these pieces for repurposing and upcycling into curtains, additions to furniture, and more DIY projects. Additionally, there are selections on eBay to include embroidered pieces, antique lace and crochet doilies, and period piece kitchen and table linens to add to your collection.
What Makes a Tapestry an Antique?
Between the 15th and 17th centuries, a combination of wool, linen, and cotton were the go-to fabrics of choice. Antique tapestries won't display a manufacturer's tag, but rather the initials of the maker. Take a close look to spot fading fabric and bleeding of colors, which can be age indicators. Colors bleed because antique tapestries, including dyed thread from plant and insect components. Furthermore, the design is on both sides on antique tapestries, as compared to one-sided modern-day specimens.
How Do You Know If a Quilt Is an Antique?
The presence of several quilt characteristics in a single item helps date a quilt. Here are a few tips:
- You will not see modern bindings like bias tape sewn along the edges of antique quilts.
- Quilters varied their stitches when hand quilting, whereas a machine-stitched quilt has evenly spaced stitches. Antique quilts before 1846 are hand stitched since the first sewing machine in America didn't come on the scene until that year. Even so, many quilters continued to hand stitch their pieces up to the early 1900's.
- It's possible to date a quilt by a period pattern such as the Star of Bethlehem, Grandmother's Flower Garden or Dresden Plate, which were popular in the early 1900's.
- A quilt's style indicates age depending on whether it's a whole, signature, or crazy quilt design.
- The weaving pattern is another indicator of age. The cotton sateen weave appeared largely in 19th century quilts, with the twill weave in quilt examples dating between 1880 and 1920.
Are There Different Kinds of Antique Samplers Available?
A sampler is usually a small demo of a single textile worker's skills, often a small piece of needlework or embroidery that may include stylized borders, figures, and the alphabet, among other things. Most samplers are framed works of art, and you'll find needlepoint pieces that list as folk art, even family samplers from the 1800's that include Quaker motifs. American samplers may also include geographical images of an occupied region, such as Pennsylvania or another state. On the other hand, makers of Scottish samplers routinely used green and red thread and worked the family's initials into the piece. Likewise, an English sampler was hand worked onto fine wool and then linen for American samplers. Handwritten provenance handed down to descendants is one of the best ways to determine where a sampler comes from and its age.