Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A truly lucky discovery!

I bought on Ebay a 'boxful of antique linen'. The listing picture was not very clear, so perhaps others weren't keen to take a chance. It was offered as collection only, because the contents were very heavy, and the seller offered collection from a London address, so I put in a bid - the only bid - and won!

She suggested collection by car, but as I don't drive I went by tube and took a big suitcase on wheels. By the time we met, in Pimlico, it was getting dark. I met the seller by her car outside a huge and exclusive block of purpose built flats. She was very nice and as she emptied the contents of her llarge cardboard box into my case, she gave me advice on washing the contents, as she had not yet managed to do this. It was the last part of her parents' estate, she said, having divided the rest among her surviving family.

I travelled home, itching to open the case and see what I had bought. I had expected some wastage, and was mainly interested in the table linens I knew to be a part of the lot, for sewing projects I have in mind. When I got home I wheeled my booty into the dining room and opened up the case. A powerful smell of musty damp immediately filled the room. Horrible! But it didn't put me off, and I waded through the heavy contents, discovering some wonderful items - antique linen, damask, vintage cotton, lots of tablecloths and napkins, a couple of beautiful antique sheets - which I shall be sharing here as I wash and iron them, taking stock of my purchases. No real wastage, though I am having to soak some items and wash them twice to remove storage stains.

Here, then, is the first discovered treasure - a delicate and beautiful Victorian baby's nightgown, one of three wrapped in tissue paper. Wonderfully clean it features some lovely embroidery, pin-tucks and lace. I don't have a baby, and I couldn't cut it up …so what to do with it? All suggestions welcome!

Some lovely broderie anglaise and lace on the bodice

Lovely detailing on the little cuff
Pretty hem

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