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Some New Thrifting Fun

June 7, 2011

I think I have finally decided what to do with all those vintage sheets I’ve been collecting for the past little/ longish while. You know, besides stack them up and put them in color order (not in this picture obviously) and look at them and hoard them and stuff.  I’ve always planned on making myself a vintage quilt, which is kind of why I started collecting them in the first place, but then what do I do with the remaining 98% of this stack?

vintage sheet collection

I will never have enough beds in my house to use them all as they were originally intended.  And I am not about to make Scott sleep in a floral bed.  The man puts up with enough of my crazy vintage hoarding/mess making/sewing projects all over the house as it is.  He can sleep in a gender neutral bed.  But I think I’ve decided to cut them into quilt kits and sell them that way.  I might do fat quarters too, but I haven’t decided yet.  Quilt kits seems like it would be a lot more fun for me.  At any rate, I’ve had some great thrifting luck recently and have added quite a stack to my already very large stash.  And look, there are blue and green one’s in there!  Those have been my hardest ones to find, except for the lone lavendar gingham on the bottom of the stack in the pic above.

new sheets

This is my newest recently purchased stack, washed and folded.  When I buy sheets I always wash them on the Sanitize setting of my big front loading washer, which is a three hour soak and tumble in boiling hot water and good soap.  I figure after that all vestiges of their previous lives have been effectively stamped out and they are officially mine.  And clean.  Clean is important.  Their exact vintage is not as important to me.  I buy the sheets that I like that are in good shape.  Unless they are pink, then I’m buying them even if they are thread bare. Ahem, I should set higher standards for pink things.  (Who am I kidding, that’s not going to happen.)   The blue and green florals on the right side (3rd and 4th from the bottom) I am quite sure wouldn’t qualify as  vintage, I think they are maybe 5 years old. But they are pretty, and I liked them and that’s all I really care about.  I used one of the green floral pillowcases to make this shirt for Creamie last week.

bright sheets

So, lets get technical for a minute.  There is no real time constraints for the term “vintage”.   I remember reading in a fashion magazine in 2007 that the model in question was wearing “vintage chanel, circa 2004.” And I remembered it because I thought it was ridiculous.  Vintage just means not new.  And it has been slapped on items dating back for like 70 years.  And somewhere in the 70 to 80 year old range they start meshing into antiques…. or something.  But, on etsy, the largest purveyor of fine and not so fine vintage goods, for something to qualify as “vintage” the item in question needs to be 20 years old. That’s what they say, so it must be true.  It’s on the internet.  So, if the item was manufactured/made/worn/used/etc. before 1991 it now qualifies as a vintage item and can be sold on etsy with that label.  Technically.  So how do you know how old something is?  You guess.  That being said, I am 100% sure that this pink Pottery Barn bamboo lattice sheet is NOT vintage.  And I am also 100% sure that this yellow striped sheet is.  I literally squealed when I spotted it on the shelf.  It was a brand new in the package sheet.  And it had a date on the label, 1987.

blue tulips

I also look at any labels sewn on the actual sheet to see if I can figure out their era. Depending on what kind of fabric the label is made out of  I can sometimes guess at it’s age. I also will look to see if a serger was used and what kind of stitch it made.  Or how they sewed in the elastic on fitted sheets.   But those labels that say Target on them?  It’s a dead giveaway it’s not vintage, but sometimes cute enough to buy anyway.  Totally unrelated: I don’t know why  I love these two blues ones so much.  They are a near perfectly complimentary match in color and pattern.  The blue tulip on the top I really want to make myself a dress out of.  I just love it.

towering piles

Anyway, the point of this post is that I really need to figure out something to do with this stack.  It completely fills up the space underneath my desk.  I pulled them all out today so I could add my newest finds to the collection.  And I decided that I might have enough to start doing something about the massive amount of washed and folded cotton bedding I have collected.  You know, soon.  Soonish.  A little later.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2011 5:09 am

    Your stash is beautiful. I have the same thing about vintage sheets and table cloths and curtains and… They take up a lot of space, don’t they, each one being so big. I do love their softness, both tactile and visual.

  2. Lynda B permalink
    June 7, 2011 5:43 am

    I think this looks pretty, but my heart skipped a beat when I saw the ribbon stash in the background, its VERY organised and looks amazing, I am quite jealous!!

  3. June 7, 2011 6:18 am

    Such a lovely collection! I think making quilt kits is a great idea–spread the love a little bit. Whatever you decide to do, I can’t wait to see it!!

  4. kirsten elkins permalink
    June 7, 2011 10:28 am

    oooh you can make the cutest quilts with those old patterns. yes the word ‘vintage’ has been ruined i think. too many definitions. i’m sad it is trendy, darn it all. oh well, i still like to picture myself as Jackie O, no matter the trends.
    you could make super cute skirts with those. i know the material is often super thin with sheets, but i have faith in your mad skillz.
    loves
    k

  5. Mercedi permalink
    June 7, 2011 10:42 am

    I love the idea of quilt kits. And I want to be on the wait list! I love that stack of beautiful prints. It inspires me to go do some thrifting!

  6. June 7, 2011 6:44 pm

    Umm… yes. I’m all for you sharing the goodness. :) Such beautiful fabrics–every time you do one of these posts, I think “I should thrift more. Seriously.” And I never do. But I should. But if you’re going to sell it, I don’t have to! :)

    Also, I’ve been griping to Cory about the word “vintage” a lot lately–someone recently had something captioned “so fresh and vintage…” this makes no sense. Besides that, it was shabby chic, not vintage. Not everything in this world is vintage, and I’m tired of everything having to be vintage to be cute. Sigh.

  7. June 8, 2011 9:35 am

    That is a GORGEOUS, yet overwhelming stack of vintage! Looks like you need to get to work sewing, sewing, SEWING! Like others have mentioned here, so nice to see it all organized at least!

  8. Lynn permalink
    June 9, 2011 7:38 pm

    Hi,
    Just found your site tonight and love your sheet collection! While you are still colleting you should find a container/cube that you can stand them on edge folded and top with glass. Can’t wait to see them become quilt kits.

    Lynn

  9. June 10, 2011 6:23 pm

    I never knew that about what classifies as vintage. It has been a question I have wondering about for a while though, so thanks for edjumacating us! ;)
    You really do have a lovely collection. I think selling quilt kits is a fantastic idea. Lots of people sell vintage FQs, but a vintage quilt kit would be really unique!
    *Note to self* Stop being lazy and go thrifting more often!

  10. June 12, 2011 7:47 pm

    So many inspiring posts I can’t decide which to comment on. I loved all the things she was able to shove in her pockets, what a cute dress and little girl. I can’t wait to be able to make dresses for my girl when she can actually walk around.
    AND… not 3 days ago I bought a king sized vintage flat sheet from DI that was pink striped and thought of you, and here I see you have the exact same print here in your stack!!! I’ve cut mine up a bit for a project, I can’t wait to see what you end up making with all your sheets!
    Jessica

  11. August 2, 2011 12:05 pm

    The sheets in the far right hand stack…From the bottom, sheet number 5 and sheet number 13…I think they are the same sheet…(it’s kind of like various colored gingham, mixed with green lattice ) Anyway I have that exact same set and it is from the late 70’s. I’ve kept it that long. So I know that one is vintage for sure. they just don’t make sheets as soft as that anymore. I can’t get rid of them either. :-)

  12. August 2, 2011 12:07 pm

    On closer inspection there may be two sheets where I thought there was one… so I think it’s sheet number 6 and 14 in the pile.

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