Our Linen Ship has come in! Literally. Shopping for gorgeous, antique linens is one of my favorite thing to do. {okay, I admit, almost all antiques are my favorite!}


But linens? They are way up there on my list. I can’t wait to shop in Parma, Italy in late September, because I’m anticipating finding the most glorious hand made laces and linens there.

And I know that so many of you are right there with me in loving antique textiles and linens. Once they arrive in the shop, they fly out to make their mark in your home.

Like you, I am over the moon excited about using monograms in my home decor, and on our beds and tables.

Antique monograms have a story, they have quality, personality, and bring instant “cachet” to your home.

The art of combining two or more letters together into one beautiful symbol or monogram is centuries old.

Once only royalty or nobility could afford linens adorned with their own initials.  Household linens were painstakingly embroidered with white satin stitches called “bourdon” with great finesse, each piece finely executed by hand. Could you imagine having each pillow case you own look like the ones above? le sigh.

Exceptional Society Silk Towel.

These days, most collectors happily collect beautiful antique monogrammed linens for their artistic beauty, and don’t mind whose initials are emblazoned on them. Antique one-of-a-kind pieces with monograms have storied pasts, they are a amusing way to express your own personal style at home.

We’re so used to referring to sheets, tablecloths, and napkins as linens that we mostly forget the word actually refers to a fiber: the Flax Plant.

French Linen Sheet

Historically, Linen and Flax were used in the fine linens of France, Belgium and other European Countries, cherished by generations for their “hand”, {how the fabric feels} their sturdiness, and their unbeatable quality and fine attention to detail.

These linens not only have the purest linen, flax and at times cotton woven into their fabrics, they have had months of dedicated hand work lavished on them. Women long ago spent a vast amount of hours sewing, hemming and embellishing these textiles with gorgeous hand embroidery monograms.


Brought into being with great love, using antique monogrammed linens is one of the best ways to express your personal style at home, they bridge the past and the future.

Esteemed for their beauty and function, the joys of collecting antique linens with monograms are many, there is a certain romance to weaving your own stories into their provenance.

Truly exceptional antique monogrammed linens are getting more difficult to come by. As the old chateaus and family homes are being sold, less and less heirloom quality linens are coming on the market.

Collect antique monogrammed linens and buy the best you can find.


Use them everywhere at home,  these old treasures were meant to be seen, and pull on your heartstrings. This tablecloth and napkin set is so rare to find! I wish I could invent a touch screen for this blog so that you could feel the textures. I’ve never seen a heavy weight damask cloth woven right into the damask before. And it’s beautifully monogrammed.

It’s great fun to mix and match your linens, using antique shams with different monograms together with a contemporary duvet on your bed, or a different napkin at each place setting.

There are no rules to follow, if you love antique linens, use them every way you can think of!

Don’t forget to leave a comment and be entered to win the give-away for the special issue of One Layer Cakes!

Please enter as often as you like, each time you leave a comment on any FrenchGardenHouse post and visit BakefromScratch counts as 1 entry. Pins, shares etc. counts as more entries, just let me know that you did that, I trust you!


  1. Lovey post. I do have some family pieces that I enjoy using. But I would love any of your linens, they are all beautiful.

  2. Dottie Dickman

    Enjoyed your comments about monogrammed linens. They were all so pretty. Buying some with initials, not your own, would make fun dinner party conversations. Try putting a name to the initials and then trying to decide who used them, and where they were from, and what they did for a living.

    The cakes look yummie, with a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning, or any day.

    1. I LOVE your conversation starter idea around the dinner table! It’s what I always tend to do- try to figure out who owned the linens
      and what they were like – much to the “you are crazy Mom” looks from my children.

      Hope you have a beautiful weekend, Dottie!

  3. Charlotte

    If it sits still, monogram it! Love the look of your beautiful antique monogrammed linens.

    1. Exactly Charlotte! I love the new monograms, but oh, those hand embroidered antique ones surely capture my heart every time.

  4. What exquisite monograms!! And the linens are beautiful. I wish you were here to tell me what I have – handed down from my grandmother and great aunt. I have the feeling that they’re worth a lot but there’s no one around here that I know of to ask. I’m afraid that my inherited linens haven’t been taken care of like they should have …

  5. Susan Duniin

    Thank you for your exquisite post on antique linens–you warmed my heart. Nearly 20 years ago, I started collecting fine linens, inspired by childhood reminisces of my late great grandmother and grandmother from Lombardy, Italy who I watched, while sittings at their feet playing with the bobbins, execute trappunto quliting, lacemaking, exquisite cut-work and embroidery not only for our local parish altar clothes and priests’ vestments, but also for our family’s household linens–sometimes made from humble flour sacks–such as towels, pillow cases etc. After 50 years of marriage, I still treasure and use the pillow cases my grandmother embroidered for me as a wedding gift These stimulate not only tender memories, but also sweet dreams.

    Today, I collect Italian and Madiera embroidery, especialy fine linen handkerchiefs from the ’30 and ’40. These I gift to friends and brides—and especially to my granddaughters , who delight me by referring to their vintage hankies as “Gigi’s fancy Kleenex.” All that said–the best part is friends and family use and appreciate these treasures from the past.

  6. Jean Van

    Hi, Lidy,
    just so pretty, all the linen’s, I have some small ones that are so pretty and I hang them in my bathroom on a fancy holder, they look beautiful, also I cover one that has flowers all over it from England and I lay across my toaster, the toast taste even better, lol, have a good weekend and thanks for sharing.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  7. Jean Van

    Hi, Again, I also have one I lay across my pillow’s at the top of the bed and the satin show’s through the tiny hole’s so there is always a good use for they and they are a keepsake~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  8. Patricia M Navarro

    The linens are beautiful! It would be nice to have some.

    The cakes look sooooo good.

    Love You site.

  9. Hi Lidy! Beautiful post and I learned a lot. I love collecting “everyday linens” but would swoon if I came across some of the pretty ones in your post. I’ve just subscribed to your blog and am looking forward to seeing your name in my inbox. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. Hugs from Colorado, Pat

  10. Denise

    have your cake and eat it too. You did hit the mother load, I am also always looking for linens be it luncheon, dinning room table, knapkins or crochet items. I have a tall dresser and a bedroom closet designated just for that purpose. Love, love, love, your post such beautiful pictures. Please enter me into the drawing.

  11. Gloria

    Lidy, I am even more interested in the Antique Linen Napkins Monogram Cherubs Golden Yellow. Do you know what country they are from? I may have to buy them even if the, as you indicated above, the monogram is not mine but was created using many man hours.

  12. Gloria

    the more I see your linens the more I realized how many I actually have. They are part of my normal day in decorating my house and using them for Tea’s I give for friends birthday. Love your blog.

  13. Gloria

    I just purchased the Monogram Cherubs Golden Yellow Linen Napkins. I hope the Vintage Madeira Hand Embroidered Organdy Linen Tea Cloth Napkin Set will be available for a future purchase.

  14. Oooh Lidy!

    This post really tugs at my heartstrings! I love monogrammed linens an have just a few in my collection in storage. I’ve looked at a few thriftstores out here in Texas but have yet to find any jewels… I pinned four or five or your photographs above long before I found out about your cake book giveaway… Just lovely!

    I have been in a mood for cakes recently and this booklet would be wonderful to win! Thank you for an entry or two. Will G+ and post over to my FB French Ethereal page so others can stop by to enter.

    Barb 🙂

  15. Hi Lidy,

    They are all so pretty. You make me want to hit the antique stores, maybe later today. My family is thinking of taking a trip to Italy next year for my brother’s 50th birthday. We all went to Florence several years ago and it was a trip of a lifetime. We may even go back to the villa we stayed at and visit other towns. Parma is one that we have discussed. If we do I now know something great to look for, so thanks for that golden nugget of info.

  16. Beautiful collections.I love linen too. When I went to Tuscany there was so much to choose from and bought some colorful ones. I go back for just the linens.

  17. Lidy, you are speaking to my weakness. I grew up with a grandma who hand embroidered all our pillowcases, sheets, tablecloths…you name it. Your collection is absolutely beautiful and you’ve just stoked my passion.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Hugs, Lynn

  18. I absolutely love monogram linens! Aside from the just beautiful linens, I am incredibly impressed by the handwork that was done years ago.

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