Cool Upcycling Ideas for Vintage Linens

Cool Upcycling Ideas for Vintage Linens

There’s more to vintage linens than their standard, original use. Creative folks have found unique, cool upcycling ideas for vintage linens to be repurposed into some usable and amazing fashion and homewares pieces. What is it about vintage linens that’s so enticing and enchanting to these creative folk?

The quality of the fabric, patterns and the connection to history are the biggest attraction for inspirational upcycling designs .

The fabric quality is incomparable to today’s commercially manufactured linens. The use of pure processing materials, the durability of the material and the feeling of a well loved piece of vintage linen surpasses today’s quality.

People also love the patterns of the fabric. This could be reminiscent of a certain era, such as the colour and style of the pattern that really defines the period. The colours are so different to today, so they provide a snapshot of the times.

Connecting the linens to a social story helps to join the past to the present. Often these kind of stories start with “This was my Mum’s favourite…” or “This was my parents’ wedding present they kept for good, but never used”. Connecting people and places with the vintage linen potentially sets the mood of the newly upcycled piece.

The designs, the hand sewn embroidery, the history of time, the smell, character and memories makes these retro linens so enticing.

Blankets, linens, doilies, tea towels and blankets can all be re-purposed or upcycled. I’ve found and collated an amazing number of Australian creatives who make unique one of a kind fashion pieces and homewares from vintage linens. Read on to see what kind of items these creative folk make from vintage tea towels, blankets & jumpers, bedsheets & fabric and doilies. All are available for sale through Etsy Australia.

I receive a commission from affiliate partners for any purchases from this link.

Jessica Wolf Art Design

Jessica Wolf Art Design is based in Newcastle NSW and loves quirky colour schemes, texture and pattern, and has an eye for detail. Jessica makes one of a kind vintage and retro inspired handmade fashion and accessories and particularly loves upcycling with vintage teatowels and vintage fabrics, creating unique wearable works of art.

Magnificent broad brimmed sunhats, newsboy hats and a selection of crossbody bags are Jessica’s most popular selling items that are primarily made from vintage tea towels. Click here for more details and items from Jessica Wolf Art Design.

Tootsie Handmade

Tootsie Handmade is based in Semaphore SA and loves the idea of recycling and upcycling so that items get a second or third chance at life. Karen’s creative focus is to use vintage and reclaimed fabrics predominantly from the 60’s and 70’s, as well as vintage blankets, tea towels, doilies and buttons to create one-of-a-kind accessories and homewares.

Karen’s largest range of upcycled items are her unique cushion covers which are made from upcycled vintage tea towels. The very practical and one of a kind clutches, purses and bags are made from a combination of vintage tea towels and retro fabric or bedsheets. Click here for more amazing products and pricing from Tootsie Handmade.

Squeaky Squirrel

Melanie is the creator behind Squeaky Squirrel, based in Sydney NSW. Melanie makes unique and lovable soft toys using vintage tea towels. They are the ideal Australiana souvenir gift for adults and children. Click here to view Squeaky Squirrel’s one of a kind creations.

Keep-Oh Australia

When you love your vintage tea towel more as a decorative piece rather than a practical or upcycled project, then Keep-Oh Australia has the perfect solution for you.

Primarily made from Tasmanian Oak, Keep-Oh’s magnetic tea towel simple framing systems let you display and interchange your favourite vintage retro tea towels! Lovingly handmade in Murwillumbah NSW. Click here for details, pricing and availability from Keep-Oh Australia.


Theresia from PolkaDotBlueDesign is based in Perth WA and creates handmade nordic scandinavian gnomes from old jumpers.

Theresia was amazed by the excess amount and quality of clothes found in second hand shops. Seeing mountains of jumpers, Theresia decided to turn them into adorable little Gnomes. Being able to recycle, upcycle and reuse is PolkaDotBlueDesign‘s philosophy on reducing the impact on the environment. Click here for more details, pricing and the range of a cute little Christmas gnomes from PolkaDotBlueDesign. 

One Little Caterpillar

Stephanie is the creative person behind the Etsy shop One Little Caterpillar. Specialising in making animal buddies from vintage woollen blankets, Stephanie also creates cozy baby sleeping bags. Click here to see pricing and products from One Little Caterpillar.

Made by Flick

Felicity is the creative behind Made by Flick, based in Ulverstone TAS. After reading articles about how the fashion industry is the most polluting industry, Felicity wondered what she could do to lessen her impact. Felicity turned to re-purposing vintage table cloths, tea towels and sheets to create sustainable fashion and modern accessories.

Made by Flick creates hot water bottle covers from woollen blankets. A toastie hot water bottle made even toastier with the woollen blanket coverClick here for more products and pricing from Made by Flick.

Second Love Design

Michele from Second Love Design is based in Brisbane QLD and upcycles vintage fabrics, bedsheets and pillowcases into boho style reusable tote bags. Michele is constantly updating her products to keep up with the demand of the loveliness and practicality of her bags. Click here for more information on Michele’s bags from Second Love Design.

Two Bettys Handmade

Sharyn from Two Bettys Handmade is based in Adelaide SA and loves making one off or limited creations using vintage linens and fabrics. Sharyn uses her love of sewing to focus on the sustainability of reusing and repurposing gorgeous vintage fabrics into unique creations for your home or little one.

Two Bettys Handmade specialises in creating young girls pinafores using a range of vintage patterns and colours. Click here for more products and pricing from Two Bettys Handmade.

Tassie Dazzle

Toni from Tassie Dazzle is based in Launceston TAS and has been designing and creating unique, colourful and fun jewellery that makes you smile. Tassie Dazzle uses sustainably sourced Tasmanian timbers and other mediums including free-trade felt, upcycled vintage crochet, lace, embroidery and fabric.

Tassie Dazzle has a huge range of funky wooden and vintage fabric earrings, necklaces and stunning colourful hoop art to decorate your home in vintage style. Click here for pricing and a range of upcycled and fair trade products from Tassie Dazzle.

Made by Flick

Felicity is the creative behind Made by Flick, based in Ulverstone TAS. After reading articles about how the fashion industry is the most polluting industry, Felicity wondered what she could do to lessen her impact. Felicity turned to re-purposing vintage table cloths, tea towels and sheets to create sustainable fashion and modern accessories.

Made by Flick specialises in creating essential oil bags, bow clutches, wallets and reading glasses cases from upcycled sheets and fabric. Click here for more products and pricing from Made by Flick.

Domum Vindemia

Based in Melbourne VIC, Domum Vindemia is a home and lifestyle label born of owner Deobrah’s love for upcycling vintage pretties. Domum Vindemia means “vintage home” in Latin. Deborah adores vintage anything, especially crockery, furniture fabrics (including doilies) and notions. Which is why Deborah prefers to rescue them from landfill to create something new.

Domum Vindemia creates a range of products with doiles – decorative bunting garlands, Christmas stockings decorated with doilies and aprons with vintage doily pockets. Click here to view these creative handmade products and pricing from Domum Vindemia.

What are your favourite vintage linens – bedsheets, tea towels, tablecloths, blankets or napkins? If you feel inspired to create your own upcycled goodies with vintage linens, here are a couple of inspirational books to get you started:

Fun with Fabric by Jane Foster

Jane Foster’s work is strongly influenced by Scandinavian and British design from the 1950s and 60s. Fun with Fabric presents 15 simple projects, using fabulous fabrics from her own collection. Jane shows you how to sew and stick to create bold, colourful accessories for your home.

Tips for Vintage Style by Cath Kidston

Cath’s practical and inspirational advice will show you the best ways to use up leftover wallpaper and fabric and learn how to create a vintage home that will be the envy of all your friends.

Kirstie’s Vintage Home by Kirstie Allsop

Looking to the past for inspiration and embracing vintage style to create something unique and beautiful, Kirstie continues her love affair with everything handmade. Re-using, restoring and upcycling, Kirstie shows how to transform vintage fabrics, furniture and other everyday things into modern day treasures using a range of crafting skills and techniques. The book is packed with practical techniques that can be adapted to suit your own objects and furniture.

Homemade Gifts Vintage Style by Sarah Moore

Homemade Gifts Vintage Style inspires you to make or customise your own vintage wares and present them as gifts. Rather than throwing out worn jumpers and blankets, give them a new lease of life by turning them into cute animals. Instead of ditching cushions that have seen better days, why not transform them into something unique with colourful and eclectic vintage fabrics. Sarah Moore shows you how with step-by-step photographs accompanied by simple instructions. Projects can be sewn by hand or accomplished with one simple stitch on a sewing machine so are suitable for all abilities.

The Apron Book: Making, Wearing and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort by EllenAnne Geisel

The Apron Book is an infectiously enthusiastic guide to aprons, old and new. Vintage aprons help us remember home and family the way they used to be, while bright and sassy contemporary aprons confirm that nesting is all the rage. The Apron Book provides full-colour photos of new and vintage aprons from the author’s collection, patterns for four basic apron styles and myriad variations, recipes, tips on collecting and preserving vintage aprons, and heart-tugging family stories about grandmothers who wore them.

Where can you buy your vintage linens? Check out my Australian online shop,  French for Tuesday for vintage linens, your local opshop or if in Perth visit one of the Hills Fabric and Craft Destash events.

Decorating with vintage accessories has been a popular trend for a while, and becomes even more popular as people realise that vintage style doesn’t have to mean old and antiquated. Finding creative and cool upcycling ideas for vintage linens are lovingly essential for decorating your home or yourself in vintage style.

I receive a commission from affiliate partners for any purchases from some links in this post.

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