If, like me, you have been searching for something specific for your house for AGES and either you can’t get the colours you want, or the price of a genuine period piece would pay one of your utility bills…………..there are options.
You all know how much I love my antique textiles but the perfect original, French, affordable, antique piqué “quilted” cushion covers , or some authentic matelassé fabric to make some up are proving elusive. So, I have bought some new ones and set about losing their crisp, new , whiteness and slightly naff germolene pink shades and creating something softer to set next to my really old pieces.
Here is my “secret” technique for aging new cotton or linen fabrics. Don’t try it on anything else, it won’t work!
For small pieces (if you want to try eight foot long portière curtains in the bath , go ahead, but they will weigh a ton) put 3-4 inches of hot water in your sink and dissolve two tea bags and four heaped teaspoonfuls of instant coffee thoroughly.
Put in your fabric, swirl it around and immerse fully, even if that means loading it down with something weighty. Leave for an hour NO MORE or any stitching will stain darker than the rest and look odd.
Don’t rinse, just take out and put straight into washing machine into which you have already sprinkled a large handful of salt. wash on the shortest,coldest cycle. Dry naturally. Done.
The salt will fix the tint and make your piece washable and therefore more practical than something antique and irreplaceable. see below left- “before and right- “after”