Monogram Madness

A recent request: would you blog about using linens with someone elses initials?

Write on a topic about which I am wildly passionate!? Well, sure!

Because we live in a time where nearly everything is mass produced (and comes from China) and is so cheap, it is pretty hard to imagine a time when almost everyone just barely scraped by and almost every resource was costly and precious. Girls started at a young age to make and store all of the goods that she would need to stock her future household for her entire lifetime. The quaint, cute term for this in English is the “hope chest.” Somehow, the elegant French word “trousseau” seems more descriptive.

Someone who was poor might manage to acquire only one sheet and one blanket to last an entire lifetime. Descriptions of the state of those tattered pieces after a lifetime of use remind me of what a modern toddler’s baby blanket looks like after just a few years of being dragged around!

Monograms served several purposes. First, the monogram marked the items in one’s “hope chest” as one’s own. It also served as an identifier in the laundry. (even families of modest means sent out their laundry: the washer women were even poorer.) Girls practiced their stitchery on their trousseau; this skill was necessary for all of the weaving, sewing and repairing they would go on to do to keep their families in clothing, bedding and toweling. In wealthier households, monograms added beauty and prestige… especially when items were embellished by a master embroiderer.

A middle class arose during the 1900s who wanted to imitate the upper classes who could afford some of the niceties. Those Victorians put monograms on everything!

more to come…

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One Response to “Monogram Madness”

  1. Joan Says:

    Colorful history. Notably, the old linen chests had a lock simply because the household linens were SO expensive, they were literally the largest asset of the house. We HAVE come a long way!

    I’m doing my part now, of course. Collecting vintage (used) linens and creating my inventory on a spreadsheet supported by digital photos. Ah, the photos give me the look of the linen, but not that wonderful FEEL, or “hand” as you stated.

    Keep posting! We are out here.

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