French laundry day

by Sharon Santoni

When I have large quantities of sheets and linens to wash and dry, I always think of what it must have been like for the women who first cared for these fabrics without the help of washing machines.

I wash all our old linens in the machine then simply hang them out to dry behind the barn.  100 years ago the women  would have been down on their knees at the village lavoir, before carrying the heavy sheets out to dry flat on the grass in a meadow.   Today these lavoirs or wash houses are carefully preserved, but thank goodness nobody needs to take their laundry any more!
I actually quite enjoy caring for the linens, they smell good after blowing dry in the garden and of course they look so beautiful once freshly pressed.  Time I am happy to invest!  Right now I am preparing new sheets for the store.
Tomorrow I start my new series about my stylish French girlfriends!  Don’t miss the first episode, how they dress; where they live, how do they cook and of course why they look so great!
A demain![blank]


Tanya @ Lovely Greens October 12, 2011 - 1:26 pm

My goodness…imagine if we still had to wash things by hand these days. I imagine there would be no time for anything fun!

Kaye September 11, 2014 - 6:48 am

I think most things were boiled in soapy water….this cleaned them …the hardest part was getting them from the copper to the rinsing tub without being splashed with boiling soapy water….a knack women learned vey quickly….then rinsing …then blue rinsing …wringing and finally on the line.
I think the ironing would have been worse.

MITICA ILLUSTRATIONS October 12, 2011 - 1:27 pm

Ooh goodQ! love that inspiration! Lovely!!

Donna October 12, 2011 - 1:36 pm

Line dried sheets is high up on "my favorite things list" Nothing lulls me to sleep faster!
I too enjoy the process and hang my linens on the line well into the Autumn.
Your gowns look wonderful too!

Luciane at October 12, 2011 - 2:19 pm

Sweet memories… doesn't it make you go back to the past and think of a better time?
Beautiful post!

I hope everything is great with you.


Luciane at

cityfarmer October 12, 2011 - 2:40 pm

I JUST found french grain sac with the initials D & J in red stitching

my husbands and my initials … what are the odds?

Darlene (Dee or Gram-D) October 12, 2011 - 2:47 pm…so much work!…but so beautiful. My mother still loves to hang her sheets out on the line!

Teagarden October 12, 2011 - 3:33 pm

What a pretty post! Thanks for it!

I Dream Of October 12, 2011 - 3:53 pm

My laundry day never looks so pretty. Although I do love preparing for a dinner party by ironing my linen napkins. Looking forward to your stylish French girlfriend series!

Diana October 12, 2011 - 4:02 pm

Beautiful post!

hopflower October 12, 2011 - 4:14 pm

I, too, love laundry.

Clare Christine October 12, 2011 - 4:32 pm

Such a lovely post! I love the smell and feel of laundry that can dry outside, so fresh! The linens that you photographed are beautiful too. My mom has several linen napkins and tablecloths from her grandmother. It is nice to keep all of the little treasures, they are terrific!! Have a wonderful Wednesday and be sure to check my blog, I gave it a little face-lift xoxo

Lori E October 12, 2011 - 5:01 pm

I think we can all remember that lovely smell. My husband was mortified years ago when I wanted him to put in a clothesline in our back yard. Silly man.

Mouse October 12, 2011 - 6:55 pm

I remember my mother dragging an old twin tub to the sink, filling it with a hose and then feeding the washing through a mangle
and it took forever to dry

Lorrie October 12, 2011 - 8:48 pm

What a beautiful sight those linens are, swaying in the breeze.

Jean October 12, 2011 - 9:43 pm

Those linens! I love fabric but especially linen. Your pictures are fabulous. Makes me want to put up a clothes line and wash some white clothes.

My Little Home and Garden October 13, 2011 - 1:05 am

There is something wonderful about fresh sheets on the bed that have been dried on the line and scented by the outdoors. Just one of life's little pleasures when settling in for the night.

Lavinia October 13, 2011 - 1:52 am

What a great blog you have! Wonderful pictures! Love this Laundry Post! I have just returned from a visit to Carcassonne & wanted to bring lots of linen home, alas 20kg bagged allowance was used up on Vintage lace & paper this trip! Maybe next time!

Anonymous October 13, 2011 - 1:57 am

What type of iron do you use? Mine never get out all the wrinkles. I hate that my old linens looking slightly rumpled after I've ironed them.

T.@WhatWeKeep October 13, 2011 - 2:09 am

Hi Sharon,
I'm very new to your blog, but I find it amazing. It takes me back in time to a simpler life. I collect vintage linens so I was thrilled to find you. I will certainly enjoy what you share here.

I've awarded you with a Versatile Blogger Award!
Please stop by and take a look, won't you?



Simply Me October 13, 2011 - 2:15 am

Love IT!!! Very peaecful looking!!

Ivy Clad October 13, 2011 - 3:10 am

Ooh.. I can't wait to hear about your French girlfriends. I'm always so curious about how other people live.

And I would love to have a pooch like the one in the first picture who wouldn't grab hold & run away with all the laundry he could!

Charming post!


aBroad October 13, 2011 - 3:42 am

It's not the washing and drying but the ironing !
It looks charming though 🙂

Styling by Coty Farquhar.. Australia October 13, 2011 - 7:56 am

My goodness!! we are so alike Sharon!
I have a very similar shot of my linen on my country line for my 'one-day' book. Great Minds!!

Thanks for dropping over to my blog this afternoon and yes, I'm sure it is Heather, it's from my Mother's garden, now I will have to look it up and see, I just loved, picked it.

And Sharon… you are welcome on my team any day, this life or the next…… it's me, myself and I.
I wish I had a team!!
Sending warm wishes and big hugs from Oz.
xxx Coty

Atelier BE October 13, 2011 - 11:25 pm

Lovely post, lovely photos!

JamesOneil April 17, 2023 - 11:10 am

I love the most first kitchen. which is really bang on arvest bank near me now
The dining chair is really impressive.


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