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Vintage Pillow Cases & Sofa Update

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When I went shopping earlier this week, I found an amazing pair of vintage pillow cases.  I’ve never seen any as long as these.  They’re probably a good 12-18″ longer than the pillow.  They were exactly what I’ve been keeping my eyes opened for.  My pillow, which is down, is always popping out of the case through the night.  I have tried at least eight different cases and they all did the same thing.  So, I was looking for one that was longer or one that had an envelope closure.  Jeff was having the same problem with his pillow because it’s a flat memory foam pillow, so he was using a flannel Snoopy pillowcase I had since I was a kid.  Of course, I always got a little twitchy when I made the bed and saw the Snoopy pillow peeking out from all of my pretty pillows.  But, the man’s gotta have a comfortable place to lay his head, so I just dealt with it.

After a couple of nights of success on my pillow, I tried it on Jeff’s as well, so we’ll see if he’s happy with it.  They look so pretty on the bed…

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Like the ends of Christening dresses hanging over the side.

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When I bought them, they were a little crunchy from starch, but I washed them and was surprised at how soft and comfy the vintage linen is.  I’ve always heard how comfortable linen that’s been washed hundreds of times is, but I have never tried sleeping on it.  Heavenly.

Oh, while I’m showing the bed, I wanted to share that the long-awaited tutorial for the ruched pillow shams is finally available on HGTV.com.

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I also wanted to give an update on the Pottery Barn Sofa.  First of all, we love it.  It’s comfortable, sturdy and has been wearing well in the few weeks we’ve had it.  I thought I would answer two FAQ’s.

1.) How do you get pillows to stand up on leather?  I’ve done some thinking about this and I think there are two keys to getting the pillows to stay put.  The first is the fabric on the pillow.  My pillow is made of a nubby hemp, so I think that grips better than chenille, velvet, silk, etc.  The second key, and I think this is the biggest factor, is what’s in the pillow form.  Poly-fil pillows are rigid and will hold their shape, so they are going to slip on the leather if someone breaths too hard on them.  Feather filled pillows can be reshaped again and again, so you can flatten out the bottom a bit to make them sit up.  I don’t have a problem at all with mine slipping flat.

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2.) Does the leather show scratches?  Yes, it does.  Even a fingernail will scratch the leather, but not in a bad way.  Of course, right away you can see it and it looks worthy of a freak-out, but then it fades away and blends in.  You just have to get over the initial scratch.  I haven’t gotten leather wipes, but I do think those will help with conditioning the leather where it’s scratched (and with keeping it clean as well.)

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With what I know about leather, I’m confident that the leather is only going to look better with age.

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Comments

  1. Carolyn says:

    The leather wipes are fantastic. I have a Pottery Barn leather chair, and I use the wipes about once a month on it. It looks so rich and beautiful afterwards, and all the scratches disappear!

  2. Angie says:

    Oh my. Where did you get the bed. Love, love, love!

  3. Michelle says:

    Just curious if you would share some of your favorite places to shop. I live in your area and I really haven’t found good places to find treasures like you have.

    Love the couch. I also use leather wipes on a few of my leather chairs and the scratches do disappear.

  4. We have some leather furniture and as the children have scratched and otherwise “damaged” it, it looks better and better! Shiny and new has never been my favorite, though.

  5. Teresa says:

    Marian,
    Your vintage pillowcases remind me of the vintage “Bolster” pillowcase I found many years ago at a antique market. It has a ruffled end similar to yours but mine is one long single pillowcase that is bed length in size which I found to be very unusual.
    Also, the leather wipes will really keep your new sofa looking bright and help cover the scratches.

  6. Marti says:

    Love the pillow cases! And leather wipes Do work very well. I had a dark chocolate sofa a few years ago which I loved! I also used a product I use on my Out Back leather coats and sadles called Duck Back. Conditions the leather beautifully without changing the color. Although I did test it first and a piece of the sample fabric that came with it. I have to admit I was nervous when you first showed a pic of the sofa, but you knew what you were doing, as you always do!! Just beautiful! Beautiful!

  7. Hi Marion, I lived in the USA for almost 4 years a brought back a lot of home wares (& shoes) – 30ft container NO furniture) – whilst I LOVE almost everything about the USA I found it really strange that pillowcases weren’t standard with an envelope closure like they are here in Australia. I didn’t like seeing the ends or having my pillows pop out and it was such an easy fix -’tis a cultural thing I guess.

    At the time there were not very many Duvet’s or Doona’s as we call them here – feather inserts inside an interchangeable fabric cover. All we could buy were the stitched coverlets/comforters. I did notice last time I visited that this was changing but I do hope the envelope enclosure takes off over there. SO much better!

  8. Stephanie Hobson says:

    Thanks for the leather sofa vs pillow update Marian. Looks like my problem is with the pillow form. I’ll look for some feather ones.

  9. Karen says:

    Marian, love everything about your bedroom and I envy that sofa.

    I like to keep a pillow or two on a wooden bench in my foyer and they.always slip, I think I will try a feather pillow, might have better luck, thanks for the tip.

  10. Cathy says:

    I love your bed! Do you mind sharing where it is from?

  11. Have you tried using a queen or king size pillowcase? They are longer than standard pillowcases

    • that’s funny, I was thinking the same thing! I have done that many times, it is an easy fix!

  12. The leather is beautiful. A product called leather CPR is fabulous! I tried it because the word was it is what is used in the White House on leather.
    I purchased a custom leather desk chair at a garage sale,the chair was scratched beyond words! The seller said the cat liked to scratch it. For 10.00 I took a chance,and had an idea. I mixed some saddle soap with ashes from the fireplace (cold ones) the color worked into the scratches and they were essentially gone! The chair is fabulous!

  13. The pillowcases look simply beautiful on the bed! The leather couch marks just adds to the “well loved “look ! It adds to the decor in the rest of the room. Simply beautiful!

  14. I have been looking for some pillow cases just like these. I can never find the longer ones so my standard pillow cases expose half my pillow! lol :)
    Also their is a distressed leather conditioner by king ranch (www.kingranchsaddleshop.com) that I use on my sofa. It is by far the best leather conditioner I have ever used. It actually smells like real leather so every time you condition your sofa it will be like the first day you got it. The smell never goes away!!! Awesome product!

  15. Teresa says:

    A few weeks ago I took my husband to the furniture store for him to help me with leather color for the un-reclinery-recliners I was going to order. Alas! He HATED my choice and walked directly to the Ugly Recliner section. I was duly horrified but busied myself with choice number two. Then he comes over and drags me over to the Ugly Recliner Dark Side and has me sit in an UR. I felt like Goldylocks. It was THE most comfy chair I’d ever sat in. I’m sad to say, comfy enough that I abandoned my plans for a chic family room. 2 URs have been ordered. In leather. Oh well, I will enjoy your chic living room over the internet sitting in my Goldylocks UR. I may need for you to send me additional pictures once in a while.

  16. I have a leather sofa and chair in my family room. I also have three dogs who are on them all the time. My furniture looks as good as the day I bought it. The key is to buy leather that has been dyed all the way through the fabric, not just on the top layer. That way when you get a scratch it doesn’t show.

    Thanks for the tip on the pillows. I thought it was my dogs knocking them off all the time.

    • Eliza says:

      Yep, leather that’s dyed all the way through is key. The scratches will just blend in without any extra work!

  17. Debbie Brown says:

    I have had 2 leather chairs for 2 years in the same color leather as your sofa and the scratches just add great patina to the leather! I think it looks better with age.

  18. Alice R. says:

    I love long pillowcases! Since I have standard or queen pillows, I only buy (or make) kingsized pillowcases. I think the drape is beautiful.
    Thank you for the update on the sofa. I’ve wondered about leather over the years so you are helping me a great deal with the reviews.

  19. Pam Grieco says:

    Love the pillowcases – they are very pretty!

    Wanted to lend a tip I’ve used for my husbands pillowcases, he has the same problem.
    I split the seams, fold the case so the opening in now in the back and re-stitch.
    Voila! No more lost pillow cases.

  20. Yeah, i agree… the scratches and smudges are just going to make the leather more and more soft and yummy over time.. still lovin those pillow cases too. I’m dying to try out linen on the bed…

    Cindy

  21. Your pillowcases are bolster pillowcases…..years ago it was thought to be healthier to sleep upright and longer pillows were placed behind the person to bolster them in a sitting position as they slept. (Beds were also slightly shorter for this reason, not because people were much smaller .) With mattress tickings often filled with straw, persons sleeping in the bed often had breathing problems that we now term allergies or asthma. Statistically 1 in 8 people die in their sleep from all types of reasons and this also supported the myth that sleeping upright was better for your health and well being.

  22. I adore sleeping on vintage linens! They are so soft and have no balling and always feel cool to touch which is important in our warm climate. I think the best ones are from before synthetic fabrics became so popular. I still have some from my mid-century childhood but they are too small for our bed. But we just found larger sizes in my mothers-in-law’s linen closet :)

  23. I love your room..the pillows too…I really love the end tables..did you paint them and free hand decorate them or use a stencil…my favorite colors…

  24. As someone who initially was not impressed by leather couches, that is all I have now. I have dogs and leather is the only thing that works. No hair! It wipes clean from dogs, kids, grandkids etc. Plus the scratches only serve to age it and it always looks wonderful. I agree though, you have to accept and “get over” the first scratches…lol…that’s the mountain to get over. :)

  25. Pompey says:

    I have been reading and enjoying all your wonderful information about decorating and your family for some time but this is the first time I have sent a message.
    I grew up in England and every bed my family had also had “Bolster” pillows. The mattresses were all feather and every day when we made the beds we would get the corners and shake like crazy to fluff it up. The Bolster went all across the top of the bed. Some of the Bolster pillow cases my gran bought or made herself were plain white cotton cases and we would embroider the ends that would show to make them look pretty. Enjoy your “Bolster pillow cases” they look charming and bought back memories for me.

  26. sandi says:

    As someone said earlier, the trick to pillow tails is to simply use king size pillowcases for your standard pillows. Love the look.
    Now if you already have king size pillows you can always sew a lace or fabric tail to the ks pillowcase.
    Will have to find me some linen cases – or make them. A linen coverlet would be yummy, too.

  27. Those pillow cases look beautiful, Marian.
    Hope they will work for a memory foam pillow as well.

  28. Cindy jones says:

    The pillow cases are ab.so.lute.ly gorgeous.

  29. Kimberly says:

    I use weightier down inserts so my pillows stay in place on my leather sofas and leather wipes are my best friend!

  30. Great post. :) Those vintage pillowcases are so dreamy and pretty! When you said they looked like christening gowns that’s exactly what I had thought–delicate flowing gowns. :) Also…thanks to you I will never go back to synthetic fill pillows for my sofas. I looove the feel of down pillows and how you can “poof” them whenever they start to look lumpy. I have leather chairs and never have had a problem with the pillows sliding- yay! At first I thought that I wouldn’t like them because sometimes the feathers can “escape” and end up here and there…but so far so good. :)

    Hugs,
    Gail

  31. Marian,
    I know the vintage linens are really beautiful,
    but if you ever want new sheets that are truly
    wonderful that also have fitted sheets that
    fit an average sized mattress (not 20″ deep)
    and that have envelope pillow cases then you
    should try “Peacock Alley”. They are very, very
    nice and a bit pricey but I love them!
    Also, “Tuesday Morning” has them at a hugely
    reduced price which is how I was introduced to
    them. Since that time I admit to splurging on
    monogrammed pillowcases. LOL!
    I just thought you might want to check them out
    sometime!
    I’m actually a metal smith who makes jewelry,
    but I enjoy you postings and every once in a while
    I venture into furniture painting.
    God bless!
    Gloria

  32. That is so weird. I have had my leather sofas for around three years now and I have never had a problem with either synthetic or duckdown cushions ‘sliding off’. Though now that I think of it, my mum has leather sofas too and here cushions do seem to slip. I have high-grade natural leather which is somewhat textural and sticky whereas she has partially manufactured leather which is shiny and smooth. Perhaps that’s the issue?
    I have to echo Amanda’s sentiment about the standard envelope closure on bed pillowcases. All of the pillowcases here in Australia have a simple and discreet envelope closure which keeps the pillow hidden and in place. I’m really surprised they don’t have this in the US. Let me know if you’d like me to send you some to try :-)
    Oh, also, my daughter actually likes to ‘draw’ on our leather sofas with her fingernail (or a sharp biscuit edge! – when I’m not looking of course), and my dog’s paws make infinite scratches. A simple wipe with leather balm and they virtually disappear though you do need to embrace these imperfections as unique character.
    Kristine
    xoxo

  33. Sandra says:

    The scratches on leather are not my problem….my problem is where head and hands rest, oils seep into the leather….it looks discolored….what do you do about that? It makes me hate my two leather chairs…..

  34. amy brown says:

    I cannot recommend Meguairs Leather cleaning and conditioner highly enough. I use it in my car for our leather seats and on our leather sofas and recliner. It works wonders!!! I do love that scratched look though. One of the coolest things I have ever seen is the sofa in the Anthropologie store in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a leather sofa that is in the changing room area. It has been scratched all over with graffiti from its many visitors and looks cool as all get out, like they did that on purpose. Definitely a very hip, game room, kind of feel.

  35. amy brown says:

    Should be Meguiars. Sorry for misspelling above. :)

  36. Until I find extra long ones like your beauties, I’ll just keep putting two cases on each pillow ( on opposite ends ) this has solved that problem for now…

  37. Nancy Blunck says:

    I had Leather couch and chairs for 20 years and recently sold them to my boss for our company lounge. We bought them in Belguim and they were very high grade dark brown leather. I only used mink oil and saddle soap on them. The small scratches and darkening will add character. Ours lived thru 3 children and 3 grandchildren beautifully! I wouldn’t have anything else with children. I have to mention if you spill anything liquid containing sugar make sure you clean it immediately and once it is dry keep oiling the spot with you preferred oil or the leather will decay and crack. Enjoy!

  38. Letting the Big Guy have his Snoopy pillowcase even though Peanuts was not the motif chosen for the bedroom….now that is love!

  39. Hi! Thanks for the lowdown on the leather wipes. Ive never tried them but one of my couches are looking beyond worn in….used, dogs,boys..etc. I will have to look for the wipes and try them out. Regarding the pillows…yes, down pillows are the key..especially when you give it a good karate chop on the top/center of pillow. :)

  40. Where did you find those lamps??? Love!!!

  41. jenny says:

    Any chance you have the link to your feature wall in your bedroom. :) been looking in past posts can not seem to find it :)

  42. My mom got me using Murphy’s Oil Soap on my leather furniture. It cleans it really well, makes it supple and buttery and I think it brings out the age in a good way!

  43. Vickie says:

    Where can I get that gorgeous wallpaper!?

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