Friday, September 21, 2012

How to make a French Bed

People are often complaining how it's just too bad that the antique French linen sheets are too small to make a 21st century bed properly.

It's possible though. I'll show you in this picture 'how to', how I've done mine!

Every bed is different and has it's own challenge. My bed starts with being 1m80 x 2m00 (70.8" x 78.7") with a matress of 1m60 x 2m00 (63" x 78.7") and open.

So first thing I did, was planting my scissors into an antique linen sheet. Brenda forced me to say that it was a 'project sheet'. So I'll just say that to make her happy... 
There are lots of sheets that have so many tears and wears that it's just no longer possible to use them other than for projects and they are cheaper than perfect antique sheets. I turned one of those sheets into a custom bedskirt...


I didn't particularly liked the ceiling above the bed, therefore I put up curtains there. Nothing fancy. Simple cotton Ikea curtains that had been lying in my studio for several years. It's for covering up, anchor the bed into the space and adding a little more romance. And I sew some pillows for the head of the bed.

I covered the matress with a 'modern' white fitted sheet. Then I took a simple antique 'fil de lin' sheet without monogram. Fil de lin is the finer linen, not the extreme thick heavy weight one. I like the way that feels on my skin better than the other one. Might be a personal thing, but it feels more luxurious. This sheet I put across the bed ("length to width" so to speak). Just to get some drape on the side and cover up the hole in between my matrass and bed...

Of course now I've got way too much drape, for I made the bedskirt on the side of the bed as well...

I simply folded it back on both sides of the bed to show off my bedskirt.

Time to get the duvets on the bed. I've got two single person duvets in that wonderful duvet blue color. Way too nice color to hide in a duvet cover. So I fold them double and put them on top of the sheet.

And here it comes. The crème de la crème. The diamond amongst the Linen Bedsheets. A 19th century bedsheet that has been made on a 1m05 (41") loom, so it's only 2m (82") width (they are always two panels). With a wonderful hand embroidered, centered monogram. The really heavy weight linen sheet. All handmade. Indistructable. The sheet that is a slight bit more expensive, but is the centerpiece of a bed. The eyecatcher. The cream on the coffee. Or something like that.

I've put this wonderful sheet over the duvets and folded it back to the middle of the bed. I really want the monogram to stand out and not get lost by attention drawing pillowcases and such.

Now I'm in the luxurious position of owning a 2m x 2m (82" x 82") vintage French cotton white blanket that I topped over the sheet. But depending on the climate, an extra layer might not be necessary in every area.

And of course... A French bed cannot... I repeat... CANNOT go without a "traversin", a bolster. That is a basic French bed essential. They are still to be found everywhere. It's a common pillow. And isn't it romantic to use one pillow with your loved one?

Mine is fit into an antique simple crochet trimming decorated linen cover.

Then throw in some pillows. I don't like to take too much attention away from my monogram centerpiece, so I'm always going easy on the pillows. There's just one rule...
It is NOT allowed to use two of the same pillowcases. It's an antique French bed. That has been made with all unique (handmade) items. Having two of the same pillowcases just doesn't fit into that picture. 

To finish the bed off, I like to hang some beautiful panels on the bed. Either for their nice trimmings or for their extravagently beautiful monogram. Or just a 'simple' antique hand laced fichu.

Et voila. All done. Simple. Chic. Crispy clean. Inviting. My bed is made. 

It took me: 

- One thicker antique linen project sheet (not the extreme heavy weight one)
- One simple, non monogramed antique Fil de Lin Sheet (the fine linen)
- One terrific, wonderful, beautiful, antique top center monogramed heavy weight linen sheet

And a couple of hours to get the bedskirt and bedhead pillows done.

Next on my to do list... Curtains!

À plus, mes Amies!


Shared this with:

Boudoir of Paris, bed, sheet, linen, antique, french, france, paris, how to make a french bed, how to, white, cream, cotton, lace


  1. This is beautiful. I love all of it. I have a link party on Wednesdays, and I would love it if you would link this and any other posts. It is called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party. It runs from Wednesday to Sundays.
    I hope to see you there. I am your newest follower, and I would love for your to follow me also. Have a great Day.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above

    1. Thank you Debi! :)

      You have a wonderful blog, it was a joy to browse around.

      I've entered Brenda's Laundry Detergent to your link party. We'll keep coming to party with you. Thanks for the invite!

      And of course we followed back.


  2. Sacha so pretty!! I'm thrilled you're getting my room ready for me live in! Although I would be afraid I'd get all that white dirty! LOL

    1. It's linen. Linen does not absorb (like cotton does). Even wine stains can be washed out on a regular washing cycle. So don't worry. We can drive a John Deere over those sheets and I can still have them clean in a heartbeat. :)

  3. Gorgeous Sacha! I'm your newest follower and I'll be happy if you follow me back!


    1. Thank you, Monica. :)

      And we followed back your wonderful blog. Love the pictures!