The Linen Closet
Since it was up to the bride to supply her new home with a quantity of linen, most young girls began early to create pieces to add to her Trousseau; long before the big event. 

When she became engaged, her hands were kept busy with monogramming her fresh white cotton and linen pillowcases, towels, tablecloths and napkins; so that everything was in place before the newlyweds began their social commitments.

Usually mother, grandmothers, cousins and sisters would compliment the assortment and a
Quilting Bee would be organized to create that special handmade gift.

Then, according to the popular Godey's magazine, a wise woman "should add two tablecloths, four table napkins, six towels, one or two pairs of sheets, six pillowcases, six dusters, the same number of glass cloths, and other things in proportion... every year to her linen closet".
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When during the Industrial Revolution; textile manuafacture became mechanized, pure linen took a back seat to other fabrics that could be made much cheaper, though it was still the fabric of choice for summer sheets, tablecloths and napkins.  However, regardless of the fabric used in these household items, they still retained the generic term "linens".

White was the popular shade of choice and remained so throughout the entire Victorian period, though in later years some tinted items began to appear for special occasions.  Delicately colored tablecloths and napkins were seen at
"Color Teas" and bolder shades would be used underneath fancier lace and cut-work cloths to accent a color scheme, and protect the table.
The process of keeping up the stores of linen was by no means an easy task.  There was a definite order in which linens in the closet (usually an armoir or linen chest), were to be placed.  First, tablecloths and napkins.  Then bedding with sheets first, then pillowcases.  Quilts and blankets would be put up top or down below if you were lucky enough to have extras.  In the summer months they were stored in a blanket box, along with heavier cotton sheets, to keep out the moths.

When adding new pieces to the supply, the existing linen was checked thoroughly for damage, and the new arrivals added to the rotation.  However, nothing was thrown away.  According to Godey's: 
"It is hardly possible to set too much value on the use of old linen for an infinity of purposes to which new would not be equally well suited".  Dusters, mats, aprons  and in-betweens, could all be made from discarded sheets and tablecloths, and some of the most beautiful whitework began as a much larger piece. 
Bath Linen
Bed Linen
Irish Linen
Table Linen
Textile Gallery
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Whitework
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Uniquely Canadian in Victorian Times
Decorating With Textiles
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