Newsletter Volume 1 Issue 1
May/June 2008

Newsletter of the Linen Press, LLC.

Welcome to the first newsletter of The Linen Press, LLC. The dream of opening a specialty shop catering to the needs of customers who were in search of the perfect white christening or baptismal gown became a certainty known as The Linen Press, LLC. in January 2002.The physical shop is located in Jasper, Alabama and on the World Wide Web at www.thelinenpressllc.com. Email can be sent to linda@thelinenpressllc.com.

About the Owner

My name is Linda Burns and I own the shop with my husband. The shop is located in the back of the first floor and on the third floor of a Victorian house that also functions as my law office. I have sewn since the 7th grade but only became familiar with Heirloom sewing when my daughter was born sixteen years ago. I have attended the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion 14 times taking classes from a variety of heirloom teachers and I have attended Martha Pullen Licensing for Viking completing Curriculum I and III. I have also studied with Lyn Weeks in Naperville, Illinois for two sessions of the “Infant Years”. Over the years I have attended classes at local shops and became more familiar with heirloom sewing and honing my hand and sewing machine skills by taking classes. I have been a Member at Large of Smocking Arts Guild of America since 1995 and a business member since 2005. All SAGA members are entitled to 10% off at any time. I have attended and taken classes at four SAGA conventions and have been a vendor at the 2005 SAGA Convention held in Nashville, Tennessee. I enjoy all types of handwork and heirloom sewing. Recently I have been trying to perfect my machine embroidery skills. I read extensively and have many heirlooms books to view and share with you from my library. I teach classes in Smocking, embroidery, and heirloom machine sewing. The classes are by appointment only at this time.

About The Shop

The activity of the business over the first five years has varied in ideas and actions that helped shape what the shop has become today. Special open houses; trade shows; offering smocking and heirloom classes; lecturing on the subject of antique and vintage clothing to groups; and the selecting of the perfect white gown in an individualized tour through the gowns themselves, or one on one, have become possibilities. A personal tour is a favorite way to view and see in person the fabric, the drape, and the design of the gowns. Many of these gowns were procured in the oddest places and had to be cleaned, repaired, and pressed prior to becoming available to display and placed for sale. Also available are damaged gowns that are stored separately which may become pieces for a refurbished gown or to use for ideas to recreate a white gown. We have christening capes; ladies antique garments; baby blankets; pillows; handkerchiefs; and a variety of vintage household linens.

Cleaning and Refurbishing

The Linen Press, LLC. offers a Cleaning/Refurbishing service for the customer who would like to freshen up a gown, dress, bonnet, or blanket for a special occasion. Repairs and refurbishing are completed by Linda Burns. Additional costs for thread, laces, fabric, ribbon or hand sewing or embroidery repairs may be added to the cleaning costs. A personal appointment can be set up by calling 205-221-1471.

The Gowns and Viewing Inventory

Stored on the first and third floors of the law office is a wide selection of white gowns now numbered near five-hundred. They vary in age, fabric, condition, and price. Yes, the gowns are for sale and are all one of a kind. My intent was to place every one of these on the website for the customers viewing pleasure, however, that process has only begun and it is a slow process. I enjoy meeting with customers and sewing groups while letting them view the collection at their leisure in person since we all have different interests and tastes.

The oldest gowns I have can be dated to 1820’s. They are very fragile. My favorite gowns are from the 1880’s to 1900’s which are in very good condition and can be used on a baby today. A simple or elaborate gown can be found depending on personal tastes. That is what is so unique about the inventory. It is set up as if you were in a Museum; however, the difference is that you can touch these gowns. I supply a pair of white cotton gloves which helps me to keep the gowns in good condition and limit the damage. If you consider that many of the gowns are over 100 years old, they are sturdy if taken care of properly and will last for years to come.

Bonnets

Along with the white gowns you will find many unique bonnets. I have had customers who had the perfect dress, they just needed a bonnet. We have new bonnets that can convert to a bride’s handkerchief by clipping some threads and the ribbon ties. I have some new handkerchiefs that vary in age, size, and quality. Also, there are some older handkerchiefs that have tatting and lace that I have made into bonnets. The threads positioned just right and some ribbon added can be converted to the bride’s handkerchief by clipping the threads. They are accompanied by one of two poems (your choice of which one) and can be a very sweet baby gift at an inexpensive price.

Fabric, Lace, and Embroideries

We have a variety of fine cotton, linen, and silk fabric located in our shop as well, which the visitor can purchase to create their own ideas. There are Laces, embroideries, tatting, netting, and point-d-spirit from several sources to add to your garment. These are modern and vintage as The Linen Press, LLC. has purchased from several heirloom shops some unique inventory to add to the collection, found pieces in antique shops, and had some purchases over the years from vintage lace sellers.

Smocking Plates

I have many older and out of print smocking plates. I had a big collection and one day decided to reorganize them. In doing so, I found that I had many duplicates. In one of the headings of the web page you can view a listing of what we have in the inventory. There are also instructional books on learning to smock. Linda Burns teaches classes on smocking by appointment.

Lectures, Presentations and Shows

I traveled to Montgomery, Alabama in October, 2006 and spoke to the Montgomery Embroidery Guild and I brought a selection of the gowns with me. I also appeared in Marinette, Wisconsin in June, 2006 and presented a display of antique gowns and ladies dresses at the open house of “Sew Addicted” owned by my friend, Yvonne Smith. I was a vendor at the Birmingham, Alabama Wholesale Needlework Market in September, 2006.

In 2008, there are plans in the works to teach, lecture, and sell at some shows. If you have any interest in seeing a selection of the gowns, I can come to you or your group can come to Jasper, Alabama. Please contact The Linen Press, LLC. for details (205)221-1471.

Thank you for visiting my website. Visit often for new information or send an email if you have questions or are looking for that perfect gown.