Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Linen On My Mind

A friend called me before Mother's Day and asked me to wrap up a special gift that she could take to her mother. The gift was a gorgeous ivory linen wrap from Italy with ivory and white linen layered flowers on the back. So....of course this gorgeous creation needed an elevated gift wrap ( and I adore her mother), something that would capture it's simple but stylish elegance. I enjoy it when the gift wrap suggests the contents and gives you a hint of what is to this case I figured I might as well use the real thing. I was curious to see if the fabric look I was picturing could translate into a gift wrap. I do have yards and yards of it in my storage room, it was my favorite fabric of choice for draperies the past few years. It always has that casual but elegant "french look", especially when I would have a tone-on-tone embroidered design somewhere on the panels, very subtle. Sometimes it was a scroll pattern along the bottom crawling up the side, once a French word embroidered along the bottom edge of a roman blind. If I was to do one today, I think I would look to add silk or linen flowers along the bottom in a somewhat random pattern like Dior did with that Vanity Fair photoshoot I posted a few weeks back. In other words, and as you will see over the next few days, this neutral linen can handle a varied selection of presentation materials.

It's not a fabric to gather when wrapping like the "pouf" wrap I did before, it would be a wrinkled mess. I simply folded and taped just as I would with gift wrap paper. You do have to use more double-sided tape than you would with gift wrap paper, but it does hold. These first two are quieter presentations as I think linen in any colour is by nature a quieter look, it's beauty is in it's understatement. This gift shows how little is needed when the base is setting the mood, I simply used 2 velvet flowers (from a scrapbook collection) and a thin taupe velvet ribbon on the top one, the bottom one a beach shell napkin ring. In order to secure the ring I had to loop through and then knot the ribbon back to the main ribbon, but I liked the look. I have been on the hunt for a variety of belt buckles so I can do this technique with wider ribbon. A little French gift tag and it's done.

Once I started experimenting with this linen base, I simply could not stop. I enjoyed how it could handle just about any look I cared to try. Even when I mixed two colours, peach and pink with a taupe polka-dot grosgrain.

When using fabric in this manner, do not strive for perfect folds like you would with paper. It simply cannot be done. It's fabric and there is no mistaking that fact and it becomes part of the look. I'm not sure the ribbon was needed around the base, now that I look twice, the taupe polka-dot ribbon peeking out of the flowers seems quite enough, after all those flowers don't really need any competition.

I used this linen fabric in a bedroom for a client not too long ago and was reminded of it when I was experimenting (fondly, she was a fabulous client). They had an existing wood sleigh bed with one of those generic leather upholstered head and footboards and faux brass nailhead trim. The bed had to stay, but way too masculine and the look too heavy. We took the leather off and had both sections reupholstered in this exact neutral linen with silver nailhead trim, the whole room and scale shifted. We then wallpapered the walls in a silk grasscloth in this same neutral colour and installed multiple recessed picture lights. The drapes and embroidered valances were in this linen as well. Something I insisted on was all-white, high-quality bed linens, beautifully crisp in this setting. When the bedside lamps and four picture lights went on, the artwork (a mix of oil paintings and historical prints) and silk grasscloth just shimmered with an understated elegance. To make a long story short, I just love taupe and white together. Here I get to use up the foliage that is left on all those silk flower stems I cut for gifts. The look works whether it is a small pink bud or a larger magnolia.

A triple white satin bow with simple rosebud. I would like to try this with pink ribbon, or blue, lavender or purple would be lovely......I just can't stop and it works with everything. Hope you like this linen wrap, tomorrow I will show you even more variations with a little twist. Remember I do have that wide ivory linen wide ........I really meant it when I said I couldn't stop.

All photos by Sande Chase ~ Oooh la la Cadeau


  1. Each one is lovely. I especially like the magnolia with the green leaves and the bud with green leaves above it. My massive Magnolia will soon be blooming with its hundreds of blossoms and intoxicating smell. A lovely post and great example of how beige linen goes with everything, whether in gift wrapping or interior design.

  2. This is so pretty! Very simple but elegant. I'm sure she must have loved it!

  3. I have a book on entertaining Italian style - lots of linen, wooden serving pieces, simple ideas are always so pretty and so natural.
    I love linen.

  4. I agree with Beth - I think the magnolia is my favorite, but the rosebud runs a close second. Please post on the buckles when you start using them - it's such a neat idea.

  5. Peach & pink ... . with those polka dots:
    a guaranteed smile -


  6. How DO your customers ever have the heart to even open their gifts?? They are wrapped so beautifully, the box is a gift unto itself!! :)



  7. Loved...Loved...Loved...the triple satin bows, so BEAUTIFUL!!! If I received a gift like that I wouldn't want to open the box.....Yeh! just and empty box with a bow and I would be happy...gosh I'm 'cheap to keep'.

  8. Ohhhhhhhhh Sande! I loveeee the linen. I have always loved wrapping gifts with fabrics. Something about it is so soft and warm. You do much better.. and capture it perfectly!

    xoxo Noel

  9. Actually Sande, I loved the polka dot around the base, pulling the two together! So grand. And oooooohhh those flower wraps! So gorgeous! What wonderful ideas! How perfect to create a business in something you love to do and do so well!

  10. Sande,
    Your designs are so incredible. I just love the consideration you give to the gift inside.
    The whole package is a joy to give and even better to receive!
    Always so great to stop by and see what you are up to.

  11. Awwwww love this!! Something about linen...So rich, simple, so French & natural too. You make it all so Beautiful Sande!

  12. p.s. I would love to see that wrap from Italy with the linen flowers!

  13. I wouldn't want to open it. Would it be rude to leave the box on the table to stare at for days & days???

  14. Love the silk and satin ribbon with millinerys most of all, but they are all gorgeous!!!

  15. Did you make the magnolia? That is really beautiful! Love your style... I just subscribed to your blog so I never miss out on your creative goodies.


Your comments are such a lovely addition to my day. Thank you.


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