There are many aspects of my life that are as modern as can be. I wander about with a smart phone, I use the internet on a daily, mostly hourly, basis to find out information, mooch about with a cuppa and connect with people all over the place (hello!). I have fairly mod cons in my kitchen, we have running hot water and most important of all, as winter approaches us here in the Northern Hemisphere, central heating. The flick of a switch or the turn of a dial and slowly the creeping chill of outside is shrugged off.

However, with a steep increase in fuel bills, when Jack Frost comes to visit this year, he shall find me with the heating on low, thick curtains at the window, wearing three extra jumpers and potentially doing star jumps whilst clinging to the cats’ warmth. And all this in just the lounge. I shiver down the hall way to bed and find myself chilled by a cold bottom sheet and a draughty duvet.

Enter a bedding blast from the past in the form of well constructed, insulating layers. Up until the recent days of the Sixties, the UK bedroom scene was a plethora of sheets, blankets and eiderdowns. I understand the reason for the switch – the bedding of the past can be a faff. Especially coming from a generation that has known no other bedding – apart from when staying at a swanky hotel or with elderly relatives.

It was this childhood memory – of a comfortable, warm bed, into which I was tucked so tight into I could sometimes barely move, that made me think about creating and keeping heat the old fashioned way. I hit my local jumble sale running and headed straight to the large pile of curtains, duvet covers, cushions and other home interior type things. I knew that there would be some sheets to be had as I have found, and used, them for dress making in the past. Glorious cotton fabric greeted me thrice and was duly hauled to the side. Along with two vintage woollen blankets and a flannelette bottom sheet. A steal at £4 for the lot, I had them quickly washed, dried and ready to go.

Bed making in this retro manner is not the five  minute job of the modern elasticated bottom sheet and popper-fastening duvet cover. It does take a little more time of tucking, lifting and smoothing. Period dramas have two maids making a bed, whilst chatting away, for a reason. That said, you soon get used to it and a well made bed at the beginning will serve you well until the next linen change.

Using a combination of vintage methods and my existing bedding on my wooden beds, I popped the flannelette at the bottom, topped by a cotton sheet.  A second thick cotton sheet for me to sleep beneath, followed by a wool blanket and all topped off with my duvet acting as an eiderdown (this particular piece of vintage treasure still eludes me). To escape the cold chill of an uninhabited bed and in place of a traditional ceramic bed-warmer, I have started to place a hot water bottle at the feet end about an hour before I turn in, which ensures the start of my slumber is akin to a nice warm bath.

I have never slept so well.

LandGirl1980is Charly Surry, a gal with a penchant for history, head-scarves and humour.
Charly is a full time retro dressing, history book reading, letter writing (the pen & paper kind), old recipe trying, hair setting, red lippy wearing, cat loving lass. The female role within both World Wars grabs her interest most, but she also has a thing for Anne Boleyn and Royal History in general. Charly runs Well Rounded Retro, an Etsy shop stocking mainly plus-sized vintage and retro.

8 Responses

  1. CherryT

    I remember having lots of blankets and flannlette sheets when I was a kid. My mom always did hospital corners for the sheet covering the mattress, looks lovely and neat!

  2. Perdita

    I have always found a traditional bed rather restrictive- I remember being very ‘squashed in’ in my grandma’s perfect bed. I tend to layer up PJs and socks then have several blankets ‘loose’ over the top.

  3. Brianna

    We have central heat but for whatever reason, that particular room always stays cold. For this reason (and when Hurricane Sandy came in and shut down our power for 8 days), I like to use a couple heavy, larger than twin-sized blankets that I keep loose. The heaviness keeps me warm but I can still move around and roll over. I’m always rolling (commitment issues ha!)

  4. Gisela

    I remember opening the door at the bottom of the stairs at my Nan’s house and bolting up the stairs and into bed as fast as I could because the house was so cold. You used to lie all night in the same position pinned to the mattress by layer upon layer of blankets! I too prefer bed socks and blankies thrown over the top of a duvet these days.

  5. Penny Dreadful Vintage

    Flannelette sheets ftw! I don’t have any, which is tragic, but Mr D and I are vastly different in heat preferences and he would melt if we used such a thing. I just have to stick with going to bed IN my fluffy robe until I warm up 😉

  6. Catherine

    i love getting all snugly in winter. I actually sleep better in winter because of the restriction whereas in summer i spread out and turn into a pretzel in the middle of the night which isn’t good for my back. My boyfriend doesn’t like tucked in sheets, so now for winter we just have 3 thick blankets and that does the job!

  7. Mirry

    I have gone back to sleeping under cotton or linen sheets with pure wool blankets and can say these last couple of years I’ve slept better than I can ever remember under a duvet. X

  8. Susan Jacobsen

    Coming from the Southern Hemisphere, our winters are not as cold as yours, but our homes are not built for cold weather and so we do struggle with winter too. My best suggestion is a wheat bag – you can make your own from vintage fabric and organic wheat. Pop it into the microwave for 3 mins to warm it up and the between the sheets to make your bed toasty warm. Perfect for sore joints and achy muscles too – I love mine xx PS you can put them in the freezer as well.