DORSBIEN...French Vintage

May 06, 2011

Not ready to cut my vintage grain sacks!
NO SEW PILLOW COVER: stuff with a readymade body pillow...perfect fit!

have made my heart sing for years
so I just had to share some incredible pieces
I found at the most charming and
magically named French etsy shop:

(Sleep Well).

Dorsbien’s owner Julie has incredible passion
and expertise when it comes to her vintage...
you will love her!

Gorgeous two-sided French grain sacks from the '30s
for around 30 bucks!
grain sack throw? why not? very summer-y.

Julie says:
“I have always loved embroidery.
Both Nanas had a button box and scraps of
sewing which I was allowed to play with.

When my Nanas passed away I was lucky enough to
keep their tray cloths with crinoline ladies on them.

I love thick slubby hand-woven linen and hemp mix--metis
in France--and fine-woven linen with a higher linen percentage.”

the real thing!

Dorsbien is also the place for sheets, vintage leather bags,
and linens with embroidered monograms.

“Monograms are done so expertly and with fine tiny stitching.
I have tried, but have neither the skill nor the patience
to produce such work.

Imagine doing all these tiny stitches with only daylight
and without the modern thread and needles we have now!”

Customers of Dorsbien benefit from
Julie’s knowledge of the history of vintage textiles.

“I have met many elderly ladies here who have explained how they sat minding the cows or goats while they stitched.”

if stains/discoloration bother you, let the fabric soak in oxiclean

Julie lived in Scotland before making her home in the Vienne region of France six years ago. One of her favorite things are vide-greniers, local village tag sales held on a set weekend each year.

“The atmosphere is wonderful, the stall holders are a mix of professionals and locals with tables filled with items, everything you could imagine and many you can't imagine what they could possibly be.”

Julie does the leg work, and we get to own
little pieces of history and re-purpose them.

A friend introduced Julie to Brocantes (sort of a permanent vide-grenier) where she finds “the most magnificent gleaming, handmade, repaired, beautiful cloth, clothing or fabric from a time gone by.”

no matter where i draped it, it looked fabulous.

The pieces obviously aren’t in perfect shape, which is PERFECT for many of us including Julie.

“I now get very excited by patches, darns and mends (smiles).”


the perfect fabric for seat covers
(and I didn't upholster or slipcover, I simply draped it)

Julie lives in a charming railway station near Richelieu built in 1870. In the 1980s, the railway closed and the station was sold to Sisters of the Church from Paris.

“For ten years the station was used as a holiday home for disadvantaged youngsters from the Paris suburbs, run by the nuns and charity funded.”

“Our dining room is the old ground floor waiting room, our bedroom is the old sitting room for the station master on the first floor, our children have the station masters quarters on the second floor. It is quiet, beautiful and the best place on earth for us to live.”


Dorsbien offers unique lovely grain sacks handpicked by Julie. How does she use antique linens in her own home?

“We have antique linen sheets on our beds.
The properties of linen are great--organic, handmade threads
which were hand woven into yardage, then hand stitched.
Brides to be would start stitching their trousseau
when they were about 14 and once betrothed would stitch
their first initial and of their husband to be on the
bed linens, towels and napkins.”

a simple addition since i get easily bored

Dorsbien also offers vintage net curtains.

“I have vintage nets on the windows. I am constantly amazed by the different motifs and pictures. These are a true gift for everyone because you can find a motif for every room in every home.”

What inspires my new friend?

“Visually things either look right or wrong to me. I was a potter previously and pottery has to be the right shape and the right colour. I teach belly dance and music was and is still very important to me. Natural things inspire me—wood, metal, stones, feathers and nature herself.”


The success of DORSBIEN goes beyond Julie's keen eye and fair pricing.

This shop owner truly desires to connect
with customers in a personal way,
helping them select, care for, and
creatively use the items she offers.

Julie provided detailed information about the
grain sacks, describing and noting each and every mend
(to my delight!) before they were purchased and shipped.
She truly honors her customers and is committed to excellence.

just $25 for this linen chemise with pintucks!

I’m thrilled with my monogrammed (R!) linen chemise (shirt) from Dorsbien
and dreaming of ways to use it (tailor it for a nightgown?
for a tunic or shift dress?).  

“Originally made as work/sleep multipurpose shirts for the
 paysan (country people), hard wearing, kept the sun off
and could be boil washed on the stove to keep them white.
They are stiff when new and gradually wear in with use
and become soft and supple.

I wear linen chemise in the summer.
I have a pale pink one, a vibrant violet one, and for gardening
I have an earthy brown one. I dye them myself…
linen proves to be the most versatile fabric.
It accepts modern dyes readily and keeps you cool
in the heat of the sun.”


This is the part of the post where I climb into my tub
and offer you a BONUS USE for your authentic
French grain sack from Dorsbien.

all photos mine

Or not.
Forgive me, Julie.
But I could easily design 50 more
lovely grain sack garments!
It's well established I'm a little off my rocker.


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  1. Hi Michele...well you've convinced me...I'm off to have a look at Julie's shop. I love grain sacks and have a few, but like you I can't bring myself to cut them up into cushions..but they do look nice just stacked or stuffed for a long lumbar.Robx
    p.s. not sure about the shrug!!!

  2. Love grain sacks, but most are out of my budget.I'm going to check out Julie's shop, maybe I'll find something I cant live without LOL.

  3. This post is making my heart sing! I have a major thing for vintage grain sacks and linens too! LOVE all the uses you've shown. The shrug is FAB as are your gorgeous photos! I already love Julie and will be visiting her shop often!

    Hope you've had a great week and have a lovely weekend ahead, my sweet!

    Meera xx

  4. Michele, I love this because I am just getting ready to redecorate my living room. The walls are red (and will stay red because my family likes them), but I'm going to use burlap panels on the windows, Belgian linen on a new sofa, and something like these grain sacks to make pillows. I could use any extra help and/or suggestions you'd like to give me. :)

    Heading over to Julie's shop for more inspiration. Thanks!

  5. i'm so glad you guys are liking her stuff.

    and don't overlook the pieces with lots of mends and character. they're beautiful. i forgot to ask julie if that makes them more or less expensive/desirable!

    Julie's attention to detail and true love for what she sells sets her apart.

  6. Love your post! I did my master bathroom in the same stone you have and did a tub surround like yours never thought of putting mirrors there but that looks cute! Love the one of you standing in the tub how fun! Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Hey Shel Belle,
    I love the softness of these grain sacks and like you I always love things that have a story to tell. Love you sweets!
    Inside Design

  8. Thanks so much for giving me the nudge to come and see your post today Michelle!
    This week has been super crazy busy for me and I have not been minding my blog.
    I LOVE these linen sacks and any of the hemp woven pieces from Europe. I have only three pieces but want and "need" more!
    I will go check out this seller on Etsy.
    Thanks for sharing Darlin'!

  9. I enjoyed this post...loved your attitude. and your home is lovely...that chandy in the foyer is my dream chandy!!

  10. Well, Michele - you had me at "French vintage". Then you reeeeally had me at "grain sack"!! I can't get enough of grain sacks. Call me an addict. Call me obsessed. But call me when there are grain sacks to be had! lol! Thanks for this fun, informative post. I'm off to check out Julie's site - and I'll letcha know if I end up wearing mine as a shrug! lol!

    xoxo laurie

  11. Gorgeous grain sacks... love 'em! I'm so glad I found your blog, I'm now following! Heading over to check out Julie's shop next...

  12. Those grain sacks are stunning! I love the pillow! X

  13. Love the chemise and the quote above your bed!

    Kate @

  14. So much gorgeousness, I do love the vintage grain sacks, so many fabulous uses. I've seen them used to reupholster dining chairs and they look amazing as well! They look fab everywhere in your house because your house is simply beautiful.

    You in your little grain sack shrug made me practically spit out my coffee though - you are indeed a little off your rocker in an entirely good way! Which is what I *heart* about you!

    Hope you are having a fabulous weekend - I'm going to check out Julie's amazing shop now ;) xxx

  15. Lovely blog! The bedroom looks so Parisian with the vintage pillow and the phrase on the wall!
    I'm a new follower from "My Backyard!" I have two giveaways coming up that you might like. A French Pillow and Dali Decals. The dates and items are on my right side bar!
    Here's my project:
    Would love it if you could hop by!

  16. LOVE those grain sacks. Your bedroom is so looks so restful. Thanks for sharing your post at my party :)


  17. What a beautiful room. It looks like a photo shoot from a magazine!

    Warmly, Michelle

  18. What a great really seemed to enjoy did I!

  19. Wow!!!

    You're just soooo fantastic! Love the tub's pic! Ha!


    Luciane at

  20. Funny girl! Yes, it looks fabulous everywhere!

    You should frame that first image. Beautiful styling and photo.

    Warm hugs,


  21. Love your French grain sack. I have a number of old sacks from the PA. area where I live and they are wonderful, yes? They will go in my shop when I open it which I am hopeful will happen soon. Stunning bathroom. .and your bed, love it.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  22. Beautiful pieces & spaces! I love the worn look & texture of grain sacs! Visiting & following from Homemaker on a Dime.

    -caroline @ c.w.frosting

  23. Saw you over at Restored It Wed, and came over to find another great topic! Love reading your blog and seeing your treasures!

  24. Thank you for sharing this with us at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop :)

  25. Now this is one dreamy post!
    Gorgeous doesn't even begin to describe how absolutely stunning it is !
    Pure love!
    Cricket @ gypsea nurse

  26. I just love all of your vintage sacks! So pretty!


  27. Dear Hello Lovely Inc.,

    Just beautiful!


    Coastal Blue Ocean

  28. Beautiful post, thanks for sharing such a great Etsy find! I also have a vintage linen chemise (posting about it this week.
    Take care, Kerry

  29. PLEASE tell me where you got the quote decal. I'm a French teacher and LOVE that quote:)

  30. PLEASE tell me where you found that quote decal. I'm a French teacher and love it!

  31. PLEASE tell me where you got the quote decal. I'm a French teacher and LOVE that quote:)


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