“A thread that’s been used by man for thousands of years, must have a lot going for it” ¹
My love affair with linen began years ago. Literally I remember a linen dress my mother wore that felt so good when I cuddled up to her. So I have a very positive association with the hand of linen right from childhood. As I began to sew, I found that I enjoyed the ease of putting together a linen dress. The fabric doesn’t fight you when you match seams, sew darts, etc. It takes a hand press very well and is easy to form structured elements. Perhaps the fact that my pattern choices nearly always included a tailored detail, I was constantly rewarded by this fabrication. As silhouettes softened I learned to soften the linen by pre-washing the fabric four or five times before cutting. The hand of a washed linen, whether done in the mill finishing process or done at home, is definitely a comfort food for the fabric lover. Have you ever had the experience of handling an old linen table cloth or napkin? Well-used and well-loved, these “linens” remain stable while taking on the softness of time. Years ago I switched to all linen in my cross-stitch stash. Besides the gentle rhythm of that needlecraft, working in hand or with a hand-held frame allows me to feed my linen lust.
A great feature of linen is that it often comes in beautiful seasonal colors and acts as a canvas for many buttons. Linen will support a best match color, a contrasting color (black or white for instance), a shell, a natural organic like coconut or horn or a lightweight metal.
This year we have a number of linens in stock that should satisfy many the linen lover. We devised our own system of identifying weights for garment construction.
There are four categories that we use in our descriptions.
Handkerchief: Tissue weight for blouses and lingerie
Lightweight: Blouses, shirts, dresses
Heavy weight: Suits and outerwear jackets.
Most of our current stock falls into lightweight and mid-weight categories. Heavy weight is not around the marketplace as much this year, but you can check our Linen Department frequently if you are searching for this weight. We still have a few more months of adding to that category.
Designers often experiment with adding another fiber to linen to change some of its characteristics.
Adding silk gives a finer interpretation to linen and kicks it up on the luxe scale.
Combining viscose with linen softens the hand and the drape.
Cotton and linen are a favorite summer combination for cool comfort.
Blending a series of fibers like cotton, linen and rayon, allows for added texture and novelty weaves.
“What could be more natural, or more healthy in a time of increased technology and alienation than to surround oneself with [this] natural fiber, created by the harmonious interactions of sun, rain and earth”²
¹ Linen From Flaxseed to Woven Cloth, Linda Heinrich. Page 71
² Endnote from ¹ page 196 credited to Linen Facts, ILPC, NY