learning about linen (or, why isn’t it autumn yet?)

(click for complete poem) Illustration of poem

(click for complete poem & painting on wikipedia) Illustration of poem “To Autumn” by John Keats, painted by W. J. Neatby. From “A Day with Keats: With numerous coloured illustrations” by May Clarissa Gillington Byron and illustrations by W. J. Neatby

A lovely bit by John Keats reminded me it’s supposed to be Autumn now.

            SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!

With all the hurricane problems, I’d forgotten. We had 3 days of cool, dry temperatures whetting my appetite for more.

But it’s hotted up again.   😱

not keen on finishing this but guess i'll give it a go tonight

not keen on finishing this but, to quote Hila (Saturday Night Stitch), “done is better than perfect.” and she’s right.

Which means I’m still very much in summer dresses mode.

Which means those linen plans are still firmly in place. But that’s a good thing.

The current issue of Threads’ magazine has a great article all about linen.

things about linen

  • It’s a cellulose material made from fibre stems of flax, anywhere from 5 to 21 inches in length.
  • More than 30,000 years ago, people were using flax fibres to make linen-like cloth.
  • Egyptians did the first linen manufacturing about 4,000 years ago.
  • It’s highly absorbent, like cotton and rayon, but allows evaporation more quickly than either, thus making it cooler for warm weather clothing.
  • Those qualities also made it ideal for undergarments.
  • It is extremely durable, with a lint-free surface that also resists dust and dirt.
  • Linen is resistant to both insects and the sun which makes it ideal for home décor.
  • It doesn’t stretch, making it ideal for painting canvas and embroidery.
  • Lack of stretch makes it wrinkle more easily.
  • It takes paint and dyes well.
  • It can be damaged by bleach, mildew, and perspiration.
  • Continual creasing in the same places (think folds, hems, etc.) can weaken and break the fibres.
  • Linen is strongest when wet! Best to iron when damp.

And the list goes on!

Plus, the article has ideas about how to handle your linen garment once it’s made, including different ways to dry it to get different effects. And ways to avoid ironing it, if you like that look.

I threw this 100% linen camp shirt (rescued from a Virginia charity shop) into the dryer for 5 minutes when I decided I didn’t want to iron it. (Note that I liberally sprayed it first with water to dampen it. Dry linen gets drier in the dryer, and that’s not good as fibres can break.)

What do you think about the effect? It’s very soft and no Fabric Police accost me when I wear it in public. He-he!


Updated: sf’s britex in negotiations to stay


Huge Thank You to Tanya Maile, who was at Britex last week and commented below.

Seems there are negotiations going on. This article, dated 5 days ago, gives more specifics.

Perhaps we really don’t know what’s actually happening, and will just need to watch the news… and the Britex web site. . . .

My apologies for not searching multiple google pages for more recent articles.

click to go directly to their site

click to go directly to their site (logo courtesy of Britex’ site)

Again, a huge Thank You to Lizzie of The Vintage Traveler for alerting us to the situation.

Here’s an additional article I located. Between the 2 there are great photos of the store.

I’ve been to Britex a few times, whilst living in the Bay Area, and was always overwhelmed. But I never failed to lust after what I couldn’t afford (Liberty cottons and English wools) and found exactly what I needed.

If you’ve got an independent fabric store in your area of the U.S., puh-lease let them know how much you appreciate their existence.

Sales have started online at Britex.

sunday sevens #38


It’s time for Sunday Sevens again, as created by Natalie. Anyone can participate, and the rules are very flexible! Why not check it out ~

Special thanks to Nee (Sew Fusion) and Ali (Thimberlina) for their guidance prepping that mustard wool on Friday & Saturday.

It’s washed, dried, and awaiting ironing to steam out the wrinkles before cutting out.

As what? Oh, didn’t I say? Am thinking a coat from Butterick.

But before that can happen, I’ve a batch of linen (and more warm days) to get through.

Hope your week is wonderful!

about our wools . . .

i got the last of the bolt, but fabworks mill shop's still listing so maybe more's coming...

i got the last of the bolt, but fabworks’ still listing it so maybe more’s coming…

Dear Neela,

Thank you for admiring the mustard wool I got from Fabworks Mill Shop! I’m very pleased with it, and can’t wait for cooler weather so I can begin making my coat.

Was thinking about our “how to prep our wool fabric” question last night and remembered Fabworks has a YouTube channel! And they probably talk about wools.

Yes! They’re 2 videos; Tips and Tricks talks about fabric preparation.

So have at it, and keep us all posted!



sunday sevens #37

bright & sunny & co-o-ol after the storm

bright & sunny & co-o-ol after the storm

It’s been an unusual week, to say the least. Although the most unusual bits have been the last 3 days, and this huge storm.

More to come even though the rains have stopped, as rivers won’t crest for up to several days from now, windy conditions continue to fell trees across power lines, and roads are badly damaged in many locations.

Nothing various other countries haven’t experienced from time to time. Unfortunately. Perhaps the difference over here is the length and breadth of the storm’s track.

By my extremely unofficial measuring, the storm battered about 1,000 miles of coastline before changing direction and going off to sea.

That appears to be about the equivalent of the distance from the southern tip of Norway down to Crete.

Width-wise it would have covered Ireland and Wales completely, and much if not most of England and Scotland.

The European coastline then becomes too full of ins and outs for me to figure further down. Hopefully this gives some scale for comparison for both sides of the pond.

Thus endeth the geography lesson. 😀

May we all have a wonderfully productive week ahead!

Sunday Sevens is the brainchild of Natalie, at Threads and Bobbins. Why not check out her post & join us!

(Edited to add link to article in The New York Times on the storm.)