Tag Archives: fabrics

linen #3: boring? no way!

creative linen

creative linen

Quick Review: You’ve got a piece of linen in your hand – exciting!

Take your linen, and some jeans (non-bleeding!) or large towels, and pop them into the wash on hot.

W-H-A-T? you shriek.

  • Yes! Wash linen as you intend to wash the finished garment, you can wash several times, and hot water isn’t bad for linen. (Remember, it’s strongest when wet.)
  • Linen fabric doesn’t shrink much, but sizing does need to be washed out before sewing begins.
  • DO NOT USE BLEACH! Bleach can damage the linen fibres.
  • Dry as you intend the finished garment to dry. But I’d do dryer first, plus an old (clean) tennis ball or two, and watch that lint trap to see how much fuzz comes off. (I’ve included a photo of the fuzz from the orange linen, and you see how much fuzz this can be.)
  • Bone-dry linen becomes brittle and can break, so don’t over-use that dryer. Remove linen when it’s slightly damp and either hang to complete drying or… iron on highest iron setting, with steam for best results.
  • The more linen is washed, the softer it becomes, particularly if you toss in old jeans or towels.

Remember my trick with my camp shirt: Because it was stiff after air drying, I decided to liberally sprinkle the shirt with water and toss into the dryer for a few minutes so I didn’t have to iron it.

Or you can iron it with lots of steam, then toss into the dryer for 5 minutes to soften.

seam allowances:

  • Linen ravels. Sometimes a lot.
  • Before cutting out your garment, decide what seam finishing is needed.
  • Test seam finishes before cutting out your garment: work with a scrap to try different finishes (french, zigzag, serge/overlock, etc), then launder to see what works best.
  • If your chosen seam finish requires more seam allowance than your pattern, add that amount before cutting.

After a couple of tests with different linens, you’ll start knowing what works with what, just as with any other fabric.

creativity: Let’s say you’ve got a great piece of linen, but it’s a solid colour, and looks boring. A-ha! Now’s where your creativity comes in.

  • Linen takes dyes beautifully, so you can start thinking about ~
  • Fabric dyeing or stenciling portions of your fabric, or all of it, either before cutting or after completing your project.
  • Fringed hems or exposing fringed seams. (Secure the fringe with a tiny zigzag stitch just before the fringed area begins.)
  • Use rubber bands on bunched up linen or enclose soft-edged buttons in linen then wind rubber bands around linen before washing and drying. The folds stay in the fabric for quite a while and give 3-dimensional effects. See my example below.
  • Forgot to mention how much longer it takes the bunched up fabric to dry. Rather than risk damaging the entire piece, I pulled it out of the dryer and allowed the entire piece to finish air drying before removing elastics and buttons. (Tossed it on my cutting table overnight, but a shower rod or ironing board would suffice.)

Previous linen posts:
linen #1: learning about linen 
linen #2: different weights 

sunday sevens #40

camellia-blossoming-nowIt’s been a busy, warm week here. Nevertheless, some cooler weather gear has been brought out right quick, to take advantage of days when the mercury dips below 70℉/20-ish℃.

In between I’ve been laundering said cooler weather garments, trying on, starting a small mend pile… the usual seasonal wardrobe shuffle.

Don’t know if it’s the warmer Autumn or what, but there’s another camellia bush or two in bloom, which wasn’t blooming in Spring. meatloaf

Somewhere around the middle of the week I decided to make meat loaf. I read through several suggestions and recipes from Joy of Cooking and then decided to improvise. The result was tasty, and I froze half for another time.

A lovely surprise also arrived mid-week. A large envelope and note from Yorkshire, enclosing two pieces of beautiful silk dupioni (or dupion) from Margaret over at The Crafty Creek. Dupioni is…

“… is a plain weave crisp type of silk fabric, produced by using fine thread in the warp and uneven thread reeled from two or more entangled cocoons in the weft. This creates tightly-woven yardage with a highly-lustrous surface. It is similar to shantung, but slightly thicker, heavier” Wikipedia

We’d been chatting about the gorgeous embroidery she does, and some of the exhibits she’s written and photographed for her blog. I mentioned I’d gotten out my holiday ribbon embroidery booklets and was wondering what and where to get some fabric. Next thing I knew she was asking if I’d like something from her silk stash!

Goodness! Here I was thinking about some sort of linen or even cotton, and suddenly this lovely lady was offering silk. Eeeee!!  Aren’t sewing friends the bestest?! Above is both an ivory and a warmer dupioni, one of which has been in Margaret’s stash since 1990. You’d never know it from looking at the fabrics!

As a lovely courtesy, Margaret included a scrap of the magnificent Avoca wool she’s gotten from Fabworks Mill Shop, “… just in case you’re tempted!” . . . Oh. Dear. Meee . . . . . . (where’s the emoji of flushed face with tongue hanging out??)

some interesting twists in this one

some interesting twists in this one

The latest Agatha Raisin arrived at the library as requested, and I immediately picked it up and read it that night.

Enjoyed it so much I’m reading it again, but more slowly. I also managed to locate 2 new-to-me books by Debbie Shore, Half-Yard Home and Gifts. There are several projects I’d like to try, when time permits.

If you’d like to join in with your own Sunday Sevens, just click over to Natalie’s page and have a peek at the very forgiving guidelines.

Hope everyone has an enjoyably spooky Monday, and a lovely rest of the week!     🎃       🎃       🎃

linen #2: different kinds

Why am I still banging on about linen? Because it’s still hot enough to wear it round here: Sunday it’ll be above 80℉/28℃. ‘Nuff said.

Besides, the Southern half of our world is going into Summer. 😎  First, some piccies from my collection.

Puh-lease click a pic so you can read all the captions ’cause you’ll miss words if you’re only hovering.

 

Linen is described by different terms:

  • gauze – light weight, very loose weave, and see-through (think sheer curtains)
  • handkerchief – light colours might be sheer, but generally very good for dresses and blouses; Threads article suggests 2.8 to 3.5 ounces per square yard
  • medium – firm enough for lightweight jackets and trousers, also possibly some home décor; Threads’ article lists 5 to 7 ounces per square yard
  • heavy – think coats, handbags, home décor (including wallpaper!); Threads’ article suggests over 7 ounces per square yard.

Then there are linen blends, which should always be noted if the fabric isn’t 100% linen:

  • linen and cotton
  • linen and rayon
  • linen and wool
  • linen and silk
  • linen and wool and silk, etc.

If you’re getting the idea that all linens are not created equal you’d be spot on.

How to tell the difference between good and not-so good? Know the fabric and the supplier:

  • read the fabric description carefully
  • if in doubt, order a sample piece
  • look at the weave
  • look at the weight (ounces per yard or metre)
  • purchase from a company you’ve learned to trust!

Slubs: What the heck are they and are they good or bad? Neither! You see them in just about any fabric woven from individual fibres of wool, silk, hemp, cotton, etc. It’s the place where each piece has been joined together to form a longer thread, which is then woven into cloth. Obviously, the longer the original pieces, the fewer slubs, but remember that slubs don’t weaken the fabric.

According to the Threads‘ article, “Slubs are more likely to be a sign that the flax fibers were cut shorter in order to process them with equipment designed to process cotton, which is less expensive.”

Visible lint:

  • indicates either the presence of another fibre (such as cotton), or
  • lower quality linen

Ready to run screaming back to easier fabrics?

RESIST! Just an ickle bit more and you’ll feel better. Promise. Think SILK!

Huh? It has slubs too, right? (Silk fibres joined together, just like linen.) Think of the luxurious feel of a heavy silk – the lustre, the smoothness!

Good linen’s the same. But without the slippery factor ~ a-ha and he-he!

 

If you’ve watched the Fabworks video above, you’ll see the examples Dawn gives of linens available from their mill store. And while you don’t see close-ups of weave, seeing how the fabrics handle is very important. Dawn writes the descriptions of fabrics for their online store, and I’ve found them accurate. (Close-ups are on their web site.)

Julianne Bramson, author of the Threads article, suggests Fabrics-Store.com as another good online source. She councils if in doubt, order a minimum amount of the linen, look at the fabric and launder it before making a large purchase.

HUGE thank you’s for getting to The End! (Chocolate, anyone?)

 ❤     ❤     ❤

Next up, after you’ve chosen your linen, you can read how to launder and care for it.

Note that the Threads‘ article referenced here is not available online at this time.

For the record: Nobody mentioned here or elsewhere on this blog contributes anything to me or my blog. My opinions are my own!

Edited to add: linen #1: learning about linen 

linen #3: boring? no way!

 

sunday sevens #39

curried pork & wild rice

curried pork & wild rice

Golly, another week is gone! Hols are starting to creep closer… And my Sunday Sevens are mounting up. Would never have thought I’d still be doing them. If you’d like to join, wander over to Natalie’s explanation, and have a go!

This past week has been a bit hectic over on this side the pond, but nicely so. If you’re hungry, have a snack before viewing as there are several food photos. Just a suggestion . . . 😉

Monday I was off to get hair done, but forgot the camera. Everyone in the salon crochets, so I took a recent magazine along for them to look at.

My lovely stylist and I discussed knitting. She was intrigued by arm knitting, which I’d never heard of, so she located a video on her phone for us to watch & discuss. We decided it looked too much like having both arms tied by heavy, hot, thick yarn.

Next thing I spy is Ali, aka Thimberlina, arm knitted a prezzie Saturday in 30 minutes, and it looked great! Click the link to see her Sunday Sevens, which have all the deets – thank you, Lovely! 😘 Hope she includes some deets, as I can’t figure out what sort of yarn she was using!

Tuesday I made a lovely curried pork recipe mum used to make. I used uncooked wild rice, lots of candied ginger, cubed apple and raisins, and chicken stock. After browning the chop on both sides I dumped everything into a glass dish and popped it into the oven at about 350℉ with a sheet of foil laid over top so rice wouldn’t dry out.

happy hallowe'en!

happy hallowe’en!

The rest of the week sort of whizzed by whilst I tried to ignore the heavy politics. Early voting began Thursday and lines were around the block all over the state. Is that unusual? Sorry, haven’t a clue.

Here’s another favourite Hallowe’en card, framed and on bath counter (hence the mirror).

Did sit down over several days and do some decorative stitch discovering. I took several doubled pieces of a cotton/linen blend and started numerically and have gone through almost all of the stitches.

It’s proving several things – that I do have a proper chart (thanks to Rainbow Junkie), and this exercise is helpful because sometimes the chart only shows 1 of the pattern. That 1 can be a bit enigmatic if there’s just the one. If I can begin concentrating on purchasing solid colour fabrics for basics, these samples will come in quite handy.

Taking it easier on Saturday, had take away delivered from the local pizza place – manicotti and salad. Yum!

And Sunday have popped another batch of double chocolate bran muffins in the oven. When I made the last batch I measured out for 2, and left the leavening out of the second batch. Then I put the second batch (dry ingredients only) into a bag and popped it into the freezer until needed. A quick mix of the wet ingredients, plus baking powder, and into the oven. Now I’m supplied for another few weeks. 😀

It’s finally turned a bit cooler here, with temps in the 60-70℉ range instead of 70-90℉. However, leaves aren’t changing yet, so I’ve switched my computer desktop photo and this blog background to photos from last November. Guess it’ll be closer to Thanksgiving before we see colour around here. Please keep taking those luscious piccies of the glorious colours elsewhere, Lovelies!

The buttons? Oh, Am spending time staring at them, deciding which one to add to the very top of my Folkwear Middy jacket, in cotton & linen, which is now in season. Pattern is here, and super easy to construct.

May your week bring delightful surprises and happy sewing!

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!

Edited to add: linen #2: different weights 
linen #3: boring? no way!