fabric friday: how linen (or flax) is made

As long as we’re introducing new blog features like Digital Release Thursdays, I’m going claim Fabric Fridays. I thought this would give us a chance to talk about various fabric and fibers. And maybe it will help me to remember what day of the week it actually is. (Who would have thought I’d still have a problem with that?)

A couple of years ago I wrote a series of posts for the BurdayStyle blog about various fabric and fibers. I was thinking about that series recently, and I thought it might be useful to have some of that information available on the Oliver + S blog, too. So if you read that series, some of these upcoming posts may sound familiar. But I’m planning to expand on what I did earlier and to include some other ideas, too.

To kick things off, here’s a video showing the steps of harvesting and preparing flax for weaving. I think it’s so interesting and honestly had no idea that so many steps were involved in the process.

(via Appleturnover)

Next on our weekday series? Tool Tuesday! (You think I’m kidding, don’t you?)

P.S. Those of you looking for linen, I highly recommend Gray Lines Linen here in New York, with great prices and a wide variety of weights and colors. They can send swatches, too!

Update: Thanks to Katie for providing a link in the comments to this video on how linen is manufactured today. I haven’t had time to watch the whole thing yet, but it looks great!


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  1. Fascinating!! Thank you for sharing this. I’m off to check out those links!

  2. katie

    there’s also a beautiful French video about linen on Vimeo that I really enjoy:
    Be Linen Movie

    I love, love linen. I did order from Gray Lines based on your endorsements and am really pleased with the quality.

  3. Thanks for this post! I love seeing how our fabrics are made. This infographic has a little description of each step and some great illustrations:


    Are you going to do quilting cotton next? Have you seen Kaufman’s production video?


  4. Lucinda

    I second the Grayline Linen recommendation! I was fortunate enough to be able to visit NYC last fall and paid a visit to Grayline – great fabric choices and prices, and the staff was very friendly:)

  5. karen

    Beautiful and fascinating. I think I need more linen in my stash.

  6. I’ve just forwarded a link to this post to my sewing buddy cousin. I was aghast at the amount of work it took to make linen in times past. I’d be very interested in most posts like this–thanks!

  7. Jenny

    For the grey line linens… how do you know the difference in those linen types? Which are apparel?

  8. Gjeometry

    Excellent! Looking forward to more Fabric Fridays.

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