Oliver + S

Linen fabric Choices

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    Jerney @Jerney

    I’ve been looking for some good linen fabric to use with some of my O+S patterns. I got some Essex linen after reading about it online, but I feel it is way to ‘scratchy’ to be worn next to the skin.

    Does anyone have a suggestion for some softer linen or linen blends?


    aegean17 @aegean17

    you could try grayline fabrics. I have some of their samples and they don’t feel scratchy

    Sarvi @Sarvi

    Have you washed it already? I find linen softens considerably with washing. It may seem like it would be scratchy, sometimes, because of the texture, but unlike wool it doesn’t really give you the itchies. Weight can be a factor too — the lighter linens often seem to also have a tighter, smoother weave. Some of the linens I’ve bought at Mood are wonderfully silky, and even JoAnn’s has quite nice hanky-weight linen, which works out to about $7 – $8/yard if you sign up for their newsletter — they regularly send out 40% off coupons.

    Jerney @Jerney

    Thanks Sarvi and aegean17. I did wash the fabric I have, and I tried putting it around my neck like a scarf for a bit to see how it feels. I think I just got the wrong type of linen for clothing. It is really nice fabric but it is meant for quilting. I am going to use it to make some baskets and maybe a sewing machine cover. I’ll look into grayline fabrics online. I have been so disappointed in JoAnn’s as far as fabric goes, but maybe it is time for me to give it another try.

    JohannaO @JohannaO

    I used some brown linen from Joann’s for shorts for my sons and a dress for my daughter. It has washed up really well, and just keeps getting softer and softer. Try Joann’s again.

    http://flic.kr/p/9AJYnM http://flic.kr/p/9sFuhX

    Violaisabelle @Violaisabelle

    Here is a store in the US, http://fabrics-store.com/ They have reasonable prices and often times put one weight of linen or another on special. They have the ‘stoftened’ linen as well as regular. I find you have to wash linen several times before it starts to soften up. I know some people who will wash it in hot water 3 or 4 times, along with putting it into a hot dryer, before cutting into it.

    This store has free swatches to help you with colour and weight choices.

    Sign up for their newsletter and you will receive notices of when they put things on special, including when they put more remnants into the Doggie bag.

    This is not your finest of European linen, but it’s reasonably priced and not bad at all, just not the ‘finest’. 🙂


    mellyflori @mellyflori

    I second Carol, I’ve bought from fabric-store.com many times and when they say “softened” they mean it. The softened version is usually a few cents more per yard but it’s SOOO worth it.

    Also, fabric.com has some nice linens from time to time (stock varies so check often). The thing to look for there is a description of the “hand” of a fabric. Sometimes it’s in the details up by the content and width, it’ll say “Hand: Soft” and sometimes it’s in the description (there’s a hanky weight on there right now that mentions having a soft hand in the description). Word of warning, with fabric.com if it doesn’t say soft, don’t chance it, either skip it or order a swatch. I made that mistake once, I’m sure eventually I’ll make napkins out of it or something but I’ll never put it next to my skin, and certainly not The Benevolent Dictator’s soft little girl skin.

    A couple of home remedy options for softening up what you do have, try washing it with vinegar and something heavy duty like jeans, a little beating up sometimes softens linen well. Also, Dharma Trading sells a chemical softener called Milsoft. I usually use it to soften back up linen that I’ve dyed but it might work for you as well.

    I LOVE working with linen, as a historical costumer I use it almost exclusively and there’s no substitute for the drape, flow, and feel of it and it breathes like a dream. Plus, the more you wash and dry it in the washer and dryer the less it wrinkles. Remember to finish your seams well, though, linen is notorious for shredding in the wash.

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