Friday, October 15, 2010

Fiber Friday -- Linen

This Friday it's Linen.  I love, love, love linen! 
This is a wonderful fiber.
Soft, clean, durable.
The more you wear it, the more softer it becomes.
Sounds like you favorite jeans, right?
Well, linen is a natural fabric that behaves like cotton in many respects.
It also absorbs about 20% of its weight in moisture and has an ability to release the moisture into the air making the fabric feel dry.
What a great fabric for this Arizona heat!
Like cotton, it is very durable.
Even the finest of linen yarns must be durable to endure being woven on high-speed looms used today.
Well, here are some interesting facts about linen.


*Most of the world’s flax (the plant that linen comes from) is grown in Western Europe.
*The flax plant grows to 20-40 inches in height.
*Flax is harvested by pulling the plant out of the ground rather than cutting of the stalk.
This is to preserve the plant for its entire use as flax is used for more than just linen production.
*Flax is processed into linen by first spreading out the plants in a large, open field to lay in the sun and collect rain and dew from the atmosphere.
This process is called retting.
The moisture breaks down the pectin in the stem that holds the fibers together,
hence, making it easier to separate the fibers for spinning.
It is then stripped and debris is combed out of the fibers.
 Fibers are then separated into lengths and graded with the longest
being the finest and strongest, the shorter graded lower.
It is then spun into lengths of fiber used in the weaving process. After weaving, it is bleached (cleansed with chemicals) for dyeing/printed. It is at this point that it may be given a finish to reduce wrinkling.
*Linen wrinkles easily.
In fact, it can be almost impossible to get wrinkles entirely out of the fabric.
To press in creases or set pleats, use a solution of 50/50 water and white vinegar and press.
Let set untouched for a few hours until completely dry.
*Pretreat linens in the same manner you plan on caring for your garment after sewing.
*Linen also has a tendency to shrink,
so it is recommended to pretreat it 3 times before cutting.
This will soften up the linen and you will know exactly how
the fabric will perform in your garment. If you want to maintain crispness,
have your linen fabric dry cleaned
making sure to always dry clean your garment.
*Linen is an easy fabric to cut, layout and sew,
much like cotton and cotton/poly blends.
Use a 100% cotton or poly/cotton thread.
 Interfacing may be woven or fusible
as a matter of preference and project suitability.
*Seams should be finished to prevent fraying.
Use a zigzag, hand overcast, seam binding finish as desired.

Linen clothing is usually loose in fit and simple in design making for
really nice casual wear with the design intended to take full advantage of its wrinkles.
With that in mind, I think I’ll keep an eye out for a piece of linen to work on soon.

Sew Happy,
Suzie

3 comments:

I love comments and look forward to reading and enjoying them. Thanks for stopping by Stay Calm and Sew Something

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