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Forum > Fabrics and more... > Scratchy linen ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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Scratchy linen
Is it true dishwashing liquid will soften it?
halleyscomet
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halleyscomet  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/25/12 7:37 PM

I just bought some linen to make a pair of summer pants. Being summer I definitely don't want to line them but the fabric is so scratchy! I washed it and tossed it in the dryer and is still scratchy...even more I think. I thought I read somewhere to wash it with dishwashing liquid? Will this work? What about fabric softener? Any advise?

AK
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Date: 5/25/12 8:03 PM

I remember an article in Threads about washing fabric using Dawn, but don't know what issue. It wouldn't hurt to wash it again. Fabric softener should work, I think.

Miss Fairchild
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In reply to halleyscomet <<


Date: 5/25/12 8:09 PM

I know white vinegar is a great softening agent; I use it on my towels and sheets.

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halleyscomet
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Date: 5/25/12 8:20 PM

White vinegar....I may try that. Thanks!

halleyscomet
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In reply to Miss Fairchild <<


Date: 5/26/12 11:15 AM

Well, I've washed it four times with vinegar, then fabric softener and I don't notice hardly any difference. It's not stiff but still scratchy. Plan B...I will now sew a lined blazer out of it instead of summer pants.

Debbie Lancaster
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Date: 5/26/12 11:41 AM

Sometimes a fabric is just like that from the beginning. I've made dishtowels out of linen that's not right for anything else. Linen makes the most fabulous dishtowels, and now--after years of hard use--the fabric is finally soft!

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Patti B
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Date: 5/26/12 12:05 PM

I haven't tried this but it is recommended to wash denim with a can of coke if you want to soften it. Might be worth one more try?

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Elona
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In reply to halleyscomet <<
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Date: 5/26/12 12:40 PM

I would guess that the linen simply was not ever sufficiently processed during its manufacture. Going from raw flax stalks to garment grade linen involves heavy abuse of this woody little plant. The stalks have to be physically beaten and scraped, as well as sort of rotted in water for a fairly long period of time, and if these steps during production are short changed, the result will be scratchy fabric. It is one of the reasons that some linens require, as has been noted, years of household use before finally becoming soft. Of course, if care is not taken to select long fibers as well, scratchiness will be the result.

Wikipedia has a terrific description of the whole process. I think it is amazing that humans figured it out so long ago.

Miss Fairchild
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In reply to Elona <<


Date: 5/26/12 1:11 PM

This is what I was thinking too, Elona, in the back of my mind. Thank you for posting. I've had some really scratchy linen not worth a peanut, and then I've had some awesome stuff. I realized it was all in the processing.

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halleyscomet
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In reply to Miss Fairchild <<


Date: 5/26/12 2:51 PM

I think it'll be find lined for a little blazer. I've had Burda 7628 for some time now and I may sew the blazer out of this linen.
-- Edited on 5/26/12 2:53 PM --

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