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linen blend fabrics
halleyscomet
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halleyscomet  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/6/12 9:49 AM

I'd like to sew an unlined 3/4 length sleeve jacket and matching pants out of a linen blend. I purchased some linen at Joann's and even after a lot of washings, it is still scratchy. I noticed Fabrics.com has a lot of linen blends to choose from. Can anyone recommend one that is soft but still heavy enough for pants?
Elona
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In reply to halleyscomet

Date: 7/6/12 12:23 PM

With linens and linen blends, I have not found a rule that works across the board. From any one source, like fabric.com, for example, the softness or scratchiness can vary even with different colors.

The only thing I have found that is reliable is to touch the fabric in person, either in the store or via swatches for online sources. If it feels good in the beginning, it will never feel worse. If it is scratchy or rough in the hand, it will probably not get softer in my lifetime, so I just do not buy it. My experience with rough-feeling linen is that washing it, even repeatedly, does not change it significantly.

Trust the sensitivity of your fingers.

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Elona

JTink
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In reply to halleyscomet

Date: 7/6/12 2:10 PM

I agree with Elona. Halley, do you have a Hancocks close to you? If so, check out their linen blends. I found them to be a LOT better than the ones offered at Joanns. There is a better feel and much less wrinkling.
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Date: 7/6/12 2:30 PM

I've always wondered if there might be a way to mechanically soften linen (and ramie, etc)

Like sanding the surface somehow.

Or at least the surfaces that come in contact with my skin.

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Elona
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In reply to goodworks1

Date: 7/6/12 4:03 PM

There is, in some ways. It's called wear. As I think it was Debbie Lancaster said, old, well-worn linen garments finally become most comfortable just before they fall apart from age.

High quality linen receives extensive wear and tear before it gets to you, during its manufacture, which involves heavy processing and essentially abuse, as described here.

As far as I know, there is no way to turn under-processed or cheap, short-fiber linen into a nice, soft fabric. You really have to start by selecting long fibers for extensive processing.

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Elona

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Date: 7/6/12 4:13 PM

I've never had anything but incredibly soft (as in, I have been known to cuddle the yardage!) linen from Fabrics-store.com. They offer a medium-weight linen-cotton blend I've used and found nice. It's not as blissfully soft as their 100% linen, but I wouldn't ever call it "scratchy." I've not made pants from it, but it's done very well in skirts and heavier men's shirts. It's also slightly less wrinkle-prone than 100% linen, and I haven't noticed the stretching/bagging issues commonly reported with linen-rayon blends (although I wouldn't, really, with a skirt or a shirt).

Linen-Cotton Blends at Fabrics-store.com (I see that in addition to their "basic," the med. weight fabric I'm familiar with, they also have a new heavyweight crepe. I'm actually getting ready to order some of the basic blend for a new skirt and have asked for swatches of the crepe to see what it's like. Swatches, btw, are free.)

ETA: Fabrics-store.com denotes some of its fabrics as being "softened," but for as long as I've been using their fabric, I can honestly tell no difference between their "softened" linens and their regular ones. It just occurred to me that I don't actually know what the difference is!


-- Edited on 7/6/12 4:16 PM --

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~Gem in the prairie

Elona
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In reply to goodworks1

Date: 7/6/12 4:15 PM

There is, in some ways. It's called wear. As I think Debbie Lancaster said, old, well-worn linen garments finally become most comfortable just before they fall apart from age.

But to have nice, soft fabric from the outset, you have to start with the right material, and that is long-staple linen.

High quality linen receives extensive wear and tear before it gets to you, during its manufacture, which involves heavy processing and essentially abuse, as described here.

As far as I know, there is no way to turn under-processed or cheap, short-fiber linen into a nice, soft fabric, unless you wait until it's just about ready to disintegrate anyhow courtesy of Father Time.

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Elona

halleyscomet
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In reply to JTink

Date: 7/6/12 4:21 PM

Jtink, my Hancocks filed Chapter 9 about 5 years ago over in Boardman, Ohio. Pittsburgh doesn't have one. Joann's is it around here. Thanks for everyones help.
halleyscomet
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In reply to stirwatersblue

Date: 7/6/12 4:25 PM

When it says the oz., the higher the number, what does that mean?
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Date: 7/6/12 4:39 PM

That's the weight of the fabric--sheer, medium, heavy, canvas, etc. The medium weights (3-5 oz) are your basic good-for-everything fabric--dresses, skirts, heavier shirts, napkins, table linens, etc. The lighter weights (2 oz and below) are sheer--hankyweight, etc--great for lightweight tops, nightgowns, etc. I haven't swatched their 7+ oz fabrics, but they recommend them for bags, cushion covers, tents, etc, although I'm sure you could certainly still make clothes out of them.

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~Gem in the prairie

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