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limp linen
when fabrics are neither crisp nor drapey
Nikki
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Nikki  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/17/13 2:16 PM

I am trying to figure out the best pattern choices for working with "limp" linens, or other fabrics with similar characteristics. By this, I mean the fabric that after washing is not crisp, and drapes "softly" but does not have enough weight to hang nicely. I have encountered a lot of linens with this property, mostly lighter weight ones.

When used without underlining, the fabric tends to look rumpled and gives a lumpy sort of look. If used in a tunic or garment that requires drape, the fabric has just a bit too much body and does not hang nicely. With a wool or winter fabric, I would just underline it and make a jacket, but in the summer I use linen because I want something that breathes well in the heat, and underlining defeats the purpose.

Maybe in a longer garment, like a dress, the weight of the fabric would be enough to allow the linen to drape well, but I don't wear dresses. Or maybe I should make some spray starch....

I've sewn with these types of linen many times - and usually the results are just not very good. Right now, I have several very nice pieces of linen like this in my stash, waiting to find a purpose...

Anyone have any suggestions?

------
mmmmm woooool

mastdenman
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Date: 2/17/13 3:07 PM

After laundering the linen, I iron it with spray starch. It gives the linen a little more body.

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Marilyn

January 2009 to January 2010 81 yards out and 71yards in January 2010 to the present 106.7 yards out and 146.5 yards in. January 2011 to the present: 47 yards out and 69 yards in.

Elona
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In reply to Nikki <<
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Date: 2/17/13 8:52 PM

Yeah. Marcy Tilton would suggest trying a bias-cut garment. I took her class on bias, and it seems an intriguing idea. Certainly, her soft bias linen tees and summer dresses were very becoming to her perfectly average body. She noted that bias linen has the advantage of wrinkling significantly less than on-grain, as well.

Nancy K
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In reply to Elona <<


Date: 2/17/13 9:04 PM

I used to own a rtw linen bias top. It was flattering and didn't cling. Linen is supposed to be easy to use on the bias because it's stable.

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Sarsez
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Date: 2/17/13 9:08 PM

I would second a bias cut or a make a garment with lots of details to give it weight if you don't like dresses. How about loose fitting shirts with details (collars, cuffs, plackets etc), trousers with cuffs, shorts with details or fuller skirts with hem bands?? How about the Hot Patterns lantern skirt?

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24th Nov 12 to 28th Nov 13
Fabric and patterns rules for me.
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Remember to keep sewing to your wardrobe plan!

tlmck3
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Date: 2/17/13 9:58 PM

I've had a few bias cut linen garments in the past and they are wonderful. Actually, quite wash and wear after they've been washed a few times and become soft. The drape is lovely.

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I am going for a level of perfection that is only mine... Most of the pleasure is in getting that last little piece perfect...Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just keep showing up and doing the work.

Chuck Close, painter, printmaker, photographer

Hope has two lovely daughters: Anger and Courage

St. Augustine

grey ann
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Date: 2/18/13 7:25 AM

If you want breathability, try underlining with silk organza. That is what Queen Elizabeth's dressmaker does!

Molliefran
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Date: 2/18/13 8:00 AM

Louise Cutting suggests washing and drying linen 5 times before cutting.

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"This is the day that The Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!"
Building my stable one machine at a time: Viking circa 1975, Viking Sapphire 870, Bernina 1130, Huskylock 905, Babylock: Sophia2, Evolve, Embellisher & Sashiko
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GwenH
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Date: 2/18/13 9:33 AM

I opened this thread out of idle curiosity and now I'm intrigued with the idea of a bias linen garment. I have some linen this might be perfect for.

I have lots of patterns, but I can't think of a one that's a bias pattern other than a skirt. Does anyone have any bias garment pattern recommendatons?

Nikki
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Date: 2/18/13 9:37 AM

I hadn't thought about bias - I do have one or two bias-cut top patterns around somewhere. Or maybe one of those vests/jackets that is cut so the front hangs down in folds that have been popular recently. I'll have to check through my pattern stash and see what turns up...

I had thought about using organza to underline for jackets, but I've had problems in the past with organza getting really wonky and hard to get back on grain after washing. I've used it straight-from-the-bolt before for fabrics that were never going to be washed (like silk velvet), but with linen I would want to preshrink the organza thoroughly.

Sometimes I prewash linen twice, but I live in an apartment complex with coin-op laundry down the hall, and washing 5x just isn't going to happen. I never put my linen garments in the dryer after sewing, they all hang to dry, and I haven't had a problem with shrinkage after a single prewash/dry.

Thanks!!

------
mmmmm woooool

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