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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > How do *you* treat linen? ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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How do *you* treat linen?
demoiselle
demoiselle
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Member since 6/21/11
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Date: 7/17/13 11:57 PM

I bought some nice light blue linen to make a summer skirt, and since I'm planning to use a TNT pattern, I'd like to start it sooner rather than later. Plus, you know, it would be good to have during the summer months.

I've been reading various books and sites which range in their advice about how to care for linen. Dry clean only. Or, prewash but know it will shrink some. Prewash as you would wash it normally. Or prewash in hot water for a short period of time, dry for a short period of time, then iron on a high setting while it is still damp.

What is your preferred way of preshrinking or caring for linen garments? I don't want to treat this fabric wrong and end up with a skirt that isn't wearable.

(I'd prefer not to have to dry clean, I would be willing to handwash, and regular wash is best of all.)

Also, I'm reading a ~5% average shrinkage for linen. Does that sound about right?

I also picked up some cotton for a top, but I feel much less concerned about that. I'm going to wash it as I would my day to day clothes. I just don't very often wear linen. :-)

Thanks for any input.

demoiselle

PS. Oooh. I got my lighter weight interfacing today, so I can actually make my t-shirt!

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jilly cooper
jilly cooper
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Date: 7/18/13 0:14 AM

I love linen, even though it gets crumply, I have made tops and skirts, also buy RTW linen skirts.

I have had shrinkage, can't be sure how much but I only use cold water to prepare my fabrics because I only use cold water to wash clothes. The linen survives loads of washing and still looks great, no problems. If I want a super straight look, I iron before it gets fully dry but this is optional. My skirts look fine line dried, no iron, as well.

Good luck.

Kwaaked
Kwaaked
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Date: 7/18/13 0:36 AM

I was it twice on warm, high heat. I probably lose about 1/8 yard for the 2 I buy, and I add about half an inch to my hems to account for further shrinkage if any.

I wash on cold, high heat, but all my clothes come out before they are hot/bone dry. I also iron most of my clothing, so it winds up being ironed at high heat with steam and light starch.

Depends on your look. If you want the rumpled look, but not messy creases, hang to dry when damp.

LauraTS
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LauraTS  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/18/13 0:44 AM

I read recently - maybe here - that linen will wrinkle less if you let it soak in water for a while when you first wash it.

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Elona
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In reply to demoiselle <<
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Date: 7/18/13 0:48 AM

What did the ancient Egyptians do with linen? Dry clean it?

It is sturdy, sturdy fabric. Mine, I beat the living c**p out of it before cutting it out. I wash it three times in hot water and dry it on High each time. The Egyptians of long ago did much the same thing, with frequent washing involving water, scrubbing on rocks with harsh soaps, and bleaching in the sun, as described here.. Many of King Tut's linens were found in perfect condition after thousands of years.

This fabric loves abuse, and becomes ever softer and more beautiful.

-- Edited on 7/18/13 1:21 AM --

demoiselle
demoiselle
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Date: 7/18/13 1:33 AM

Thanks for the tips. Perhaps I'll go drag my fabric across the sidewalk for a while before I wash it. ;-) But seriously, this helps a lot.

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jilly cooper
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In reply to demoiselle <<


Date: 7/18/13 1:43 AM


I am sure you will love it's durability.

NonieA1
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Date: 7/18/13 6:29 AM

I spin fiber. Flax is the fiber plant that is the source of linen. I wet-spin the flax and then I ply it. I complete the process by boiling it in washing soda, rinse it and hang it to dry. It is strongest when wet and sailing vessels of old had linen sails. Linen is a fantastic fiber growing softer with use. I have used linen tablecloths over the past 40+ years and they have gotten so much better with use. Use the linen and fall in love.

marymary86
marymary86
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Date: 7/18/13 6:50 AM

I have enjoyed reading Marcy Tilton's comments on linen (marcytilton.com - go to her linen fabric and just read the commentary at the top).

I plan to try her tips with the linen pants I just made. I still need to hem them.

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Mary


Molliefran
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TX USA
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Date: 7/18/13 7:47 AM

Louise Cutting says wash and dry 5 times. It comes out very soft with no further shrinkage.

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