Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Linen Lesson No.1
Parenthetical Flight in Deep
Hiya. Let's do linen. First up, I wanted to share a full width view of each of the 5 prints in my Field Study Linen collection (which each come in 3 colorways). This is especially important when the prints are rather large scale. The images show roughly one full yard, with selvages oriented at left and right side edges. These linens are 55" wide.
Pressed Fields in Poppy
Ghost Wing in Luscious
Domestic Cat in Coral
Flower Circuit in Sunny
Thank you so much for all of your questions about the fabric! I found that they generally fell into one of four categories: (1) design layout (2) content, care, basics (3) use as far as drape, feel, texture (4) use as far as durability, weight, weave. I am hoping that the photos above give you plenty of insight into the scale and direction of the prints to help in planning your sewing projects and answer your design layout quesitons. In many ways, I designed this collection with decor in mind- speaking mainly about scale and color choices, but not because the fabric is exclusively decor in weight or any other aspect. It is really so very versatile.
Let's move on to the next category of content, washing, and caring for these lovelies.
My linen is 55% linen / 45% cotton. So take whatever you are familiar with in 100% linen with a grain of cotton. In other words, the focal features of traditional linen (coolness, sheen, wrinkling (no elasticity), coarseness, lint-free) are tempered, and I would say softened with the addition of some cotton. Which I think is awesome.
Washing + Drying:
As I like to do, I did a wash test this morning. 3 separate exact yards were cut. One was left unwashed. The second was machine washed on a cold delicate cycle with basic detergent and left to air dry for a bit before completing the drying with an iron pressing. The third was machine washed the same as the second, but then tossed in the dryer on a delicate setting, with low heat until completely dry.
The above photo shows you the length shrinkage results of these processes after all 3 were pressed. You can see the washed/air+iron dried fabric only lost about 1/4" to 3/8" in length. But the piece that was washed/dried (even on a low dryer setting) lost about an inch in length. What the photo does not indicate is the width.... they are just layered staggered to see the different pieces. But reporting on width shrinkage, none was lost on the piece that was washed/air+iron dried, and only about 1/4" of width was lost on the washed/dried piece.
So prewash or not depending on your uses, whether or not you'll be combining these with other fabrics, and how you intend to continue caring for them. I think my method will end up being a combo....I will likely pull out of dryer before completely dry and finish it with pressing. Not because I am worried about the shrinkage as much as the pressing will be a lot easier if the fabric is still damp. My sense is that almost all of the shrinkage will happen in that first washing, but I don't of course have hard core evidence of that. I also want to mention that both washed pieces, while they retained the lovely texture of linen, they felt softer and even a little drapey-er after washing and I think the machine dried one just a little more so.
Next, I'll go over categories 3 & 4, covering drape, feel, texture, uses, durability and so on. And I'll be doing so with lots of pretty pictures of our linen sewing projects so far (!!!!) Can't wait!