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!



  1. Thank you for this information....just love your Field Study line.

  2. awesome info. Thanks so much for designing such beautiful fabric. I just love your work. I can't wait to get my hands on some of this linen:)

  3. Thank you thank you!!

  4. I have some in my hot little hands and am going to wait to use it until I've read the rest you have to say about it. Thank you.

  5. YAY!! Now I can wash it and plan on what to do with it! Thanks for designing all of your gorgeous fabrics....and making all of us poor! Just kidding. Love it!!

  6. mailergoat8:08 PM

    They're so beautiful! The butterflies make me wish I had a girl to sew for, my older boy is into superheroes and giving me an idea that the younger one won't want butterflies, either. For your next project could you design beautiful, painterly superhero fabric? ;)

  7. How heavy are the linens? Thinking of making pillows out of some of the fabric! Love love love this line. Heavier than cotton, but maybe not as thick as home dec fabric? Would I have to line a pillow?

  8. Great info, thanks. Linen is a great fabric, and can be tricky.

  9. Anonymous6:36 PM

    Whoa! Totally love the Ghost Wing and Domestic Cat pictured! Very cool!!

  10. Thank you for the close up of the fabric and the shrink test .

  11. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Love the Art Student tote. Where can I get the pattern? I am having a lot of trouble with the comment section of your blog. Hope I can get an answer to my question!

    1. Hi there- sorry for any trouble! We are out of stock on the Art Student Tote but will have it back in next month. Otherwise, just an internet search should turn up something for you!

  12. Can you please go back and do these lessons for voile? I totally bombed my first sew up in voile... Used the smallest needle (a 9?). Seams puckered, hem was a wreck. Unwearable... and I LOVE that fabric so much :(

    1. Hi there!

      I am sorry you had trouble.... sound a little like a machine/tension issue perhaps? A little hard to guess without seeing what's happening.

      I did in fact write about voile a few years ago when I first launched the voile collections. Here's a link for you and I hope it helps!



  13. Good thing my birthday is coming up! I'm going to have to put the feather fabric on my wishlist!

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