Subject:Fabric knowledges

Fabric knowledges

Postdate:2011-05-03 23:19:50   Hits:3670



Pure Linen


"Pure linen" has a 100% flax content.
Linen is reputed to be one of the the top natural fibres in the world for many uses. It is one of the strongest fabrics, that lasts a lifetime and was therefore the preference of people with high status ; It has always been more expensive than other fibres.
Another consideration is that flax is ecological because it requires little fertiliser and pesticide (much less than cotton).
Pure linen fabric is machine washable and becomes softer with washing.
 If the fabric is somewhat greyish in colour it is certain to be because it ws retted on the ground, regardless of the amount of times the fabric has been washed. If the fabric is snowy-white, then the flax has certainly been retted in water.
Regarding bleaching, it was common to sell both bleached and non-bleached linen fabric, so we often find both sorts of unused items : unused items that have never been or rarely bleached are always a beige colour !....and will whiten with washing.....!


Bedding :  People have difficulty getting to sleep nowadays. It has been scientifically proven that pure linen sheets help people to get to sleep faster and deeper...
This fabric is insulating in winter and cool in summer, absorbent, non-allergenic, anti-bacterial and is particularly beneficial for tired legs in particular and skin in general.
One reason why it enables people to get to sleep faster -and this is something I experience myself-is that the internal temperature of the body reduces more efficiently with pure linen sheets allowing one to fall asleep. Once I went to the French West Indies for my holidays (I live in Normandy at present) and I brought along in my luggage a set of my pure linen sheets eventhough we were staying at a hotel (I had previously travelled in the tropical countries and remembered how the nights are over there...). Once the cleaning lady took off my sheets and put some of the hotel's bed linen on. The result was that I couldn't get off to sleep anymore as I was really boiling hot in these sheets ! Luckily, we had to leave two days later !
All this being said, I do not have any shares in companies which process flax !


Chosse thick types of fabric that will give substance to your project. You can use the weight of an item to calculate the weight/surface ratio to compare different fabrics.
Clothes :     A disadvantage when using linen for clothing is that it easily crumples, but if the fashion of the moment allows for this, then why not ? Anyway, it is the best fabric for perspiration as it is really absorbent and there is no doubt that if you are living in a warm or hot country you will have made the best choice with this superb natural fibre.




Warning :  Unlike in French, in U.S or U.K English, there is just one word to describe two things : linen can mean flax and also sheets and towels.
In the French industry a "linen" (lin) content designation means that the cloth should have a minimum of 85% flax content. But many people in France use (lin) "linen" when they believe it is made of flax and that it is a vintage fabric. I have seen many things sold on one well-known online auction website where people used the term (lin) eventhough it was obvious it was just a common mix of 50% linen & 50% cotton. In this case, the correct word would have been "métis". However, this does not sell for the same market price....
In general, this 85% linen is combined with 15% cotton. It is very close to a "pure linen" and it has been the answer for many years to sell this almost "pure linen" at a more affordable price, as flax was (and still is) much more expensive to produce than cotton.

Linen Union - Linen & Cotton - "Métis" :


 "Linen Union" which is an industrial designation for Linen & Cotton (or in French "Métis") is a mix of pure linen in warp or woof and cotton in the woof or warp. In fact this depends on which period the fabric was produced as the process changed in the 1930s.
The ratio of cotton and pure linen changes from one fabric to another so we not only commonly find 50-50 but also 30-70 or 70-30 as sometimes they used to mix fibres of the time, and thus not only warp and woof.
Bed Linen : The result is a fabric commonly used for bed linen that is more soft to the touch (in some people's opinion, not mine) than a pure linen content and most important it is 30% to 50% cheaper! Of course it will not last as long as a pure linen fabric.
Upholstery : Choose thick types of fabric that will give substance to your project. You can use the weight of an item to calculate the weight/surface ratio to compare different fabrics.




Something worth noting about hemp is that in 95% of vintage or antique cloth or items, the whiter the fabric is, the more worn out its condition. The original colour of hemp fibres is gold : that's why some unused sheets have a colour close to gold. A particularity of hemp is that when it has been washed many many times, its fibres fade and simultaneously crumble, so for sheets, this results in weak areas in the middle...
This plant is similar to flax as they belong both to ligneous and undergoes a comparable type of processing, but it does not have the same durability. However it is a a high density fabric which makes beautiful drapes (like flax or better) .
If you have never tried to wear unused antique hemp clothes, the following piece of history should help you : for centuries in Europe, monks have used hemp habits for penitence and this, is not an exaggeration ! When new, hemp is very rough but with washing will resemble cotton. In French countries, more than 70 years ago, farmers gave their new hemp shirts to their servants to wear them in, thus making them softer, before wearing them.
Finally, as hemp generally was handspun at home, there are differences in the threads' thickness.




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