Linen

Linum Usitatissimum

 

Linen.
Originating from Egypt.
It’s been found in a prehistoric cave – used as long ago as 30,000 BC – It’s a pretty hardy fabric.

Linen is a plant fiber – derived from the small blue flowered flax plant.

How to Care for it:

Washing: Wash it. Wash it. Wash it. It will get softer with each washing. & It’s stronger wet than dry.
*Shrinking: It will shrink during that first wash & dry – so wash & dry linen before you sew or look for info on the label of clothing -has it been preshrunk?

Drying: 1st Drying for raw fabric: During the first drying of yards of fabric I do dry it completely so that there will be no more shrinkage.
Subsequent Dryings: To help it last for generations -hang it up and let it air dry.
If Machine Drying: take linen it out of the dryer before it’s solidly dry.

Ironing: It’s easier to get a smooth finish if you iron linen it while it’s damp (for those of you that want a crisp and smooth look to your linen). Medium to High Heat, Heavy Steam.

I love linen. Love it. It’s gotten a bad rap & you’ve probably heard all about how it wrinkles from your momma and your grand-momma. Let me just jump up and down and say it was this frettin’ over wrinkles that led to the non-breathing polyester and synthetic fabrics of the 60s & 70s that hold in sweat and odors.

Yes. It wrinkles. It has a natural rumple & roll, a natural texture, and unmistakable hand. It’s a strong fiber.
It breathes – oh man does it -the natural fiber way to wick sweat, and stay cool in the toughest heat. It can absorb up to 20% its weight and not feel damp. In many ways it is nature’s fibrous air conditioner. When I was wearing pounds and pounds of the stuff in historical costume during the hot piedmont NC summers, I promise you, I was cooler and comfier than the tourists in their shorts & tank tops. The way linen hangs away from the body as well as how it wicks moisture, makes it ideal for the hottest of days. 

Little more history?
Handkerchief linen is the lightest weight and often is so airy it has a sheer quality.
Most well preserved heirloom christening gowns are made of handkerchief linen.
The term lingerie comes from the fact that undergarments used to be made from linen. I just love that.

One more thing: Flax seed oil is consumed for it’s health benefits like its rich omega 3 fatty acids.

It’s an amazing plant, and natural fiber. Wear your rumples, creases, and linen lines with pride – it’s the real deal.


© 2016 Sarahbeth Larrimore

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