Fabric Focus: Linen

This is Part the First of a two part blog on linen.  I'm going to showcase some of the lovely linen fabrics I've been ogling over the past few weeks and provide resources for those who want to sew with it themselves.  In Part the Second I'll list some of the patterns I've found for for linen tops, skirts, and dresses.

If you have avoided linen for a while because of the wrinkles, come back.  Linen gets softer (and less wrinkly) with age and many manufacturers have started treating linen so that it is soft from the start.  There are also many linen blends available which keep linen's distinctive texture but give it softness and drape.  You can find linen with rayon, with cotton, and with silk.  And if you want a crisp linen and have the fortitude to deal with wrinkles, you can get that, too!

There are solid colors galore when it comes to linen because it holds color so well.  Linen looks wonderful in rich tones and in neutrals and there are plenty of way to embellish the fabric with topstitching, pintucks, pleating, godets, and interesting seaming.  Here are some of my favorites: 

From GorgeousFabrics.com:

Square Pegs Linen - True Red
Square Pegs Linen - True Red
Rayon "Linen" - Hot Pink
Rayon "Linen" - Hot Pink

Glazed Handkerchief Linen - Bright Green
Glazed Hankerchief Linen - Bright Green

It can be difficult to find linen prints, but they are out there.  I have almost ordered this first print (also from GorgeousFabrics.com) many times, but I think it belongs to someone else:

Exotica Print Linen Blend - Natural/Blue/Brown/Yellow/Red
Exotica Print Linen Blend

From EmmaOneSock.com, Etsy.com, and HartsFabric.com:

French Coral/Black Abstract Linen from EmmaOneSock.com

C. Steffe Pink/Sky/Black Printed Silk/Linen (semi-sheer) from EmmaOneSock.com

French Plum/Chocolate Scribble Linen from EmmaOneSock.com
4 yards black and white floral printed linen/rayon
black and white floral printed linen/rayon from Etsy seller CoursesWalesFabric
Wildflowers in Orange by Heather Ross from Etsy seller TheFabricFarm
Jenaveve Linen and Cotton Fabric Merlot Floral Birds by Valori Wells from HartsFabric.com
Kokka Echino Cotton Linen Fabric Turquoise Bird Floral by Etsuko Furuya from HartsFabric.com

I love the range of colors and prints available.  You can find something ranging from sweet to sophisticated and almost anything in between.  Which begs the question, "How many stops are there between Sweet and Sophisticated?"  And that gives me something to think about for a later post!

Resources for Sewists
I always read up on a fabric in the Fabric Sewing Guide by Claire Schaeffer before sewing with it, but if you don't yet have her book, there are also some helpful articles available online:
Easy & Elegant Linen, by Susan Khalje - I highly recommend this article
Sewing with Linen, by Carolyn at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic
Sewing Guides: Linen, from Shannon Gifford at EmmaOneSock.com
Sewing with Linen, from SewMamaSew

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