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Jun 25, 2012

More Linen Love!



Friends, excuse the somewhat breathless tone of today's post but I'm just back from fabric shopping and you'll never guess what I came home with: more linen from Fabric For Less!  (239 West 39th St.)

As you can see up top, Michael's abstract-print linen pants are finished.  I haven't shortened them yet, since I want to run them through the wash, so they still have a bit of the "pajama bottom" about them; hemming should help that somewhat.  He loves them as-is, though, and that's what's important.





Today's linen purchases are more conservative.  I bought two yards of this medium pink, which will be a short-sleeve shirt for me (and about time too), and three yards of navy, with which I am going to make myself....a blazer!





Yes, friends, it's time to face my fears once and for all. This will be a relatively unstructured blazer and I've decided I'm going to take advantage of all the modern methods to make it.  Otherwise I'll never do it.

QUESTION: Since this is going to be a garment I'll dry clean, should I still pre-wash the linen?  I'm wondering if the hand will get too soft.

The plan is to follow the instructions in Kerstin Martensson's Kwik Sew Method Men's Wear book from 1971 and that's it.  It will be lined.  I'm going to use Simplicity 8368, below, which I picked up last week on Etsy for $3 and should arrive any day now.  I'm going for a slightly shrunken fit; I'll muslin it first, of course.  I like the two-button blue jacket below (View 1) but with patch pockets.



While I was in the Garment District, I also stopped by Steinlauf & Stoller.  I bought a full roll of 3/8" cotton twill tape.  I love this stuff, which is great for reinforcing seams, among other things.



I also bought more weft-weight interfacing in both black and white.  This interfacing doesn't come with instructions but I've been using the nylon & silk setting on my (dry) iron for 10 seconds or so, and it's been fusing well.





I also got another yard of sew-in horse hair canvas. 



They sell needle threaders loose for 20 cents apiece.  I bought 10 -- I use them constantly and, sadly, they don't last very long, especially on needles that thread front-to-back since the wire has to bend at a sharp angle -- hate that.



I also stopped by C & C Button and bought more mens pants hook and eyes.



And that's it.  I felt very decisive.  I still intend to make a bucket hat, but I may start with the pink shirt since that sounds like the most fun at the moment. 

As you can see, I've got linen on the brain.

Any linen projects in the works, anybody? 

Happy Monday!

25 comments:

  1. I bought a remnant of linen this weekend - hoping that it would be enough for a tank top. But after I washed it, I was about two inches too short. So, it'll be the bodice of a dress - linen on top and a heavy washed silk on the bottom. So perfect for summer.

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  2. You may be interested in this blog about tailoring for men: http://tuttofattoamano.blogspot.co.nz/

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  3. I'd say don't wash the linen since you're not going to wash the blazer. Especially if it's going to be lined and a bit dressy. Treat the linen as you'd treat wool maybe.

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  4. I'm impressed you even found a men's jacket pattern. Finding a new one is almost impossible. I will watch and read with great interest. I'm still working on my sewing skills in order to make my own jackets.

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  5. I recently purchased two green linen remnants and one off-white linen remnant. I ripped them each into quarters and made napkins out of them. A pretty fun project and I really enjoy using the linen napkins. 12 linen napkins for $8 is a pretty good deal, I think. The green ones work better because they don't show the food stains. It definitely whetted my appetite for linen and I will definitely be buying more for clothing.

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  6. Hi Peter. I have just made a casual linen jacket and would suggest running it through the machine first. Why dry clean when it's washable? Pre shrink your interfacing by soaking in Luke warm water with a little detergent and leave for around 15 mins. Line dry it though, otherwise you will have a sticky mess in the dryer! To prevent the linen from creasing like crazy I fused vilene G785 to every piece, it really helps and does not change the handle if the fabric. Not sure if you have that in America, so some ultra soft/fine fusible will do the trick, and if you can get the full piece block fused even better! Really looking forward to watching the jacket come together.

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    1. I may try doing this with my Elnapress -- the block fusing, I mean, with the weft-weight interfacing I bought today. I definitely won't dry clean it first (I'm too cheap) but I still haven't decided about pre-laundering since it's never going to go into the laundry.

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    2. Drycleaning can shrink garments also, P. I would definitely prewash. Better safe than sorry!

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  7. I must confess that I've never actually used linen. I've always been a little afraid of how it tends to wrinkle....

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  8. Aw, I wanted you to do the bucket hat. My husband was excited at the idea of having a custom-made hat to replace his worn and faded one.

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  9. Am only a beginner but put off by linen by it's creasing. I know silk organza as an underlining does the business but I can't afford that lol. With regards to laundering linen see this article http://www.afashionablestitch.com/2011/sewalongs/pre-laundering-fabric/ it may help

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  10. If you wash it, yes it will lose some of it's crispness, but the fabric will crease less sharply afterwards. Wash a piece and see if you like it. Marcy Tilton has some interesting instructions on linen on her website, just look at linen fabric and you'll find the instructions. Personally, I like washed linen.

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  11. I read someone's advice on fusing the whole jacket to reduce wrinkling. Linen is a hot weather fabric and underlining it with fusible defeats the purpose of having a jacket out of linen; it's too hot.

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    1. Great point, Nancy. I have a RTW linen jacket (lined) and it feels like the two front pieces are fused, while the back and sleeves are not.

      I guess that's sort of a compromise approach. Plus it has double-welt pockets. I think those would be hard to pull off without the stability interfacing provides; I guess it depends on the linen.

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  12. I love Michael's pants and I love them paired with olive green. I really want them. I haven't sewn a lot with linen because I really don't like wearing it. Having said that, I made a black linen blouse that has softened to a charcoal after many washes and I wear it constantly in summer. Linen is one of the nicest fabrics to work with, in my experience. I'll follow your progress on the blazer with interest; I'm keen to see what you decide to do with the pre-treating and fusing.

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  13. I have a question. If the linen is pre-washed, won't a bit of starch provide it's original crisp hand?

    I learned quite a bit from the comments! I would have guessed that if a garment is to be dry cleaned, it would be OK not to pre-wash. Oops. That could have been a disaster!

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  14. I am working on a linen jacket and I pre-washed the fabric because I wanted that casual hand. I wish I had fused interfacing to the hem. Oh well! Live and learn.

    Love all your linen pieces!

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  15. I have made two jackets using simplicity 8368. It's a great pattern with a very nice fit. The lapels are a perfect width. I can't wait to see what you do with it.

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  16. Here is a tip on preparing linen:
    http://www.burdastyle.com/blog/sandra-betzina-on-working-with-linen
    I haven't tried it yet but my friend says it works.

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  17. I shy away from sewing linens for myself because of the problem in wrinkling after washes as well as the shrinkage. I have sewn with them, but never pre-washed once. My customer never asked to have them pre-washed. I was advised to cold wash one purchased plain linen top, and I had a really hard time on the ironing board after that. I love the feel when worn, but the wrinkles were a total turn off. The ones in prints were not that noticeable. I look forward to your updates on how yours will turn out.

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  18. I love linen. I even like the way it wrinkles. I never underline or line my linen clothes because then they would lose that lovely feel.

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  19. A popular German menswear company invented the slogan "Leinen knittert edel" roughly meaning linens wrinkles with style. You will hear that here in any conversation about linen. Wrinkles are part of the linen experience and if you don't like them you better don't sew and wear linen. Personally, I find linen quite tricky to work with and a tailored linen blazer a real challenge. You are quite courageous!

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  20. You're kidding, I just started making myself a blazer! I love that we're doing the same project at the same time. Can't wait to see your process.

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