Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Attention linen experts!

I have a question for you. A few months ago I bought this cute 100% linen print from Denverfabrics.com. I've ordered linen from them before without incident. But this stuff is super stiff!!!

I have washed it in the washing machine on cold and line dried it 3 times now thinking the more you wash linen the softer it becomes. Is this actually true? It is still very stiff. I wanted to make a cute little skirt to match this sweater, but if it won't get any softer I'm going to have to find another project to use it for. I don't like to use fabric softener because my skin is allergic to the perfumes in it. Any thoughts or suggestions?

16 comments:

  1. I'm sure you've thought of this, but how about using a pattern for a structured garment that would work with a stiff fabric? Like a pencil skirt?

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  2. It would make a great tote or shopping bag. :) I'd say if it hasn't softened after three washes it's time to accept it's a stiff fabric. I hate it when this happens though, so I understand the disappointment. I've bought a lot of fabrics on-line I wasn't happy with.

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  3. Louise Cutting says that The trick to softening linen is to wash it and then dry it in the dryer . (3 to 4 times for both!) I have done this with several pieces of linen and have been pleased with the result. Why don't you give it a try- it is too cute to not use!
    Dotty

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  4. I have also heard if you wash it with a little Dawn (by hand) it will remove the oils and soften the linen.

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  5. I sew with a great deal of linen. I do the pre wash on HOT and dry in the dryer. A couple of trips around the old Kenmore and it is very soft. I recently did this on some very heavy home dec linen and it worked beautifully. After it is constructed, I am a little kinder. Anything tailored would be hand washed or dry cleaned as the construction requires. Anything with color other than pastel gets a cool wash. But it will soften in the prewash. Expect it to shrink but not too much.

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  6. I suspect that the stiffness is in the weave. Washing may relax it but not totally. Perhaps a cropped jacket like your red one might be the go?

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  7. Hi Amanda,

    Hope this helps in some way

    Visit the below link

    http://thelaststitch.blogspot.com/2009/03/fabric-fact-friday-linen.html

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  8. Agree with Bunny; wash it as warm as you dare (concerned about the print) and then tumble dry. Line drying linen makes it stiff as does ironing but as soon as you wear it it softens again. I love linen and would make all my clothes in linen fabric if I could afford it. It's VERY expensive in Europe but it's also the strongest natural fabric you can get, imho, it will last for years. Don't use a polyester thread when sewing it though, that will wear the linen quickly because linen is more open weave then cotton and moves more both during wearing and in the wash.

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  9. I agree with other posters, definitely wash it in warmer water and machine dry it, I often find fabric and larger garments/towels etc. go stiff as a board when I line dry. Fingers crossed!

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  10. Hi Amanda!

    Have you tried a fabric softener? Here (in Germany) you can buy fabric softener for allergic skin in a pharmacy or a drugstore. It´s without perfume and it works!

    Otherwise I can just agree with the other posters and suggest warm water and machine dryer.

    I´ll keep my fingers crossed for you! The fabric is really cute!
    Best wishes from Germany, Vanessa

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  11. hot water wash. tumble dry high, use a shoe or something to beat it up if you think it needs it. Linen isn't delicate unless its blouse weight (then I'd skip that shoe). It will shrink. I dye a lot of linen, and put it through tough treatment and it just gets nice and soft.

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  12. I did wait and read through all the responses and I agree with Mandi. Stick one of your son's sneakers in with the wash. It will beat the linen up and relax the fibers. Then use the dryer...if this process doesn't work, you will have to rethink what you want to make with it!

    Some home dec linens are woven with a stronger flax and different weave to withstand wear...maybe you've purchased a home dec linen inadvertently.

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  13. I stopped using fabric softener years ago and substitute distilled white vinegar instead. No, there isn't any vinegar smell after the laundry is done. :-)

    The vinegar aids in rinsing and softening. I use 1/4 cup in the fabric softener dispenser. Internet searches should turn up lots of info on this if you're interested.

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  14. I recently bought some printed linen from Denver fabrics. Mine is stiff also. It almost seems like it should be used for upholstery.I haven't tried to wash mine yet because I don't know what I'm going to make with it, but I think I will try that. Good luck!

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  15. Funny, I bought a cotton lawn from Denver Fabrics and it was stiff too. I throw my son's old sneaker in the dryer all the time to soften up clothes and linen. Works great.

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  16. I haven't done a whole lot with linens, but I do know this. Put in a couple tablespoons of vinegar during the rinse cycle. It works as a fabric softener and it also cuts down on suds in front load washers. I do this for most of my clothes :)

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