Dress Sewing Patterns and Linen, the Perfect Pairing!

While designing dress sewing patterns, movement of the dress, with a flattering bodice and comfort were key elements and my focus to create the perfect dress, such as the Maxi Dress Sewing Pattern. Linen is the perfect textile for this garment. Pure linen drapes and moves with this garment in a way that is superior to other textiles. 

The biggest pitfall that many people do not like are the wrinkles. But hey, we all wrinkle! The key I found to avoiding many of the smaller, "crinkly" lines, is using a heavier weight (8oz - 10 oz or heavier), as well as construction techniques to allow the garment to hold its structure and drape. Such as flat felled seams, as mentioned in my previous blog

Linen, created from the flax plant, is one of the oldest textiles known, dating back to 8000 bc. The Egyptians used it for currency and in the mummifying process. 

Photo by Smithore/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Smithore/iStock / Getty Images

Flax Facts – 

•    Growing season is only 100 days
•    Crops of Flax require fewer pesticides and fertilizers. 
•    The entire plant, roots included is harvested and used.
•    Hypoallergenic
•    Strong and durable, especially while wet.
•    The more you wear/use linen, the softer and stronger it becomes.
•    Lint free
•    Dyes easily
•    Biodegradable if untreated.

Heavy weight linen in the summer months? What about the heat? I can tell you from my experience how comfortable linen, heavier weights included, can be in extreme temperatures.

Linen is capable of holding up to 20% moisture without feeling damp and quickly releases moisture to the air while feeling cool and dry to the touch.*

My family and I spent the summer of 2013 in Munich, Germany. Bavaria is typically cooler, but that summer, Europe experienced a massive heat wave during our entire stay. Temps between 95 – 105 degrees every day and little to no relief overnight. 

I was testing my collection at the time. The samples were never intended to leave our apartment. It was stifling hot, and I found out quickly that my sample pieces, made of heavy upholstery weight, reclaimed linen, was cooler than any other clothes I had packed. We had a combination washer/dryer in our apartment. I never used the dryer and line dried our clothes on the patio. My samples dried faster than the lightest weight cotton and microfibers.

After several weeks of stifling heat, I ended up wearing my samples every day and the slip dress to sleep. The Sleeveless Shift Dress sewing pattern sample, had pockets in two different locations, a neckline that was a wee bit too low and mended sample fabric but ended up being my go to dress for casual work functions during my husband’s work functions. I wore my hair up, neutral flat sandals, a great lipstick, and a smile. The dress was perfect with all its imperfections. 

Sleeveless Shift Dress Sewing Pattern first draft

Sleeveless Shift Dress Sewing Pattern first draft

Care – 

Laundering is a cinch. Machine wash, gentle cycle. I use a detergent with a balanced PH, such as Ecos. OxiClean is my "go to" for stain removal and brightening. Bleach and dry cleaning are not recommended. Chemicals are too harsh and will break down fibers.

Tumble dry on a gentle setting and take the garment out of the dryer when it’s just a bit damp. Give it a shake, hang it up and smooth out the fabric and then allow it to dry hanging. Iron with steam if a crisp finish is your preference. 

Sewing with Linen -

Heavier weight material can be a bit daunting to sew. As always, prewashing, drying and then ironing the fabric before laying out to cut. Pressing each seam and allowing the press to cool will also help while working through the thick material. 

Sewing with linen is slow fashion at its finest, take your time. Especially while top stitching and working on angles. You are crafting a timeless garment with world’s oldest and most perfect textile! Enjoy!

Happy sewing!

Kim


*Source: Libeco Belgian Linen

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