Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I'm a Linen Lover!

If you ask around, you will find that there are "linen lovers" and "linen haters." Both are passionate in their opinions, some backed by personal experience with the fabric, some just anti-anything that doesn't look like it just came out of the dry cleaners.

Count me among the the lovers of linen - especially at this time of the year. These hot California summers wreak havoc on our ability to stay cool and I have found that my best offense is wearing natural fibers such as cotton, silk and linen.

Linen textiles appear to be some of the oldest in the world: their history goes back many thousands of years. Fragments of straw, seeds, fibers, yarns, and various types of fabrics which date back to about 8000 BC have been found in Swiss lake dwellings. Dyed flax fibers found in a prehistoric cave in Georgia suggest the use of woven linen fabrics from wild flax may date back even earlier to 36,000 BP. (Wikipedia).
File:Linen cloth.jpg
Linen cloth recovered from Qumran Cave 1
near the Dead Sea.
Linen fabric feels cool to the touch. It is smooth, making the finished fabric lint-free, and gets softer the more it is washed. The tendency to wrinkle is often considered part of the fabric's particular "charm", and a lot of modern linen garments are designed to be air-dried on a good hanger and worn without the necessity of ironing.

Sandra Betzina, one of my favorite Vogue designers and instructors here at Stonemountain, gave us some hints about preparing linen for sewing:

"If you want for your linen to wrinkle a lot less, do the following: Before you preshrink , open the windows and iron the linen with the hottest dry iron possible, to set a wrinkle-less finish,which is already on the fabric. Next, throw in a little detergent and wash and dry in the hottest water and hottest dryer you have. Take out of the dryer when close to bone dry. You will notice that smaller softer wrinkles have replaced the hard crease usually associated with the fabric."

We thought we'd try it. I wanted another pair of the pencil pants (New Look #6163) made out of the Debussy Denim. I chose our Handkerchief Linen in a soft beige.

Here's the fabric before Laurel washed it:

And here is the linen after it was "Sandra Betzina'd"):

The once semi-crisp nature of the linen is transformed 
into a dreamy, soft fabric perfect for summer pants!

The wonderful tie-dye inspired knit top with my new linen pants will go with so much for the summer. It is New Look 6102. I will write more on this in a future blog.

Laurel made herself a great pair of crop pants using the Nevada Linen - read about hers on Laurel's Quill. It was her pattern design, but easily modified to fit my shape. 'We can be twins!' we laughed together.

 We have a pattern here at Stonemountain from the Sewing Workshop that 
features a pair of pants very similar to Laurel's design. 

I chose two handkerchief linens for my crop pants and used the same pre-washing tip from Sandra: a soft celery green and a crisp white. White linen pants are classic for summertime, and yes, you can go to the local Tommy Bahama shop and get a great pair for some $$. But isn't that the whole point of fashion sewing for yourself - that whole idea of "money saving, get exactly what I want"?

These unlined pants are super easy to make - few seams, a waistline casing for elastic, and machine hemmed. I love this lightweight linen, but I will need to exercise some forethought when I pick out my underwear! LOL!!

Here I am being fitted for these amazing handkerchief linen pant!

...and here they are done! I cannot wait for Laurel to come visit me on 
Thursday with all these goodies!!!

White Linen Crop Pants
Celery Linen Crop Pants

Wow was this a great "fitting" experience! Sorry Laurel that my Whole9- 30 Day Nutritional eating plan has you taking in my pants again!  I love this photo which catches the ecstasy of having clothes made 
and how good it can be!

All this sharing is making me hungry! I love cooking up chicken with lots of organic vegetables and adding coconut milk, basil, tumeric, curry and lots of love! I am on day 39 (yep 30 was not enough for this body) and feel the best I have ever felt - I love seeing and feeling the results in my body.

Ok, so I admit I have a sweet tooth! In fact I have never gone 38 days without any type of sugar or honey before. So when Mary Jane, my co-worker and the manager of Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, told me about Fudge Babies made from dates and walnuts and cacao nibs, I got excited and went home and made them out the healthy ingredients I had in my pantry! Oh by the way Mary Jane is now on day 18 of the Whole9/30 Day reset!!! Go Mary Jane!!! I can't wait to share these with her when I see her.

Ingredients:  Organic Dates (pitted), Raw Walnuts, Raw Cacao Nibs, Ground Vanilla & liquid organic vanilla, Coconut Butter, Coconut Flakes (optional) - all blended together and then made into these bite size yummy Fudge Babies of Bliss!  Let refrigerate and eat cold!

Take a look and don't you wish you could try one!

Happy Sewing and Healthy Eating!
a.k.a. FabricLady

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  1. Zan you have the best job in the world! I love your blog and I love that I met you in 7th grade sewing class! I am trying to plan another visit to Berkley!


  2. Hey Bether, I do I do!!! It's a gift of my lineage and I honor my fathers and mothers before me, with this work I do! I will be in L.A. next month on a buying trip and would love to see you! Let me know when you are coming up this way and we can go get another healthy lunch :)
    love always,

  3. Zan,
    The fudge Babies should be called "supper fudge awesomeness" because that's what they were. My tummy is so happy! Thanks for sharing - Mary Jane

  4. I have more super fudge awesomeness to share tomorrow! Yay!

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