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Warm weather brings dreams of warm beaches in white linen pants, navy linen shifts, floral linen skirts. Some of the things that makes linen such a favorite is that it can be machine-washed and dried and it is cool to wear since it breathes and seems to get better with age.

If you love bias cut garments, linen makes a great choice since it drapes well on the bias while being stable to work on. Why not try your hand on linen and bias at the same time in A-line shift Vogue Pattern 1101, as shown above left? Since this is one the Today’s Fit patterns I designed, it fits differently that other Vogue Patterns. Today’s Fit sizing is based on ready to wear sizing. Since each pattern is multi-sized, simply use the size you measure in different areas of your body. Or try these great patterns from BurdaStyle: JJ blouse, Liz blouse, Linda Skirt, Tonia Shorts

A trick, which will really cut down on wrinkling, is to press the fabric with a dry hot iron, followed by prewashing in a hot machine wash and hot dryer. This will soften the fibers, making it drape better and less likely to wrinkle excessively. Linen does still wrinkle a bit but perhaps that is part of its charm. Linen is not needle-particular, a 80/12 H would be my first choice. Linen is not thread-particular either. You can sew with cotton or polyester thread using a stitch length of 2/5mm.

If you are sewing on bias, sew seams with a small zig zag (1.0mm width and 2.5mm length) to allow the seams relax as the bias cut fabric relaxes. Since bias does not ravel, no seam finish is necessary. If you are working on a garment cut straight of grain, my seam finish preference would be flat fell since it is easy to iron and finishes off the seam cleanly. “Let a bias cut garment hang for 24 hours before hemming “. This old adage can be ignored if you steam press the garment well after construction, intentionally stretching the fabric up and down on the garment as you press. This will simulate the heat of the body and enable you to hem sooner. Bias does relax as it is pressed and hang uneven in different places, so I would suggest marking hem with a hem marker after steam pressing.

Do you have any linen projects in the works? Check out these awesome member creations made in linen and get inspired.

Sandra Betzina, host of the Power Sewing WebTV Show and the Power Sewing Learn to Sew Series, is a world-renowned sewing instructor.

Sandra is the author of More Fabric Savvy, Fast Fit, Power Sewing Step-by-Step, No Time to Sew and Sandra Betzina Sews for Your Home. She has produced a skill series of 11 DVDs and also designs a full line of patterns for Vogue under the Today’s Fit Tab. Sandra is also a popular speaker and hosts several week-long sewing retreats in San Francisco throughout the year.

For more great tips on working with denim and many other types of fabrics, refer to More Fabric Savvy and enroll in the Power Sewing WebTV Show.


  • Lulusroom_large

    Mar 28, 2010, 02.38 PMby vintagerouge

    Yay linen! I love the look and feel of it and don’t mind the wear wrinkles after I’ve ironed it. I often apply a little spray starch just to give it a little extra crispness.

    Thanks for the tips, Sandra!

  • Photoge01_large

    Mar 24, 2010, 05.14 PMby gedwoods

    It’s great to have such a knowledgeable person share tips with us! I have most of your books, Sandra – they are fabulous resources.

  • Jocelyn_xmittens_wax_hoodie_vest_and_tank_large

    Mar 24, 2010, 03.24 PMby xmittens

    I love linen! Dyeing linen using Japanese shibori techniques is dreamy!

    I’ve been exploring combining linen with light fabrics like silk organza to make fun and beautiful things to wear. Here’[s a few photos of my latest creations: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7362889@N03/sets/72157623560208547/

  • 12068bdcf8f8559de50b4f6ade48c167b5d6c5cd_large

    Mar 24, 2010, 05.31 AMby ncn6

    Ooh, thanks! Timely post for me too, since I’m just about to start a pair of linen pants. I’ll try that pre-treating trick for sure. As an aside, I’d love to see more of these guest posts on how to work with particular fabrics.

  • Missing

    Mar 24, 2010, 01.37 AMby calendar

    These are some great tips on linen. I really would like to try working with linen, but I commonly hear that it “grows,” and that makes me hesitate. Is this something that always happens, and that I should just deal with, or is there a way to prevent it from “growing”?

  • 5zfcwiy0_large

    Mar 23, 2010, 06.27 PMby ustreetmove

    I just scored some linen and was wondering how to handle the fabric. Thanks so much for this timely post!

  • 5ff45cec2c26ab285f99e0eec5920d7e656545d6_large

    Mar 23, 2010, 06.04 PMby pranamama

    I just whipped up a linen outfit for my little one. http://www.flickr.com/photos/reedlepageandrews/4450984363/in/photostream/

    I love it for children. I love it for me :) Thanks for the tips!

  • Img_0617_large

    Mar 23, 2010, 05.15 PMby messagemug

    I always like a natural fibre so I love sewing with linen! Light and comforatable like cotton, but with a stretch and structure that cannot be duplicated. I’m concentrating on finishing a brown linen print of the Kaisa high waisted skirt for the spring…

    • This is a question
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