Ray Stitch European Linen
This year, we are pleased to introduce our very own, in-house collection of European washed linen as a welcome addition to our Ray Stitch 'exclusives'. We've always been huge fans of linen for garment making and other purposes and have sold many beautiful linens from various suppliers and producers over the years. But these days, responsible sourcing is hugely important and it hasn't always been possible to trace the origins of the fabric. We've also been frustrated by the limited range of colours available and that lead us to seek out a single, reputable manufacturer who could produce high quality cloth in our own choice of colours.
We're delighted with the results of our search, the finished fabric, having undergone an extensive finishing process, is gorgeously soft and flowing and our carefully chosen palette of 16 colours are deep and rich. We've enjoyed making up several garments already and it has behaved impeccably! Easy to sew, forgiving and giving a beautiful drape. The fear of creasing that is associated with wearing linen is overcome when you appreciate the fabric's distinctive and attractive 'soft crumple'.
The flax used to produce the fibres is grown in Northern Europe and woven in Eastern Europe, the fabric is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified.
Linen is a great choice in terms of sustainability and its credentials far outweigh those of cotton:
- Flax grows naturally and thrives in the European climate, it typically requires fewer pesticides, herbicides and fungicides than cotton and its growing term is relatively short meaning that far less water is required over the growing period.
- There is very little waste in the production of linen as parts of the plant can be used for consumption and other products.
- Linen is strong and durable, its good wearing properties will mean that garments last longer.
- Linen is easy to wash and naturally dries quickly.
As we all know linen is a versatile cloth, and the lovely texture and appealing colours of our new European linens have caught the eye of super quilt maker Sarah Hibbert. For those of you who aren't already familiar with her beautiful pieces, check out @quiltscornerstone on instagram - you'll be inspired!
Sarah's skill with colour is renowned and we were thrilled that she used all 16 of our colours in this wonderful quilt. We love it!! This glorious piece is currently on display in our Islington shop so do come and have a look at it if you're nearby, it's well worth it.
So, whatever it is you make, we hope you'll enjoy trying the linen out for yourselves, we'd love to get your feedback so do get in touch.
We are very grateful to GGHQ Fashion Intelligence Ltd– UK and the I Love Linen campaign for information and guidance on our mission. This information on the care of linen is taken from the I Love Linen Website..
Of all fabrics, linen may age the most gracefully. Softening with every wash yet retaining strength, properly looked-after linen can last for generations. We believe loving your clothes for a long time is one of the best ways to be sustainable, so here’s some tips for extending the life of your favourite flaxen fabrics.
The fibres are strongest when they’re damp, so even the most delicate shirts or slips will do well in a washing machine – but always make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before you wash. Keep the water warm or cold – the smooth surface of the flax fibres means stains are easily shed. A 30 degree cycle will also use less energy than other temperatures.
Linen is highly absorbent, soaking up twice its weight in water before dripping. It’s a quality that makes it a superb summer fabric – but also means it should be washed in a machine with plenty of room to spare so it can move around.
In terms of detergent, keep these gentle and avoid bleaching. It’ll weaken the sturdy flax fibres and take years off its life expectancy. If you need to whiten your items, this can be done with oxygen-based bleach.
While washed linen may be tumble-dried at a moderate heat, most of the time you shouldn’t. Tumble-dryers tend to over-dry the fibres and set in those dreaded creases. Instead, hang your items to dry on a line or a clothes horse and dry knitted linens flat. As a quick-drying fabric, it won’t take too long.
We love the relaxed crumples of well-worn linen. These creases get softer and comfier with age and can be enjoyed as the definition of laid-back cool. However, a crisp linen shirt or dress is sometimes desirable. In these cases, you should iron the material while it’s still damp – first on the wrong side to remove the creases, and then on the right side. The temperature of the iron should be chosen based on the fabric’s weight and composition. Pure linen can be ironed at a very high temperature, but blends may not. Experiment first on a corner of the fabric as a too-hot iron can make dark colours turn shiny. A good steam iron works best.