Linen is the perfect summer fabric because it feels cool against your skin. It's breathable and ideal for hot weather. And it's stronger than cotton. Linen is also environment-friendly being made of flax plant fibers and is hypo allergenic. The more you wash linen, the softer it gets. And it’s one of the only fabrics acceptable to wear ironed or wrinkled in its natural state.
Known to be a high-quality fabric, linen tends to be more expensive. Let’s arm you with some helpful tips on how you can care for your linen garment to make it last many seasons.
Caring for Linen: Preshrinking
Linen can have a high shrink rate. It’s terribly frustrating finding a great fitting top, just to see it shrunk over a size after the first wash. To help protect against excessive shrinkage, gently washing all fabrics with no detergents is the first step I take for all Mallory Bloom garments. Through the wash/dry cycle, the fabric is preshrunk before I cut any pieces and sew. Once you wash the garment the linen fibers tighten a bit, but don’t typically shrink. This helps ensure a great fit for you.
Caring for Linen: Washing
Once you have your garment, always read through the care label. These are designed based on the fabric at hand, and if followed, should keep your garment in good shape. With linen, wash on a low temperature and use mild laundry detergent. The more you wash linen, the softer it gets with time.
Caring for Linen: Drying
I like to pull my linen out of the wash quickly after its done, which helps keep wrinkles to a minimum. Linen has a natural wrinkle to it, which is totally acceptable to wear. However, to avoid an iron, pull it out of the wash, gently stretch as you flatten it out on top of your washing machine (or another flat surface), and let it air dry. You can also use the dryer, just keep it on a low tumble cycle and pull the garment out when it is a tiny bit damp, then let it finish air drying.
Caring for Linen: Ironing
Because linen is a strong non-stretchy fabric, ironing on high heat gets wrinkles out and won’t damage your garment. Just be sure to use the linen/cotton setting and keep the iron moving. If you like your linen crisp, you can use a finishing spray, similar to starch but not harsh and doesn’t leave any marks on the fabric. My favorite is Mary Ellen’s Best Press.
Caring for Linen: Storing
Like most things, you want to keep your linen garments in a cool and dry place. You can hang your linen garments or keep them folded. Hanging will keep the wrinkles down.