Hot day, cool linen

There’s a heat advisory today. So after a short walk in the shade, I’m staying inside to tell you about my white linen experiment. I love linen. There is no cooler fabric. And if you look close, the weave and texture are lovely.


Linen is made from fibers of the flax plant. Historians say it may be one of the oldest textiles in the world. It was used as currency in ancient Egypt and as wrappings for mummies, to signify wealth and purity. Over the generations it has been favored for bedding and table cloths (hence the term linens), undergarments (as in lingerie), linings (another word relationship!) and many types of clothing, draperies and upholstery. You can get it pure or blended with cotton, poly or silk.


This one is a medium weight 100% linen from Textile Fabrics. It feels heavenly. The wrinkles are part of the look.


The design is by Katherine Tilton, produced by Butterick. It fits nicely into my unfitted summer wardrobe plan.


Before you start this, drink some coffee and focus. For starters, there are 16 pieces to cut out, mostly on one layer because except for facings and pockets there are no two pieces alike. Seven fronts, for example, and four backs — plus the extra trapezoid and half moon I added for length (guess I’m not THAT short!). Watch your grain-lines on the layout. The curves and angles create some bias here and there, which gives you the drape. And if you’re careful with the seam allowances, the patchwork will match up nicely.


Do you notice anything odd, compared to the pattern? Since it’s already an edgy look, I thought I’d try raw, raveled seams. So I made it virtually inside out. With so many pieces, that took some concentration! Then I discovered, though linen usually ravels beautifully, when you cut it on a curve it’s as stable as cardboard. I couldn’t get a thread started no matter how many sharp implements I tried! So I just finished it as usual… and it’s reversed. The right is on the left and the left is on the right! Which doesn’t matter at all, but I learned something!


Another thing I changed was to leave the collar off. I like the asymmetry of it, but in the white linen reminded me of something a pilgrim might have worn, which didn’t fit into my wardrobe plan at all. And it’s just too hot for a collar!


This will make a good walking dress. Stay in the shade today y’all!


6 thoughts on “Hot day, cool linen

  1. Gorgeous! I have this pattern, but haven’t made it yet. Your version inspires me, as I’m all about ‘unfitted’ when it comes to summer. But I’m a tad bit intimidated by the sixteen (16!!!) pieces. OMG, really?

    1. Oh don’t worry about that! I just pointed it out because I was kind of amazed. It did take a while to cut it out but once I got started putting it together I realized it’s not a difficult pattern. Think of it as just sewing the front and back together, but you have to assemble them first! I want to see your version!

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