[Northkeep] linen-rayon blends...?

Jennifer Carlson talana1 at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 18 17:30:44 PDT 2004

Talana puts on her teaching cap and adjusts for fit:

Linen/rayon, hmm?

Anawyn pretty much hit it on the head about the fabric's qualities.  Linen 
and rayon are both botanical in nature.  Linen is the 'bast' fiber beneath 
the bark of flax stems.  Rayon is cellulose, which is an extruded substance 
made from wood pulp.  If wasps made thread instead of paper, they'd make 

The two fibers have some features in common, namely that they do wrinkle and 
they are both cool.  Rayon does not wick moisture out the way linen does, 
and linen does not take dye as easily.  Linen has a drape that shimmies, 
because the fibers are in a kind of reverse tension - they'd rather be free 
than hang together (like, say, wool).  If you take a length of linen with a 
cut edge and snap the fabric as you would a towel, the threads will try to 
fly off.  Rayon doesn't have this annoying tendency.

I personally find that rayon doesn't breathe as well, which I attribute to 
the process by which it's made.  But it's still a long cry better than 
'true' synthetics.

That said:  the blend is a quite reasonable substitute, but do remember a 
blend will not have the same drape or reflective properties of pure linen, 
if that's what you're looking for.  Otherwise, go with it.

If you're wanting to guage how much of which fiber your fabric has, look at 
the end of the bolt.  The higher the linen (flax) content, the more like 
linen it's going to look and act; the reverse goes for the rayon content.  
Rayon is added to linen for two reasons - to stabilize the insoliationist 
attitude of the flax fibers, and to reduce cost.

I can tell you how to do a burn test and all that, but the fiber content 
should be listed on the bolt.

If you're having trouble ironing your linen - or rayon, cotton, or wool, for 
that matter - try mixing a couple teaspoons white vinegar in a cup of water 
and spritzing your fabric with that.  Vinegar has this magic quality of 
making a fabric let go of wrinkles.  And conversely, it helps to set pleats, 
espeically in wool.  If you don't like the smell of vinegar, mix in a little 
rosewater as well.  I've used this as a pressing spray for years and really 
like it.

And always, always remember:  coupons are good.  Especially fabric coupons.  
We likes fabric coupons.

In servicio,


In a garrulous and pedantic mood today

>From: "Zubeydah" <zubeydah at northkeep.org>
>Reply-To: The Barony of Northkeep <northkeep at ansteorra.org>
>To: <northkeep at ansteorra.org>
>CC: mooneschadowe at yahoogroups.com
>Subject: [Northkeep] linen-rayon blends...?
>Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 07:52:03 -0500
>Do any of our sewing divas have experiences with linen-rayon blends they 
>could share? Good, bad, or indifferent? That's about all my local Jo-Anne's 
>carries when it comes to anything with the word 'linen' in it... Hancocks 
>has 100% linen, but strangely enough, they don't take Jo-Anne's coupons... 
>Northkeep mailing list
>Northkeep at ansteorra.org

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