Tips for Sewing Linen

Linen is classic and comes in a variety of fresh colors. It is cool and comfortable and can be dressy or casual. Handkerchief linen is easy for beginners to sew; heavier weights are easy once you have developed a little skill. Linen has a tendency to ravel and so your seams must be finished. It also wrinkles easily. Despite these drawbacks, linen is great for spring clothes.

Follow these steps when working with linen:

  • If you are going to wash your garment, pre-wash the fabric and dry it before you cut it out. If you plan on having the garment dry-cleaned, then pre-treat the fabric by having it dry-cleaned or by steam pressing it.
  • Use a machine needle between size 10 and size 14, depending on the weight of the linen.
  • Set the machine stitch length at 2.5-3mm. Lightly balance the tension. Test stitch length and tension on a scrape of linen before beginning.
  • Use lightweight or all purpose thread.
  • Use safety pins to mark the right side of your fabric when laying it out.
  • Do not use erasable pens to mark linen; it can be easily damaged by these and by colored chalk and wax. White chalk, pins, and clipping the fabric are good ways to mark linen.
  • Finish seams by pinking the edges or binding them. Pinking is easiest for beginners. It is less time consuming than most methods and it is a classic finish. You can also serge linen seams, which is a quick method for casual garments if you are used to using the serger.
  • Linen is not easy to ease, so choose a pattern that requires little easing. Shrink and shape the sleeve caps by steam pressing before setting the sleeves into the garment.
  • Topstitching works well on linen. Linen is also great for machine embroidery.

Useful Links

Ready to try it out? Find a variety of linen here.