One Squirrely Lake O’ Linen

Pattern transferred to grid

Pattern transferred to grid

I can only stay away from sewing for so long, then I get itchy/twitchy/antsy. So, yesterday I played around with the linen a bit. As I mentioned before, linen is a new experience for me. I started out with the smaller pieces to keep the learning easier: sleeve, cuff and sleeve gusset. It’s going fairly smoothly and I hope to have some real progress to share soon…maybe even a complete sleeve by the end of the month. Not bad, considering all the preparations for the move.

Yesterday I was going to cut out the large pieces: the rectangle that makes up the body of the chemise and the triangular piece that is cut from the main block, flipped upside down and added to the lower half of the sides to widen the hem. I know…it sounds confusing if you’ve never done it before, but it makes complete sense when you see it, and I will show the process.

I can’t get to my cutting table, or much of anything else at the moment, so I used the kitchen island counter top for cutting. The way this pattern works, you take the length of fabric for the body of the chemise and fold it in half lengthwise (selvage-to-selvage), then fold it in half widthwise (end-to-end). Now you have a four-layer rectangle from which you cut the body of the chemise.

Why do this? Because now, in just one cutting, when you unfold it you have one large piece of fabric which gives you a chemise that is seamless at the shoulders, the front and the back. Think of it as fabric origami and you’re making a really weird-looking rectangular snowflake (without the diagonal fold).

square snowflake,

square snowflake,

The problem I’m having is getting and keeping this big chunk of lightweight linen folded on the grain. It flows and creeps and slides. I have trouble keeping the grain lines straight. I don’t know the density of the weave, but it’s tight enough that I haven’t been able to fold it straight by eye alone.

So this is a call out for help, please. Does anyone out there know how to “square up” this squirrely thing? Can I pull threads on such a large piece to find and follow the grain? All help and suggestions appreciated.



2 thoughts on “One Squirrely Lake O’ Linen

  1. I’d pull threads. I’ve done that with large pieces of fabric, though I’m not sure how that compares to your large piece. Nevertheless I’d still pull threads. I’ve seen the Colonial Williamsburg milliner do this with large pieces before too.

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