My first sewing project was made out of cotton, and I am willing to bet that yours was too. I made a purple gingham pillow cover in Home Economics class. I loved it and can still remember slip-stitching it closed (I thought the slip-stitch was the cleverest thing Id ever seen). Ever since that first experience I have loved the straightforward charms of cotton and its close friend, linen.
With all of todays emphasis on the newest, the latest, the most high-tech, its refreshing to rediscover the classics: linen and cotton. But classic doesnt have to mean boring.
I visited a fine fabric store the other day and was amazed by the huge variety of cottons and linens that I found -- from playful to quietly elegant to vibrant to sophisticated. It was truly inspiring.
Linens and cottons are easy to find, easy to work with, and easy to wear and maintain. They are reasonably priced and available in an astonishing range of weights and weaves: from the softest cotton lawns, voiles, and handkerchief linens to the sheerest dotted Swiss, batistes, and organzas to the crispest piqus, chintzes, ginghams, and polished cottons to the most elegant European prints and matelasss to delicately intricate eyelets, laces, and embroideries to the firmest ottomans, failles, twills, and ducks to the sturdiest canvases and heavy-weight linens. Despite their enormous variety, what these fabrics do have in common is a straightforward ease of handling, along with predictable behavior and uncomplicated wear and care. Like the best of friends, linen and cotton fabrics are cooperative and dependable, and seldom difficult.
A garment may begin with design or fabric, but its ultimate success depends upon the compatibility of the two. In turn, that rests largely with the sewers familiarity with the fabric. What does it love to do? What does it hate to do? What does it do well? What does it resist doing? Answer these questions and youll be able to make the most of your fabric.
As this is a fiber-oriented book (as opposed to a garment-oriented book), its useful to have at least a basic acquaintance with fibers, processing, weaves, dyeing techniques, and finishes. Although similar in many ways, linen and cotton react differently to processing and surface treatments. What they have in common is that theyre grown, harvested, processed, woven, dyed, and treated -- usually, but not always, in that order. Not only is the processing of these fibers a fascinating subject in itself, a familiarity with it will broaden your knowledge and appreciation of them, and make you better able to use them well.
Included in this book are a number of sample garments, which cover a range of styles, fabrications, and techniques. The garments range from the elegant to the casual, from styles with careful shaping to those that are soft and flowing. Youll see the broad range of cottons and linens put to their best use, with a variety of applications for seams, seam finishes, pockets, closures, hems, and finishing details.
Linen and cotton fabrics can serve for many occasions. As you get to know them, or get to know them better, youll discover their individuality and come to appreciate their charms. Youll also learn how to choose and care for cotton and linen before, during, and after construction, so you can use them with confidence from start to finish. I know youll enjoy choosing them, working with them, and wearing them.