I've had an interest in linen (100% flax linen that is) lately...partly sparked after reading a book by Melanie Ellison, and then checking out her home-based business http://www.lifegivinglinen.com/about-us.html
Melanie's business is purely sewing and selling linen manchester (including linen sanitary pads and cloth toilet paper) and clothing. She talks about the health benefits of wearing, using and sleeping in real linen. This makes sense to me, as linen was such a popular biblical fabric, and there had to be a reason for it.
But linen being costly, and me being in a completely different continent to Melanie, I decided against ordering through her business as postage etc are a bit excessive. So what to do next?
I started scanning gumtree for linen and found someone selling a vintage, unused, Irish Linen double sheet for $5. It still had the old sticker on it to state it was pure Irish Linen.
More recently I found someone selling 30m of natural linen for a bargain...so scooped that up too. But it had no label to identify it's purity. And neither did the linen remnant I found at an op shop today.
So how do you find out whether it's really linen or not?
Well it turns out (maybe you already know this) that there are several simple tests for identifying linen...and other fabrics.
First you need to be willing to sacrifice a small scrap of the fabric.
Next, you'll need one or more of these...oil, water, ink, flame, cotton fabric scrap.
Test 1: Drop a drop or so of water on the fabric. If it absorbs quickly and evenly, it's probably linen. If it's cotton the water will sit on the surface for a moment and then absorb.
Test 2: Drop a drop of ink on the surface of the fabric. If it spreads rapidly and evenly, it's linen. If there's cotton there it will spread unevenly.
Test 3: Drop a drop or so of oil on the fabric. If the spot appears transparent when held up to the light, it's linen.
Test 4: Unravel a thread and take a look. If it's linen the thread will be longer and have luster compared to cotton.
Test 5: You need some fabric you know is cotton for comparison, but take your scraps of each linen and cotton and watch them burn carefully. Linen burns slightly slower than cotton.
So there you go! I was pleased to find the fabric I bought is in fact real linen. If you give this a go, let us know what you found!
Hi, my name is Racheal and I write the blog for Simple Living Toowoomba. Thanks for joining us on this journey to living a simpler life and encouraging others to do the same.