After talking so much about my love of linen in recent weeks and having included so many linen pieces in this season, I wanted to talk a little about caring for it so that it lasts a lifetime. Linen is such a versatile and low-maintenance fabric, being both beautiful in its irregularity and hardy enough to keep up with the wonderful messiness of busy lives. Whether covered in flour from baking, paint splattered in the studio or speckled with dirt from picnics in the park, linen washes quickly and easily and if anything gets better with age. Here are a few of my top tips for looking after your linen:
- Linen fibres are actually most strong when wet, so can easily hold up in the washing machine.
- Cool wash your linen - I recommend 30 degrees. Whilst all my linen has been preshrunk and treated, it's both better for the linen fibres and the environment. Because linen fibres are so smooth stains are easily removed, so high temperatures aren't necessary.
- Linen is highly absorbent; perfect for summer dresses, but needs to be considered when washing as it can soak up twice its weight before dripping. Make sure there is plenty of room in the drum.
- Use fabric softener if preferred ( but not necessary)
I find my dresses age best when I tumble dry them as it keeps the dresses soft and floppy and creases just hang out. Use a warm setting, not too cold and not too hot.
In the summer, I like to hang my dresses outside on the line. This lets the creases fall out (although a few creases in the right places help to give linen that body and effortless charm - see below), and also gives them that summer fresh smell and looks lovely hanging in the garden.
Creasing, not Ironing
- Sometimes before I wear my dresses I 'twist' my linen to give it the right sort of creases. A strategic twist removes any harsh creases whilst giving a gently wave to the fabric that gives it more movement and body when on. See the photo below for the two different 'twist knots' that I use.
- If you like a crisper dress you can iron it, just make sure you do so on the reverse first to remove the creases whilst damp, then on the front.
- Linen softens with age, so the longer you wear it, wash it and love it the floppier and comfier it gets. Gathers ripple smoothly, the fabric relaxes into the curves of your body. Linen is truly meant to be worn over a lifetime, improving in beauty with age just as the women who wear it.
I hope this has been helpful and encourages you to wear your linen pieces again and again.