how to tell fabrics

Nobody is going to like this answer: No magic bullets! familiarize yourself with what’s out there. You must touch as many fabrics, old and new, as you can. Go to fabric stores, antiques malls, vintage clothing shops, bed and bath places as well as department stores. Read labels and assess quality.

Linen is cool to the touch when compared to other fabrics. Old, very high quality linen is positively icy. When being ironed, it can also get blistering hot.

There is a book on vintage linens and lace (I can’t remember which one; I’ll try to find it and update this post at some point) which lists attributes of different fabrics. I can tell silk by its smell, along with its hand.

Practice.

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3 Responses to “how to tell fabrics”

  1. Nini Says:

    Thanks for the advice. We live in such an age that everything is labeled and categorized – maybe it’s good to have to build up a skill and knowledge base!

  2. ggbuda Says:

    Hi- Perhaps this is not the best place to pose a question about identifying marks on a textile…but, maybe someone on his blog can help. I recently purchased a vintage linen damask table cloth. Throughout the cloth two small crowns are woven, always “double crowns”, side-by-side, simple, but never-the-less present on this cloth. Not an embroidery or stitching…actually woven here and there. Any ideas who was the weaver or mill, etc? Would love to know more about my cloth.

    • linenmaven Says:

      that info has been lost but some people are trying to research list of weaving companies.
      we do know that there had been 800 damask weaving companies in Ireland in one city alone! each company also wove around 800 of their own original designs.

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