Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Red Plaid Underdress: Washing the Linen

Fabric as received.  The coins are to give scale.
These pictures show the changes in appearance of my linen fabric after soaking it for about 4 hours in lukewarm water, washing it in lukewarm water, and letting it hang up overnight to dry.  Click on any of the photographs to see the image larger and with more detail.

The first photograph shows the fabric as I received it in the mail, before any soaking or washing was done; I've added a .5 Euro coin and a US quarter to the photographs to give the viewer a better idea of the scale of the grid of the fabric's design.  The Etsy vendor's page said that the squares of the grid are 3/4ths of an inch on each side, and that looks approximately right though I haven't measured them.  

In person, the fabric looks more orange in tone, and less rose-colored, than it does in the as-received photograph, and the grid threads appear to be yellow in the direction of the warp and light sage green in the direction of the weft.  As my first post about the fabric shows, I thought that both sets of grid threads were white when I placed my order, but the difference between the photographs of the fabric on Etsy and the actual appearance of the cloth is subtle enough that I feel no need to complain to the vendor or abandon the project.

Fabric after soaking, washing and hanging to dry.
The second photograph shows the linen after the soaking, washing, and drip-drying had taken place, but before anything else had been done with it.  Because it was taken during the day, with natural sunlight coming in the window, it shows the true colors of the fabric.

At the point where I had the washed and dried fabric, it occurred to me that I didn't really know anything else about the rubbing process.  Do you rub the fabric when it is dry, or  while it is damp?  Maria's post doesn't answer this question, but I've seen at least one Internet article claiming that you should keep a spray bottle of water or other means to keep the cloth damp as you rub.  I will try both approaches, on different parts of the cloth, and photograph each, before I decide on how to treat the rest of the cloth.  At that point, it will be time for another update on this project.

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