--- In SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com
, "cuvien1438" <cuvien1438@...> wrote:
> Hello again,
> I'm hoping someone here might help me pick a fabric weight for the
> braies I'm planning to make. Actually, a shirt too.
My favorite braies and shirts are made of 2.5 to 3 oz. linen. The biggest problem with
finding the right linen is not the weight, but the tightness of weave. A lot of modern
linens, especially the lower priced ones get a light weight by making a weave with not very
many threads to the inch, and the thread is kind of coarse. This makes a sheer look and
isn't very strong, fine for gauzy curtains but it won't hold up to the kind of strain clothing
gets. The best is fabric made of a *lot* of very fine threads, tightly woven together. You
want a "thread count" of 160 or more, over 200 if you can get it (that's the number of
threads per inch each way added together). Still light, but denser and strong.
> Also, as for the color, I understand that historically, underclothes
> were white or at least white-ish. What color would that translate into
> with respect to our modern fabric choices? Is natural o.k. or is that
> too brownish for a Lord, or am I way off base? Did our ancestors have
> bleach? And isn't bleach damaging to flax linen?
Bleach (chlorine) won't do linen nearly as much harm as it will wool or silk (which will
dissolve...), but it has to be diluted in a lot of water before it touches the fabric. The
other kind, (peroxide) can be used safely. "Natural" covers a lot of territory. I've bought
truly "greige" (right off the loom with no processing) linen which is dark grey/beige,
smells like grass, and gives off huge amounts of gooey brown gunk in the first wash
waters. I've also bought linen described as "natural" which was a light, creamy colour and
would be just fine for high-class underwear. It takes about a summer's worth of laying
grey linen that has had the brown goo boiled out of it on the grass in the sun (the *old*
way of bleaching linen) to get it white, keeping it wet and turning it over every day, so
that's pretty labour intensive. Sun-bleached linen isn't as strong as unbleached, but it's
plenty strong enough to last a hundred years of use or so. I have bed-sheets and table
cloths at least that old that I use regularly, but I don't put chlorine bleach on them, ever.
> That's a lot of questions . . .
Be careful what you ask for... 8-)