--- In SCA-Garb@y..., tressena2000@y... wrote:
> I'm going to make a chiton for the very hot summers here. The
> suggested fabric is natural linen? Will linen be see through so
> I would have to wear something else underneath? Is there a fabric
> that will still be period but not have to wear layers?
Linen comes in every weight from see-through hanky-weight to stuff
you can make sails and tents out of. The ultra-light weights are
actually the most expensive.
So pick the weight you like. The trick with purchasing linen is not
to be fooled by the evil JO-Ann fabric store which sometimes sells
polyester "linen-look" fabrics as linen. (Fabric outlets will
sometimes do this also) Read the fiber content label to verify that
a bolt of linen-look did not get racked in with the actual linen.
You can also distinguish linen by feel. Linen sometimes feels rough
& a little burlappy, but also crisp at the same time (Don't get this
to wear next to your skin, you have to wash it about 50 times before
it gets soft). Linen also comes in a finish which nakes it feel sort
of smooth, but kind of crispy & starchy. This kind is nice to wear.
Linen that has been calendared (a kind of super-ironing that flattens
the fibers) has a smooth, glossy, almost waxy feel to it. With a
little practice you can easily distinguish between "waxy"
and "plasticky". The "plasticky" stuff is fake, and not at all
comfy. I think the best way to "feel" for linen is to take about 20
inches of linen and grasp at one end between thumb and forefinger and
quickly slide down the whole twenty inches. At this speed, linen's
dinstinctive feel is most obvious. You can also crumple the fabric
up in your fist to check for wrinkles. Unwrinkled means not real
linen. Mondo wrinkles means linen is a distinct, but not the only
possibility. (could also be cotton, rayon or acetate)
Also, if you can get either, raimie and hemp are very similar to
linen, but I think raimie is slightly cooler and crisper than linen.
It's hard to be definitive about whether they are period or not and
for which cultures due to the fact that you need to check them with a
microscope to tell whether they are linen or not. So many
archeologists & museum curaters just label everything "linen" without
bothering to check. My theory on this is that if you need a
microscope to tell its not linen, then for all practical purposes I
can call it "linen" if I feel like it!