Thread Theory

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Summer inspiration: Linen and stylish wrinkles


linen shorts - casual

 (Click on photos to be taken to their source)

Since stylish men’s fashion is often associated with layering, summer can be a tricky time to dress comfortably but also stylishly for men (poor men can’t just throw on a maxi dress to beat the heat in style!).  I’m anticipating the arrival of some beautiful linen fabric in the mail (from Fabrics Store) which is destined to become linen Jedediah Shorts and so have been searching high and low for summer menswear inspiration.  I’ve found two main interpretations of linen menswear for the summer:

sartorialist summer suit

1. Linen as casual and effortless.  The beautiful thing about linen menswear is that it couldn’t be easier to add personality into a classic and easy to wear garment.  Simply soften up the pants with a few washes, live in them a little to create some creases and quickly roll up the hems…voila, instant high style (as seen on the Vivienne Westwood SS14 runway)!

vivianne westwood linen pants

Wrinkles can be intentionally worn as a built in ‘layer’ to add style to a garment instead of piling on another sweater or another tie to create a unique outfit.

Vivienne-Westwood-plaid linen pants

2. Linen as dapper and elegant.  Walking around in wrinkled pants might feel sloppy to some men, and if that’s the case, they need not steer clear of linen as there is an entirely different way of wearing this cool and comfortable fabric in the summer.


Simply take an iron to the very same pants and a whole new dapper look is born!


Of course, linen tends to wrinkle as it is worn throughout the day but, by starting the day crisp and smart, the end-of-the-day worn in garments will simply ease the wearer into the wrinkled stylishness of Interpretion #1!


I’m really looking forward to sewing my linen Jedediah Shorts!  Do you like sewing with linen?  Do you have any tips for me in regards to fabric preparation, seam treatments or styling?

13 thoughts on “Summer inspiration: Linen and stylish wrinkles

  1. I am interested to hear about your experience ordering from Fabrics-Store. I have had my eye on them as a source for linen but I have never ordered fabric online. Their website is quite comprehensive though…

    • So far they are great! They invited me to create a tutorial for them with their fabric so it is a really nice chance to try a new-to-me online fabric store out and a good excuse for me to get sewing with linen! There is almost no linen fabrics available to me locally so I am quite excited to have access to not only basic beautiful colours but also some really interesting and unusual textures and prints. Their fabrics are woven in Russia and then dyed in the United States to utilize the technology available in the US for the creation of vivid colours. I’ll let you know more details once the fabric arrives but so far I’m happy with the customer service and the store’s shopping experience (fabric descriptions, customer reviews, their blog and the check out procedure).

  2. I love linen, and personally think it just gets better with age. A great source for anyone near NYC is Gray Line Linen on W 39th. They have every kind of linen imaginable, from linen upholstery velvet to handkerchief linen. A linen wonderland. I’m hoping to get some linen Jeds shorts made for the summer.

    • That sounds like a great resource for those in the NYC area! I’m very impressed with Fabrics Store’s selection – their jacquards are intriguing and I absolutely love their selection of yarn dyed linens. Good luck with your linen Jeds :).

  3. i’ve recently made a linen skirt and have fabric for another. i love the texture and breath-ability! one thing i’ve heard is that when washing, it helps to give it a good long soak in water to fully saturate the fabric (longer than a usual wash), and doing so helps to reduce the wrinkling. haven’t tested it myself, so i don’t know if it works! also, there’s a “thread cult” podcast on linen, lots of great info if you haven’t heard it!

    • Thanks for the tip! I’ll try soaking the fabric for the shorts. And the Thread Cult podcast would be nice to listen to while sewing. I love the texture too, it’s so inviting and fresh looking. I have a bunch of striped linen washed and ready to sew into a duvet cover, it’s going to be so comfortable and beautiful!

  4. Wash then iron the fabric first. Really hot iron so there are no creases at all, let it cool, then roll it until you are ready to cut out. Linen has to be ironed and wrinkle free for the pattern pieces to lie flat. Then you can cut out accurately. After that linen is a delight to use, very stable, easy to unpick, won’t show needle marks (they steam out).

    Looser weaves will sag when worn, tighter weaves less so. Similarly the tighter weaves won’t crease as much. Looser weaves are more prone to fraying as well. You may need French seams or a 4 thread overlock with a wide and short stitch length. Linen wears out more quickly than any other fabric I’ve known, I get fewer wears from a linen shirt than a cotton or silk one.

    Enough from me – Enjoy!

    • Thank you so much for all of your helpful tips! I plan to use flat fell seams and binding to protect from fraying and will certainly heed your advice to iron VERY thoroughly before cutting. That is interesting to hear that you get less wear from linen. I’ve always read that it is extremely hard wearing and long lasting but in my own experience (very limited, I’ve only made one linen shirt!) I’ve found that the sheen left the linen quickly and the dye started to fade much faster than I would have expected from a cotton shirt. I have read that it is advisable to only hand wash and dry linen…but my shirt quickly found it’s way to the washing machine (not the dryer though!) so I guess it is only me and not the fabric to blame!

      • I have never understood the ‘hard wearing’ tag that linen gets. I don’t think you should blame your laundry habits, if linen was truly hard wearing you could be really tough with it. I think the fibres degrade and faster than other fibres, something to do with how long they are and how much they fray.

  5. Yummy!! Eye candy! I’m also planning to make a pair of linen jedediah’s for my hubby! 🙂

  6. I am also planning on a pair of linen jedediah Pants. I´ll let you know about the results!


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