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Pennsic Class


fabric pages:

(includes cotton, rayon,
and man-made fibers)

Doll" Fabrics

Corset stays 

Books, odds and esoteric stuff


non-store stuff
About Class Act Fabrics

Stray Fabric Writing 1

Displays at the Dietrich

Memories of a House

Links and Rings



    contact me at:

    Linda Learn
    Class Act Fabrics
    PO Box 307
    (570) 836-2318
  email me at
Linda (at) classactfabrics (dot) com

Here's a neat color site.
I think the colors are
truest of all the color
lists out there:
and another one!

Please forgive the appearance of my website as I change from FrontPage softwear to Dreamweaver software. There are a lot of weird things happening here.... Thank you for your patience!


      Class Act Fabrics    ...Linen...
Fabricmonger to the Crowns of the West Kingdom, SCA

I    Linen was a major fabric in the Egyptian dynasties: pre-680AD they had what we identify as huckabuck; tabby with a looped pile; herringbone, lozenge and rosette twills; honeycomb weave. Other weaves are recorded in guild regulation in 1456 and have been found in central and southern Rhineland graves.

    There were fine linens with thread counts of 22/20 per centimeter and 22/18 per cm. found in London digs from the 1200's and extra fine linen gauzes even earlier in Egypt (etc). The Vikings didn't have to wear burlap-looking linens!! They had the ability to make finer and had the ability to "obtain" finer if they wanted.   For Pete's sake!!....my own grandmother spun, wove and sewed linen on a Pennsylvania farm in the early 1900's that was a fine shirtweight! (end diatribe)

    The above paragraph not withstanding, there was a use of the 'tow'...the short, waste fibers left after combing the longer 'line' fibers from the flax....to make 'tow cloth'. Tow was spun into thicker, fuzzier threads and used for cheaper fabric. Tow cloth was used for utilitarian things like sacks, servant and slave wear, and other cheap clothing.

    The swatches have had their color manipulated, coaxed and cozened to try to match the original fabrics as close as possible.

All fabric is 100% Linen unless otherwise labeled.


LINEN WEIGHT: The linen I get is usually a seasonal run from the fashion industry. It is left-over after the original clothing run is completed or it was a bolt sent to a design house to make up a sample piece.   When I get it, there is no information on the oz. weight of the fabric.

A linen importer sent me swatches with weights listed: 
  handkerchief linen is 3 1/2 oz. 
  shirtweight is about   4 1/2 to 6.3 oz.
  bottom weight is over  8 oz.

HOWEVER...... today, just as it was in the middle ages and every age before and after, those who make and sell fabric can label it any way they want to make it more attractive to the buyer. One fabric is called one name for 30 to 50 years and then when the call for it decreases, they slap another fashionable name on it and hype it some more.
    Industry can call any weight by any name it pleases. The weight doesn't mean that it has the same size threads or the same thread count....just that a certain yardage weighs a certain amount. Call it an approximation.

    And linen is made in different ways. A lot of the fashion linens today are made on cotton thread machinery.... cotton fibers are shorter than linen fibers and these machines use short fibers of linen instead of the traditional long fibers we see in those glorious old linen table cloths and vintage clothing. The long fiber linen is "stiffer"...drapes with those large folds and doesn't get "fuzzy" after a lot of washes. The shorter fiber linen feels softer from the start.

     I found out that one manufacturer, at least, is still "Sanforizing" linen. This is a process that was used a lot in the 50s through 70s for cottons and linens to pre-shrink them and give them better wrinkle resistance. I got some that even reacts like it is "mercerized". This is when short cotton (and according to one textile reference book from 1968, linen also) fibers are specially chemically and mechanically treated and they bend and form over and under the other threads.  They can then stretch and recover. If you look at a single thread, it will look like the crenellations on a castle wall. I'm going to call it a "mechanical stretch" in the descriptions just to distinguish it from lycra stretch.

If you want your linen to stay crisper and less fuzzy looking, DO NOT DRY IT IN THE DRYER!! It breaks and loosens the fibers and the ends stick up more. Check your lint trap....you lose a lot of your fabric there. I machine wash my linen garb, then take it out and shake it, hang it up and hand stretch it to smooth most of the wrinkles out. It only takes a couple minutes, and the linen looks almost like new. If I wanted, I could iron it while it was still damp and the shine would be lovely.


56" 100% ramie
handkerchief weight with a very fine even weave. Silky smooth and fine sheen.

58" 100% linen tabby
nicely woven shirtweight linen, medium weight.

60" 100% linen tabby
very nicely woven even weave Irish linen with no slubs! Medium weight, lovely feel.


57" 100% linen tabby
A nice medium handkerchief weight linen.
thread ct: 24warp, 18weft/cm

59" 100% linen, very small houndstooth, medium weight and perfect for a re-enactor's shirt or little girl's dress or apron.

blue and white houndstooth.

59" 100% linen,
a light-medium weight tabby weave, smooth and nicely woven!

dull brown

57" 100% linen tabby
You can see in the other pictures how the black skirt on "Susie, the mannequin" shows. It truly is black and this linen is the same or darker as that crepe skirt.
thread ct: 19warp,15weft/cm

60" 100 % linen tabby
nicely woven even weave Irish linen of a light bottom-weight.


56" 100% linen tabby, a very nice piece, nice even weave and color

55" 50% linen, 50% cotton
an evenweave tabby. Very even!  It feels nice. Thread count:
warp 16 thrd per cm, weft 18 thrd per cm.


56" 100% linen, tabby
a nice medium weight

off-white/ cream

45" 100% linen tabby
a VERY NICE natural, unbleached evenweave tabby  linen! Smooth and snugly woven.
a light shirtweight.

thread ct: 20warp, 20weft/cm


45" 100% linen tabby
a medium weight linen that looks like a light dull madder from a distance.... but really has a brown warp and a cream weft.

Light Brown

60" 50% linen, 50% silk suiting
Twill weave with a beautiful color combination that makes me think of opalescent dragons' eyes.
A lovely suiting weight.
Golden tan, Blush pink and Pale blue windowpanes

58" 100% linen, tabby weave, handkerchief weight. Nice feel.

60" 100% linen
medium weight, even weave
Woven check,
spice orange and natural 

60" 100% linen, shirtweight tabby
A nice shirtweight linen with a
NATURAL warp thread and
GOLDEN TAN weft thread
Warm Tan

59" 100% linen, tabby weave
Imported Italian shirting linen,
Very nice feel, lite weight.


60" linen/cotton tabby
tan/white check
SALE $5.50/YD

44" wide, 100% linen
light/medium weight good for solid shirts, coifs, sturdy shifts. Beautiful surface, tightly woven.
If you're not sure, I suggest you get a small swatch of this to see...
it has a very very nice surface.

45" 45% linen, 55% cotton tabby weave
nice even weave, good shirt weight fabric.
blue/ white woven check
about 7 yd left


39 1/2" tabby weave
TOW linen
This soft, absorbent linen makes wonderful towels and gambesons. It would also do for anything that you want to absorb sweat or water.
thread ct 8warp, 6weft/cm dusty/faded rose
about 3 yards left

39 1/2" tabby weave
TOW linen
This soft, absorbent linen makes wonderful towels and gambesons. It would also do for anything that you want to absorb sweat or water.
thread ct 8warp, 6weft/cm pink

59" 2/2 twill weave
brown, white houndstooth check
only about  1 1/2 yards left


59" linen
another fashion linen with coarse looking weave and cool colors. You can see the warp thread and a twist of the weft threads in the picture.
white warp
dark pink weft

page updated 3/27/2014  

























Well, I don't have a page for "hardware" and I was at a loss as to where to put these....so here they are:
linen tester, thread counter, stamp magnifier, whatever you want to call it, it is wonderful! These are metal with glass optics. The smaller, 10x, has a lens about 1/2" in diameter. The larger, 8x, has a lens 3/4" in diameter. They fold up flat and come with a little black leather-like pouch.
Each is $14.95 plus 90 cents state sales tax in PA,  or $14.95 shipped outside of PA.