Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Storing linen

The carpet-fitters were here recently replacing the carpet in my sewing room. As they packed up and carted off the old threadbare carpet my eye fell on this. They were only too willing to leave it behind for me.

A cardboard roll is just perfect for storing linen.

Rod got out the sturdy craft knife to cut off a length for me. That cardboard is tough!

And oops! Rod ended up with 3 stitches in his leg and no running for a week! Be careful.

I've found that it's not easy to roll up your fabric to exactly the same width all the way, so give yourself a bit of extra length when measuring where to cut. My roll is about 5cm/12cm longer than the width of my linen.

There's no knowing how long my linen may be on that roll for. To protect it from any damaging acids in the cardboard I cut a piece of washed calico and stitched it onto the roll, working outwards from the centre towards each end.

I had plans to stitch neat round circles onto the ends but finally decided to gather up the ends with a strong thread instead. Much quicker. And it does the job of keeping the calico fixed in place on the cardboard roll. Also, I hope the air circulation through the roll will help keep any pesky musty smells away.

Then, out came the linen.

You can see the nasty creases in this piece. After a while creases can be almost impossible to get out. Also, the fabric can wear and get dirty along the folds if you store it folded in the same way for a long time. If you do store your fabric folded up in a drawer, refold it regularly along different fold lines. This prevents excessive wear along the same folded edges.

Once its rolled up, I don't like using ties to keep the fabric in place because they can leave puckers where the fabric is accidentally gathered up. Surprisingly, the late Kay McLaurin used a stocking to keep her fabric neatly on a roll. I tried it and it works superbly, even if it looks a little odd. Well actually very odd indeed, but I've got used to it now. I found the stocking a great solution.

You can roll up more than one piece of linen on a roll says my friend Tricia Elvin-Jensen. Just keep a note of what's on there so you can find it when you want it.

Finally, how to store those rolls? My big linen roll stands behind the storage boxes in my sewing cupboard. (The photo below is rather misleading because my sewing cupboard does not usually look so neat and tidy! I wish it did.) Any smaller rolled up pieces of fabric fit nicely into those storage boxes with the other bits and pieces.

More ideas from Tricia and Kay are to stand rolls all together in a bin or container, or perhaps work out a way to hang the rolls up on the back of a door.

Otherwise, there's not been much progress on the new pincushion pattern I've been working on and with an unanticipated visit to family starting next week everything else is on hold for a while. So, it may be a while till my next post too. In the meantime, happy stitching!


  1. Great and painstaking work. It will really pay off over time. I like the stocking idea. Congratulations on a good job.

    1. I was a bit skeptical about the stocking until I tried it, but it worked very well.