Aqua Linen Gauze – Macro View

Textured Linen Gauze

A few days ago, I featured this little beauty in the changing banner of loveliness (I’ll find a way to keep doing that, I liked it too).  It’s a bit of aqua open weave linen I prepared for a Pavlova Wrap Top.

Linen Before Washing

I found this linen gauze at The Fabric Store.  I resisted its lure for the better part of a year, unsure what I could possibly make with diaphanous linen.  When it went on sale recently I snapped up a piece to play with.  This is the fabric before I washed it- flat, open, and a bit stiff.  Linen fabric always begins life a bit stiffly, it’s the nature of bast fibers but over time the fibers soften and mature into a truly lovely and nearly indestructible fabric.

Linen After the Wash

I overlocked the raw cut ends together.   The machine didn’t want to handle a single layer and I didn’t feel like arguing.  I shoved this piece of fabric into a load of blues and went about my business. I knew the texture would change, though I couldn’t tell how it might turn out.

Regular rippling

After washing, this beautiful texture came out in the fabric.

The Sea- Byron Bay, Australia

It reminds me of the sea- Byron Bay shown here.


Once washed, I left the length of fabric outside on the clothesline for several days to age the fabric.  Linen fibers are tough– regardless of the weave used.  Leaving the linen outside exposed to the sun and dew speeds up the softening process, it’s now Pavlova-ready.

I can’t wait to cut this up and stitch together a woven Pavlova Wrap Top to show you during the Shipping Season!  It’s on my to-do list this week, lucky it’s a quick-to-sew pattern.

Have you ever completely transformed a piece of fabric before sewing?  Purposefully or otherwise?  Do tell!

Today’s winner is:

Picture 10


  1. oh nice…. I too saw that fabric and was like, hmmmm, not sure about that one. The possibilities are endless!
    The only fabric I’ve transformed was a linen dress that shrunk a good 2 sizes after I made it – opps lol

    • I know! It looks so so weird in the shop, almost like sinamay for hat making.. But I really really LOVE my linen jersey wrap top, it went very very soft so I thought this linen would do the same… Ripples were a plus.. :)

  2. Thanks for this story about the gorgeous linen from the Fabric Store. I have looked at this for over a year as well and each time I see it, I have to touch it. But I had no idea it would transform into the lovely wavey texture that you have shown, after washing. I am really tempted now! And a simple design is all that is needed, so the Pavlova pattern will be perfect.

    • I’m already plotting how I can justify the red and the blue… Too pretty! I suspect it’ll be a pain in the neck to sew, but like you said- simple design…

  3. Very pretty, looks so soft! Thanks for the tip about leaving linen out to age, I’ve passed over linen before because it felt too stiff.
    The only fabric I’ve purposely transformed would be some silk dupioni I got on ultra clearance. I’d read about washing it to soften it up and figured I had nothing to lose so chucked it through the machine. Its still somewhat stiff but a lot softer and drapier than it started out, not quite as shiny either its a nicer muted sheen. Just have to decde whether it will be pants or a top/jacket now!

    • It’s still a bit stiff, won’t fully soften until after I’ve worn it and washed it a few times. Then I suspect it’ll be like wearing a bit of seafoam…

      Oooh silk transforms very prettily in the wash… :)

  4. Wow – that’s a change Steph! Now, is anyone else having the same problem as me with the blog? It is coming up as one colun down the left of my screen only and I actually can’t see what I am typing here in the comment box :9 I’m quite upset – for some reason your new blog format does not seem to agree with my computer at all :(

      • I have internet explorere. Once agian tonight I am guessing what I’m typing as I can’t see the txt. Still in one column too. We have the latest software on our work computers – we have monthyly updates.

  5. I’m looking forward to seeing how you make up the finished linen top. The color is really nice, soothing in warm weather. So far I only have plans for transformation: 1) dying pink corduroy to raspberry for a spring skirt; 2) washing linen for another skirt. This linen is stiff and shiny, and so I’m holding off on deciding the pattern until I see how it changes.

  6. I recently bought some brown stretch denim that when washed became olive green. Same colour family but a completely different shade. Luckily I have lots of olive in the wardrobe already. I would never have guessed that the linen would be transformed like that – just lovely and a great colour too.

    • How interesting that the color changed so much with washing… Good that it fits with your other clothes, though. :)

      I had no idea, either. :) Thanks, I like wearing that color…

  7. I would have passed right over that fabric! It’s perfect for a gentle, breezy wrap top and I agree about the sea. I just cut some linen for a top on Sunday. I washed it and left it on the line in the wind all day. It ended up wrapped around the line and very wrinkled, but after some persistent steaming and spraying with water I was able to press it back into a reasonably square shape. I’ll see how it sews up tonight. I usually avoid linen, but this fabric was too pretty to pass up and it actually matches things in my wardrobe!

    • oooh nice. :) I don’t particularly like new linen, it really needs to be worn a bit to bring out it’s beauty I reckon. And it’s a really nice fabric for the heat and humidity, due to the way the fibers conduct heat and wick… And linen is mold and bacteria resistant.. It will mold (I tried once, but it was quite an effort involving food scraps) but doesn’t really mildew, which is great.

  8. Oh wow, that is gorgeous! It really does look like that water! I’ve never actually seen water that blue and gorgeous outside of pictures. Lucky woman, to have that inspiration. :D I really can’t wait to see how this garment turns out!

    • I’ve never seen snowfields outside of photos…

      Yes! I can’t tell you how many times I looked at the surface of the ocean and wished it were a textile. This is pretty close..

  9. I bought some beautiful soft white-on-white embroidered Italian cotton – very expensive but marked down as a remnant. (Or perhaps because the shop knew what would happen to it when washed). The embroidery is very detailed and runs in rows; some of it has a smocking type of effect and makes it slightly stretchy. After washing, the unembroidered rows developed a terrible bumpy buckled effect (nothing like your pretty ripples, unfortunately). No amount of re-washing, ironing or hanging will remove it.

    Suggestions gratefully received! Any ideas about smoothing it or, alternatively, what I could make with it?

    It is now not possible to use it for it’s intended purpose – a simple top or a shift dress. Everything I try makes me look deformed!

    • Oh no! Does it look a bit like a seersucker, that kind of effect? I’m trying to picture it based on your description, and in that case I’d probably just go ahead and make a simple top from it. Sometimes a weeeeird fabric in a simple cut works. Sometimes. Nothing to lose, right?

  10. I love your new look here. And, that material does look like the ocean. Can’t wait to see what you do with it. I’m not sure what to do beside may a swim suit cover up or a sarong type garment. Man, I can’t wait for the heat. Speaking of oceans and swim suits…

    • Thanks, Magical.

      Yes, I think it’d work really well for either of those, but I can’t stop thinking it would make an absolutely divine Pavlova, might look downright “desigher” wear if you know what I mean. The fabric was on a deep sale, too, so I think I’ll get something really lovely for quite cheap. :)

  11. This is beautiful! I love it! I’m curious– how do you deal with the grainline with a fabric like this? Is it tough to make sure you’re cutting on grain?

    • Well, lucky the grainline is not important for the Pavlova Top. Otherwise, I’d just follow the ripples more or less and that’d be fine… Grainline is really, really really important for some things- jackets, coats, skirts, dresses, pants, but it’s pretty irrelevant for some other things- like wrap tops….

  12. Pingback: Weekend Roundup: 9 February « Needle & Cloth

  13. Pingback: Finished Object: Crinkle Linen Pavlova « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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