This section is from the book "Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making", by Helen Kinne. Also available from Amazon: Clothing And Health.
Can we learn to identify at least eight of the common linen materials ?
To-day we shall study about the different linen materials, and then see what we have to mount on our school chart. If you prefer, you may make a book of linen materials like the cotton and silk.
Let us divide the pieces which have been brought to school into two piles: the thin, and the thicker ones. We have more of the thick ones. Yes, we all know the heavy coarse linen is called Russian crash. We used it for our porch cushions or covers. It comes from 18 to 36 inches in width and costs from 15 cents a yard up to 75 cents sometimes. We know it is used for dresses, and sometimes for toweling and upholstery uses. It is unbleached in color.
This wide sample is linen sheeting. Our great-grandmothers . always had linen sheets of flax which they grew, spun, and wove, because long ago cotton was not grown. Some of the Pleasant Valley girls saw these sheets which Grandmother Allen made. Sheeting comes in several widths, and costs about $1 per yard up. Cotton sheeting is cheaper.
The one thin one is handkerchief linen. It costs from 60 cents to $2.00 per yard. What kind of a weave is it? What is it used for? The other thin piece is called batiste. It, too, is used for waists and dress linens, and it is fine and sheer. It can be used for handkerchiefs too. It costs about $1.00 per yard up, according to the fineness, and is 1 yard or more wide. Batiste is made of cotton, also, and is then cheaper.
The weave of this piece is different. You have a cotton sample of the same weave. Yes, it is called bird's-eye pattern. It is used for toweling and costs about 30 cents per yard, 24 inches wide.
Here is another piece used also for toweling. You all know its name. Huckaback is correct. We have also cotton huckaback, and some huckaback made of half linen and half cotton. It is woven in a pattern which absorbs easily. The filling thread shows more on the surface than the warp threads. It is woven 18 inches and wider, and costs 15 cents up.
Every one knows this one. Our tablecloths and napkins are of damask. It is a lovely material made in beautiful patterns. Sometimes it is all linen and sometimes a mixture. There is also cotton damask for table napkins and cloths. It is much cheaper. The cloths are woven 1 yard wide or wider, and for damask towels from 16 to 36 inches. One can spend a great deal for beautiful damask towels and napkins.
This plain coarse linen is called butchers' linen, because it wears very well and butchers sometimes have their aprons made of it. It is used, too, for dress skirts, and is very satisfactory. It is woven from 27 to 44 inches in width and costs from 40 cents to $1.50 per yard.
The heavy stiff piece is a linen canvas and is used by tailors for the interlining of cuffs and collars of coats. It costs 25 cents per yard and is 27 to 36 inches wide.
Suppose our chart is 24 X 20 inches. Perhaps a cardboard or cover of an old box will do if your teacher has nothing else. Put two holes near the top in the middle of the 20 inches side and run a cord through for hanging. At one edge down one side place the common linen materials with their names and uses, etc.
Let us see what the girls have brought. Here is a bottle of linseed oil. Yes, and some flax seeds. Jane has brought a linen collar. Here is a small china doll wrapped as a mummy. Marjorie's grandmother has sent some flax which she grew and prepared herself, and a piece of an old hand-woven towel which she made when a girl. And here is some hand-spun flax ! Notice how rough it looks. We have, also, some cord and twine and some linen thread. Do you know that Paterson, New Jersey, where Marjorie's Cousin Ann works in the silk mill, is also a great center for linen thread manufacture? Thread is made by twisting fine yarns together. The twisting makes them strong. They are then dyed or bleached white. Much of our linen thread is unbleached in color. Why?
Suppose we draw a picture of the flax stalk and flower on our chart and fasten some of the school-grown flax to it. All the other things can be arranged and fastened too, by punching holes in the cardboard and tying them on with cord.
What an interesting story it makes. Perhaps the children of the lower classes would like to hear the story told by one of the seventh grade girls some morning.
Next lesson you may bring any table linen or towels which are stained; and we shall learn how to remove the stains.
1. Draw a picture of the flax plant, and color the flowers with your crayons.
2. Prepare the chart telling the story of flax.
3. Look up the story of how linen thread is prepared.
4. See how many linen materials you can find at home.