Monday, April 16, 2012

Tips for Working with Waterford Linen

Welcome to napkin week!  After all my projects last week I promised tutorials this week.  I've made three different sets of napkins all featuring Waterford linen by Robert Kaufman.  This 100% linen is incredibly soft and has beautiful drape.  I got mine at Quilter's Way but it's also available at Purl Soho.  Working with linen is a little different than quilting cotton so here's what I learned...

Wash your linen, it's going to shrink.  I washed mine in warm water and dried it on medium.  It helps to take it out and press it while it is still slightly damp but if not just use some pressing spray to get the worst of the wrinkles out.

I LOVE Mary Ellen's Best Press but it doesn't seem to be as effective on linen.  To return it to it's nice crisp finish after washing I used good old Niagara spray starch.

If appropriate use spray baste. I prefer to sew baste because I'm freaked out by the chemical smell of basting spray. There's no quilting on these napkins but when quilting my Easter table runner I ended up ripping out all the sew basting and redoing it with spray baste to give it more body.

Pin twice as much as you normally would.  Linen isn't "sticky" the way cotton is so it shifts a lot more when sewing. 

If you happen to sew through your thumb you can get blood out of white linen with hydrogen peroxide.  It is prudent to put a band-aid on before removing the blood or you may have to repeat the process: )  Another joy of quilting moment!

Edited to add:  Napkin week tutorials are now available...


  1. great tips - thanks for sharing! Love the Hello Kitty bandage! : )

  2. I *so* wish I had read this before... I used Mary's Best Press and they were wrinkly... and I sewed with two layers of linen and the shifted everywhere lol