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Dagorhir Web Boards • View topic - Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

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Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:55 pm

Hi everyone,

I find myself talking alot about the benefits of natural fabrics and the differences between the different types and their benefits and disadvantages.  Also, 2009 is the official International Year of Natural Fibers (as declared by the UN).

So, this thread will be devoted to why you should wear natural, period fabrics, and where to get them.

And yes, this thread is entirely Eurocentric, and written from a Northern European perspective.  I'm sorry if I'm not PC enough for you, but that's what I know about, so that's the perspective I write from.  It usually doesn't matter, though.

Wool

We modern people have awful ideas about wool.  It's hot, it's itchy, it's made into sweaters and socks and only to be worn in winter and never against the skin.

Forget all that, it's bulls***.  Or, to be more truthful, it's sometimes true, but sometimes very false, and for summer garb what you're looking for is the instances in which it's false.  So, I'm going to break this up into two sections, one about the wool you want for summer garb, and one about the wool you want for winter garb.

Summer Wool

The key word here is "worsted".  Worsted wool is woven from the long, straight hairs on the sheep's back, which have the least hooks (these are the little curly bits off the side of the fiber that make it itch) and don't curl and twist like the shorter hairs which "woolen" wool (that's the other type, worsteds and woolens, kinda confusing, I know) is made from.

So, why should you wear wool in the summertime?  The short answer:  It breaths and it wicks.  Like nothing else you've ever worn.  Breeze blows through wool fabric like it's not even there, and the wool is great at wicking away sweat from your body and evaporating it into the air--a huge surface area inside the fabric is exposed to wind, so there's a ton of surface area from which it evaporates.  And that same breeze recirculates the air so that the air against your body doesn't get too warm.

It's also a lot smoother than your grandma's old itchy Irish sweater.  Alric told me that when he got his first worsted wool, it felt almost as smooth as polyester, and he just couldn't help thinking that it couldn't be a natural fiber, it had to be artificial it was so smooth.  My first thoughts were roughly the same.  I won't lie to you, it's not actually as smooth as polyester, and it takes some getting used to wearing it against your skin.  It'll be a bit scratchy and rough, but only because we're so accustomed to the unnatural smoothness of artificial fibers or the equally unnatural downy softness of knit cotton (aka tshirts).

The other benefit at events like Ragnarok is that lanolin, the oil from sheep's hair and skin, is very slightly antiseptic.  It won't stop you from getting a cold, the flu, black plague, small pox, ebola, syphilis, AIDS, cooties, dandruff, or your mom's bad perfume--although if you do it Medieval style and use a lambskin condom, it might do something for syphilis.  Don't take that as medical advice, though.  What it will do is prevent bacteria and fungi from your skin and the environment from growing in the fabric itself, which will severely impede the growth of mildew, or body odor (which is actually caused by bacteria eating your sweat).  You'll have to wash it by hand, but you'll also have to wash it much less often.

The other benefit is that these will still keep you reasonably warm when it gets cold at night at events like Rag.

Winter Wool

A lot of the same things apply, but you'll want a thicker fabric, and likely a woven (not knit!) woolen fabric, like melton or a light coating wool.  These are not itchy AT ALL, but will be very warm.  Cloaks, coats, kaftans and the like for winter use should be made from a heavier coating wool and lined with linen to help block the wind a bit better, while summer cloaks for nighttime wear when it'll be chilly but not cold are best made from a melton or light coating wool and unlined.

Washing Wool

Most wool says its dry-clean only.  What this really means is that you can't machine wash it, and clothes manufacturers assume you won't handwash your clothes.  Well, I can't recommend hand-washing wool more.  You CAN machine wash it on a cold, gentle cycle, but this is NOT recommended.  Wash it by hand in cold to lukewarm but NOT hot water with some sort of wool washing product like Eucalan, which include lanolin to help condition and resoften the wool.  Baby shampoo and conditioner work too, and they do wonders to make wool soft, but I'd still use Eucalan or another lanolin-containing product on your wool every so often.  HANG DRY YOUR WOOL CLOTHING.  DO NOT put it in the dryer!  Dryers damage all clothing over time, but they will destroy wool in the short term, whereas they only destroy your tshirts in the long term.

You can actually use Eucalan in the washing machine, it includes instructions for doing so, but tbh, it's easier to just handwash small quantities.  Just remember, though, that you don't have to wash wool after every time you wear it.  Wash it after events or when it has visible stains, but it's very resistant to decay and odor, so you don't have to wash it much.

Downsides of Wool

It's more expensive.  It just is.  Generally, you're looking at $10/yard or so for worsted and around $15 to $20 for coating wool, but if you do it right, you can get a tunic or pants out of only 2 yards or less, so that's an outfit of garb in a good fabric for less than you paid in materials for your sword and shield, and about the cost of your sword alone if you bought it from Voldemort or another merchant.  In my opinion the more expensive fabric more than makes up for its higher cost.

It needs to be handwashed.  Take it or leave it, I don't mind.

It's scratchy.  Even the nicest wool will feel a little bit scratchy to us at first, but you get used to it pretty quick (I did, and I'm a sucker for comfortable clothes, so if I can like it, you can too), and anyway, a linen undertunic is highly recommended for reasons that I'll discuss below.

It's an allergen.  Some people are allergic to lanolin.  It's unavoidable, but it's a very small number of people.  Most people who are allergic to wool are actually allergic to the exceptionally harsh chemicals that we use during the production process to homogenize it and remove every trace of organic debris from the fabric, and which does a huge amount of damage to the fibers that means they then have to add more chemicals to fix.  Most people who are allergic to wool already know who they are, though.

Religious prohibitions.  This one probably doesn't come up very often in Dagorhir, but those who follow Kosher laws can't wear wool and linen together, which is a huge bummer.  Contrary to most English, Christian translations of the Bible, it doesn't say not to wear cloth of two fibers, it says not to mix linen and wool, I'm not sure if this means only linsey-woolsey and other fabrics that contain linen and wool in the same fabric, or wearing linen cloth and wool cloth together, although I would be surprised if Rabbinical interpretation didn't forbid both anyway.  Again, this is one of those things that you know already if it'll be a problem for you.

Wool Suppliers

http://www.bblackandsons.com/fabrics-wo ... ce25f23984

B. Black and Sons sell very high quality wool fabric, this is the link to their tropical wools page.  These were on sale since about October for $10/yard, but that sale seems to have ended now, although some of the colors are still somewhat discounted.  This is great quality stuff!

http://www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com/ind ... ategory=10

Burnley and Trowbridge cater primarily to 18th and 19th century reenactors, but a lot of their stuff works fine for our period as well.  They have worsted wools in scarlet, off white (these two are the one labeled serge, it IS worsted), madder (the "Camblet", it is as well--this is a BEAUTIFUL red loosewoven fabric), cinammon, red and purple striped, soft blue and black.  Their catalog changes every so often, so check back.  Their swatch packet is $4 for a sample of EVERY fabric they have in stock, it's a great buy, especially because it allows you to actually get your hands on what the stuff feels like.

More suppliers to come!

Linen

Linen is cloth made from the fibers of the flax plant.  It is strong, durable, and well known for being wonderfully comfortable in hot weather.  Flax has probably been used for at least 10,000 years in Europe alone, making it probably the earliest textile.  It was produced in large quantities in Europe throughout recorded history, and, behind wool, was the second most common textile in that continent throughout the entirety of Dagorhir's period.  It was available in at least some quantity to most classes of society and worn most common for undergarments or nicer clothing than wool.  In a lot of linen-producing countries, especially in Northern Europe, most linen was produced by cottage labor not by organized industry.  Most peoples' linen in these countries were grown in their own back yards and woven in their own house, so that fine quality linen was available to a lot of people, and the remainder was traded away and often eventually exported.

There's really nothing to say about linen other than it's great.  It can hold up to 30%* of its own weight in moisture before it feels damp, twice as much as cotton, which means that it absorbs your sweat like nothing else, and dries relatively quickly to help in cooling.  It's strong, it's durable.  It's resistant to abrasion and cutting (and therefore can be layered and laminated to make armour cheaper and probably better than leather), but can be damaged by sweat and bleach, so you should never bleach it and should wash it frequently.  The washing machine on a gentle cycle is fine, but it should definitely be air dried . . . just don't use the dryer.  Just don't.

(*Looking around more, I've seen numbers between 30% and 50% depending on exactly how it's calculated, but the twice as much as cotton thing is roughly accurate)

Linen doesn't accept dyes as well as wool does, so if you care much about authenticity you should keep your linen colors a bit more muted.  True black is right out for most of the Middle Ages.

Wikipedia has a very good article describing the properties of linen, it's an informative read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linen

You get the picture.  I love linen.  Linen is awesome.  Wear linen.  It's more comfortable in the heat than cotton, is almost as soft and nice to the touch, and feels cool in even the hottest weather.  I'll take a linen shirt over underarmour any day of the week.

Linen and Wool

Linen and wool, worn together, combine the best aspects of both fabrics.  A light linen shirt or undertunic under a light wool tunic provides the comfort and coolness of linen combined with the exceptional breathability and wicking properties of wool.  The linen soaks up your sweat and transfers it to the wool which wicks it away to evaporate into the air faster than the linen alone could.  You WILL sweat a lot wearing this in hot weather, but as long as you stay very well hydrated, it will keep you cool with a wonderful efficiency.  Just so we're clear, I'm not claiming it has magic properties, you'll still feel the heat, but if you do it right this will keep you healthy and comfortable as well as looking awesome.

This is, admittedly, somewhat less effective in climates where it's extremely humid, which often applies to much of the US during the worst parts of summer, but you'll have to base your garb choices on your own local environment, and the breathability of the wool means that you will not get all that much hotter wearing both together.  Try it out and see what suits you . . . the best clothing choices for southern California, Alabama and middle Ohio will not be quite the same.  This combination is amazing in very hot, dry heats where there's usually a good breeze . . . I did it in Egypt in up to 120 degree heat last summer (although as I was packing light I sometimes used underarmour instead of the linen depending what was clean, but the linen was clearly superior) and felt great (or at least as good as it's possible to feel in 120 degrees with the sun blazing down and food parasites destroying your bowels).  By which I mean, I felt a lot more comfortable in the heat than most of the Americans and other Westerners I saw sunburning and dehydrated in tank tops and shorts of cotton and artificial fibers.

Linen also works great in a heavier weight to line wool winter cloaks, or as a shirt under a wool tunic during the winter, because wool provides almost no protection from the wind, while the linen will work fairly well as a windbreaking fabric while still being comfortable and breathable.

Linen Care

Linen is pretty easy to care for.  Wash it hot before you sew with it to get the shrink out, then wash it cold.  Don't use bleach.  It's vulnerable over time by sweat and other acids, and to the degrading actions of bacteria and mildew, so wash it as often as possible after uses.  Air dry or use your drier's gentlest setting until its only slightly damp and then air dry it to finish.

It's also a good idea to sew a thick patch of similar covered wool outside of the knees of any linen pants that you intend to fight in.  When you grind linen into the ground and the mud and the dirt (ie, when you're fighting legged) it does damage the fabric (although it's more resilient than most cotton), but when you grind wool into the ground it just makes it thicker and feltier and more matter, and saves a lot of wear on the knees of your linen pants.

Linen Suppliers


http://www.fabric-store.com

One of the best places on the internets to get all kinds of linen fabrics, most for well under $10/yard.  They categorize their linen according to its weight, which I find to be extremely helpful, but you might find it confusing at first.  So, about 3 to 4 oz linen is light of handkerchief weight, 5 to 6 is medium weight, 6 to 7 is heavyweight, and 8+ is canvas weight, although these categories are far from exact.  They give you a good approximation, though.  I'd use no less than 6 oz for fighting pants, no less than 5 oz for fighting tunics, and maybe as low as 4 oz for an undertunic you might wear while fighting.  You can of course go lower for feast and other non-fighting garb as appropriate, but I'd get samples first or talk to someone who's experienced with such things before you order.  I am not responsible if you don't buy the right weight!  If you're not sure, contact me or someone else who's done this before.

http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/

Another good site for all kinds of fabric, especially linen, and they seem to have lower prices sometimes than fabric-store.com.  Also check out their wool and silk selections if you're interested.

Cotton

Coming soon to a thread near you!

(Yes, I am going to talk about cotton.  I hear a lot of people say that cotton's period because it was being made in India and Egypt and imported to Europe, which is true, but that doesn't mean that everything that says 100% cotton is appropriate for Medievalesque clothing so I'm going to talk about this.)

Silk

Silk has been imported to Europe since at least Roman times, and some scholars say that Homer speaks of Odysseus owning a shirt of silk, a shirt "gleaming like the skin of a dried onion" (literal translation).  Silk manufacture in Europe first began in around 550 AD, when the Byzantines first acquired silk worms and the knowledge of how to grow them, although this was a very closely guarded secret and everyone who knew how to make silk did everything they could to prevent others from learning how.  Silk was also produced during the Middle Ages by the Moors in Spain, and later by Venetians and Florentines in Italy.

During the Middle Ages, only the wealthy could afford to own any silk at all, and silk thread for embroidery was the most common usage.  An entire garment sewn from silk fabric would have been exceedingly expensive!  It would have been dyed in the richest, brightest colors, including kermes for scarlet, true indigo for blue, and Tyrian purple from murex shells.  Silk accepts dye very well, but the brighest colors are achieved in silk not by dying it but by feeding the worms different food that causes their silk to change colors, which can produce colors as bright as modern chemical dyes if done correctly.  This was the stuff of kings and emperors, the finest cloth known, although, as with other fabrics it of course comes in different levels of quality.  Some worms produce better silk than others, and some of the threads from the cocoon are more desirable than others, so it might be possible for a middle level lord or a rich warrior to own a silk tunic of middle or lower quality fabric.

So, about silk in Dagorhir.

I don't really know.  I have several yards of noil silk fabric, of what is probably fairly low quality.  It's a bit rough, tightly woven in a simple 1/1 pattern, handwoven in China from unprocessed raw silk, so probably a pretty good impression of what middle or low quality silk would have been like in the Middle Ages.  It's dyed a brilliant color of scarlet, and is about the brightest red I've ever seen.  I've also got a bit less than a yard of the same in a purple that's identical to murex purple, and probably have just enough to get one tunic for myself and one for my gf.  I paid $10 a yard for it for 45" wide fabric secondhand from the Armour Archive, I don't know where to get it firsthand.

Guntar von Keitz has a shirt or tunic or something of it, and says it feels wonderful in the heat at Ragnarok, that's all I can tell you for now.

Here's one supplier I found, I don't know anything about types still though:

http://www.srfabrics.com/index.html

They also carry linens and cottons, but their prices for those fabrics are VERY beatable.

Hemp

Pretty new to this one, have one tunic that I've worn once.

See here:

http://www.dagorhir.com/forums/http://w ... #msg308742

For a brief writeup.  I don't know where to buy the fabric.

NEW INFO:

Here's a supplier for hemp fabric:

http://www.hemptraders.com/index.php?cPath=21

Other Stuff

Anyone who'd like to help collaborate on this, let me know.

Also, post any of your other favorite suppliers here and I'll add them to the list

Mods, want to sticky this?
Last edited by Oisín Leathshúileach on Sun May 01, 2011 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Oisín Leathshúileach ua Duibhne <br>Ard Laech

<br>An Fhírinne in aghaidh an tSaoil--Truth against the world.
<br>It's pronounced uh-SHEEN, like "machine" without the m. Not oy-sin.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Kensman Ilariia » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:05 pm

I can pull up some stuff on cotton if you want.  I only complain about it being "not period" when people try to undermine linen and wool because "cotton is period".  It a good, sometimes cheaper, alternative to the other two, especially for those not wanting to "go period".
-HRM Kensman Ilariia Bulochnika, called Brenna

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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Ilsa Starling » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:12 pm

Great thread, Oisin! Learned some new stuff just now. I'm excited for the upcoming updates, particularly the section on silk.

Thanks for creating this!
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:16 pm

Brenna--Sure, but one thing that I was wanting to address is linen look-alikes like muslin that are not as nice as linen but look a lot better than most cottons, although they're usually only available in off-white, so if you want to include something about that?

Ilsa--You're welcome, but I won't have nearly as much to say about silk as I do to say about wool and linen, mostly because I don't know nearly as much, and also because it's a much less common (and much more expensive!) material both then and today.  I've got some hand-woven silk fabric from China, though, and it's NOTHING like the silk that's available today.  I think GvK also has a raw silk tunic?  Maybe he'd have something to contribute about the subject . . . or maybe you could do some research and help out!
Oisín Leathshúileach ua Duibhne <br>Ard Laech

<br>An Fhírinne in aghaidh an tSaoil--Truth against the world.
<br>It's pronounced uh-SHEEN, like "machine" without the m. Not oy-sin.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Stellaria » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:16 pm

I sometimes have luck getting wools from www.fashionfabricsclub.com and/or www.denverfabrics (They're actually the same company), mostly around $10/yard  They usually have a decent selection of tropical suitings, tropical wool (the poly-feeling stuff), flannel (a medium-weight, plain-weave wool that is nice for cooler-weather/nighttime tunics), and "coating" wool (heavier stuff like Melton)

JoAnn Fabrics also has had a decent selection of linen in different weights for the past year. If you can catch it on sale, or snag a cupon when it's not on sale, the price per yard ends up being pretty good.

As far as washing wool goes....I'm a little more harsh. The first thing I do when I get new fabric of ANY fiber is to wash it on hot, longest cycle. Maybe more than once. Then I machine dry it on hot.
YES, this shrinks linen, wool, and cotton a bit. Sometimes a lot.  But I prefer to have my FABRIC shrunk BEFORE I cut it out and sew it, so that my GARMENT doesn't shrink if I do something stupid with it.  And because I do laundry for 7 people, I am not the most careful laundress.  Wool *will* get thrown in the regular wash accidentally.  So I'd rather have that added assurance that I'm not going to shrink the crap out of all my hard work just because I threw my garb in the wrong hamper :)
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Kensman Ilariia » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:41 pm

I'll see what I can dig up on that...hopefully some silk knowledge will surface down the road as I delve into Byz stuff more.

I'm a big fan of Denver Fabrics as well, and JoAnns has some decent linens, though they are more of a medium weight (as we found out in the Beltaine heat :p )

I do similar to Stell, all my stuff gets pre-washed on at least a warm cycle, though I hang dry all my wools.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Taos Levanon » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:53 pm

[quote=&quot;Oisín Leathshúileach&quot;]
Ilsa--You're welcome, but I won't have nearly as much to say about silk as I do to say about wool and linen, mostly because I don't know nearly as much, and also because it's a much less common (and much more expensive!) material both then and today.  I've got some hand-woven silk fabric from China, though, and it's NOTHING like the silk that's available today.  I think GvK also has a raw silk tunic?  Maybe he'd have something to contribute about the subject . . . or maybe you could do some research and help out!
[/quote]

Ach, bummer, I was hoping you'd have a lot to say about silk.

To the researchmobile.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:55 pm

[quote=&quot;Taos Levanon&quot;]
[quote=&quot;Oisín Leathshúileach&quot;]
Ilsa--You're welcome, but I won't have nearly as much to say about silk as I do to say about wool and linen, mostly because I don't know nearly as much, and also because it's a much less common (and much more expensive!) material both then and today.  I've got some hand-woven silk fabric from China, though, and it's NOTHING like the silk that's available today.  I think GvK also has a raw silk tunic?  Maybe he'd have something to contribute about the subject . . . or maybe you could do some research and help out!
[/quote]

Ach, bummer, I was hoping you'd have a lot to say about silk.

To the researchmobile.
[/quote]

Great!  Let me know what you find out!

Actually, I'm going to go ahead and write what I know, then when y'all find more, you'll know what we need to add.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Lykos MacGregor » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:07 pm

This actually answers a ton of my questions pertaining to wool.  I keep hearing how awesome it is (wool), but never seem to hear WHY and HOW.

Thank you for posting all this.

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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:21 pm

Bit of stuff added about silk.  Very little.

Guys, do some research and get back to me!
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:57 pm

Also, just found out that 2009 is the UN International Year of Natural Fibers.  Didn't know that.

Here's the website:

http://www.naturalfibres2009.org/en/index.html
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Alric » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:22 pm

I'd like to see this material worked up into articles we can host in the garb section of the how-to pages on the main site. Once people have finished contributing, we can edit it together and publish it.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:24 pm

[quote=&quot;Alric&quot;]
I'd like to see this material worked up into articles we can host in the garb section of the how-to pages on the main site. Once people have finished contributing, we can edit it together and publish it.
[/quote]

Indeed.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:42 pm

Linen is up.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Joseph Windstalker » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:08 am

What else do you know about Muslin?
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:29 am

It has a similar feel and similar benefits as linen, including that it's good in hot weather, but it's not quite as nice, costs less, and generally only comes in one color, a somewhat dark off-white, so if you want another color you have to dye it yourself, although it does accept dye pretty well so this isn't hard to do.  It's pretty much the cheap man's linen in this context.  Probably good to recommend to new players, young players, or other individuals who can't or won't afford $5 to $8 a yard for linen.

It also works great in situations where you are going to use a lot of fabric and want to cut costs.  For example, I have a very full later period cloak that's made from about 11 yards of fabric, an outer layer of wool lined with muslin, because the look and feel is pretty close and it's not a hotweather garment when I need linen's awesome cooling powers at their full.

And yes, that last sentence is intentionally hyperbolic, but I've been trying so much lately to impress on people how nice wool can be that I'd lost sight a little bit of how much I like linen, so I'm really excited about it right now.
Last edited by Oisín Leathshúileach on Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Joseph Windstalker » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:35 am

Thank you, sounds like I made a wise desicion in buying some the other day then. Though I do hope to invest in some linen down the line.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Bahli Padma » Sun May 03, 2009 12:07 am

I love your enthusiasm. It's a great way to get more people interested in more completely authentic garb. Rock on!!
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Qorin » Sun May 03, 2009 8:31 am

  How useful, finally a bit of knowledge to help me decide what fabric to use!
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Grey Wolfcaller » Sun May 03, 2009 1:34 pm

Great thread. I managed to catch a JoAnn's sale on linen and linen look-alikes for some summer stuff for Rag. Unfortunately 100% linen was a bit too steep for me right now, even at 50% off. But after digging through bolt after bolt of 55/45 linen/rayon I finally found a nice off-white bolt of 60/40 linen/cotton. I need to keep an eye out for local or online wool sales so I can start getting some fall/winter stuff together.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Alric » Sun May 03, 2009 2:05 pm

Linen/rayon is ok, too, though I prefer 100%.

www.fabric-store.com has linen at about a third of Joann's regular price, before shipping. After shipping, it's still half what Joann's charges, and twice the quality.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Grey Wolfcaller » Mon May 04, 2009 2:27 pm

[quote=&quot;Alric&quot;]
Linen/rayon is ok, too, though I prefer 100%.

www.fabric-store.com has linen at about a third of Joann's regular price, before shipping. After shipping, it's still half what Joann's charges, and twice the quality.
[/quote]

Sweet. I avoided the rayon blend cause I sweat like a pig in rayon. But I may consider a rayon blend for some undertunics for fall/winter.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Twolf » Mon May 04, 2009 5:38 pm

If only I had this information a year ago.  I'm sitting on a pile of fabric that I'm trying to turn into garb.

Anyways, the one question I have for this thread/topic is that although pure black is not period for linens, what about wools?
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Alric » Mon May 04, 2009 5:47 pm

It's possible... you have to mix some iron-something into the mordent when you're dying, and you can get a color that's very dark brown. And you can use multiple dye types to get a truer black. Jet black you're not going to see, but something very dark could be done.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Twolf » Mon May 04, 2009 11:43 pm

Yeah, I just want to know if that black wool that was linked is appropriate to use for Garb.  I might use it anyways, but if it's inappropriate for period then I just won't act as high and mighty about it.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Mon May 04, 2009 11:55 pm

Lol . . . as usual, what Alric said.  ;)

The sort of true, jet black that's very easy to produce today was not available until some point that I'm not sure of.  Close could be produced in wool, but it was very expensive because it required first-round baths in three different expensive, permanent dyes . . . sorry, but I don't remember which.  A bath in the blacksmith's rust bucket turns leather a pretty good shade of black, but doesn't work quite so well for cloth.

I know that by the 15th century or so, black linen is being made, but I'm still in the process of trying to understand the historical development of textile dyes over the Medieval period, so I can't really tell you when this started.  I think it was late, though.  So, if your name is Hanzo, you can feel free to wear black linen.

Or, you can be like me, like using black, and use some anyway.  Living history kit?  Probably not . . . but for Dagorhir, it's fine.  As long as you're open and honest about the corners you cut, I see no problem with cutting some.  There's nothing wrong, imo, with deciding to do something "wrong" because you like it that way . . . it's part of being human.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Kensman Ilariia » Tue May 05, 2009 9:55 am

Or you could sheer a black sheep.  It's not a true/jet black, more of a charcoal, but it's still a black that doesn't take ridiculous about of dying.  It would be a rarity (= expensive) but I could see that.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Stugos » Thu May 07, 2009 8:37 am

From: http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB2/ ... tiles+list





WOOLS:

www.bsharpfabrics.com

http://www.renaissancefabrics.net

www.hertsfabrics.co.uk

www.fabricsonmillst.com

www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com

www.classactfabrics.com

www.bblackandsons.com (one of my favs)

www.denverfabrics.com

www.fashionfabricsclub.com

www.carolinacalicoes.com

www.woolrichfabrics.com

www.wood-n-woven.com

www.sirsfabric.com

www.fabric.com be careful, some nylon blends in the mix

http://wmboothdraper.com

www.reconstructinghistory.com

www.historicenterprises.com (sometimes Gwen has extra fabric for sale)

http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com



LINENS

www.bsharpfabrics.com

http://www.renaissancefabrics.net/

www.hertsfabrics.co.uk/

www.sirsfabric.com

www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com

http://wmboothdraper.com

www.fabric.com Relatively nubby free Irish linens!

www.fabric-store.com Tends to have nubbier linens but very cheap

www.reconstructinghistory.com

http://www.graylinelinen.com/category_s/35.htm


LINSEY-WOOLSEY

http://www.renaissancefabrics.net/

http://wmboothdraper.com




SILKS

www.bsharpfabrics.com

http://www.renaissancefabrics.net/

www.sirsfabric.com

www.dharmatrading.com

www.fabric.com

www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com

http://www.fabricguru.com


HEMPS

www.dharmatrading.com

www.fabric.com

http://wmboothdraper.com





HEMP LINEN:
www.dharmatrading.com



HEMP SILK:
www.dharmatrading.com



PERIOD "NOTIONS": (some attention has been paid to acquiring period threads, etc)


www.bsharpfabrics.com (nice assortment--silk threads too)

http://www.renaissancefabrics.net/

http://wmboothdraper.com

www.reconstructinghistory.com

www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Kensman Ilariia » Thu May 07, 2009 9:03 am

B Sharp is currently closed :(
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Gylkryst_Rjodrvaldyr » Thu May 07, 2009 10:42 am

I have a rus/eastern style kaftan made with a wool blend(majority being wool) and a silk lining. I wear it in winter and it keeps me more than warm, but it also breathes fairly well. I don't know silks natural properties really, but the coat is my favorite piece of garb.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Thu May 07, 2009 10:43 am

Yup, I've seen the list but I wanted to avoid including the whole thing in my first post because it's confusing and somewhat unnecessary for people who are just starting out.  I wanted to point people towards sites that both have good stuff and are easy to use and navigate.

I'm glad the whole list is here, though.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Thu May 07, 2009 10:44 am

[quote=&quot;Gylkryst_Rjodrvaldyr&quot;]
I have a rus/eastern style kaftan made with a wool blend(majority being wool) and a silk lining. I wear it in winter and it keeps me more than warm, but it also breathes fairly well. I don't know silks natural properties really, but the coat is my favorite piece of garb.
[/quote]

I want one of these at some point.  I really, really do . . .
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Kensman Ilariia » Thu May 07, 2009 10:51 am

Heh heh.  Need to pick which one first.  There are a ton of styles ;)
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Gylkryst_Rjodrvaldyr » Thu May 07, 2009 12:09 pm

[quote=&quot;Oisín Leathshúileach&quot;]
[quote=&quot;Gylkryst_Rjodrvaldyr&quot;]
I have a rus/eastern style kaftan made with a wool blend(majority being wool) and a silk lining. I wear it in winter and it keeps me more than warm, but it also breathes fairly well. I don't know silks natural properties really, but the coat is my favorite piece of garb.
[/quote]

I want one of these at some point.  I really, really do . . .
[/quote]

mine is based off an online pattern called Rollo's riding coat. I changes the cut of the skirt part though to make a slit in the front. It was actually an accident at first, but i found a guy in Jomsvikings that had one a lot like mine with the slit in the front. So i based it on that haha.

Where would a irish guy get one of these? or is oisin more far traveled than Ireland. I guess maybe if he was Gallish(i believe that's the northern celt/ norse mix culture, right)?
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Kensman Ilariia » Thu May 07, 2009 3:16 pm

Yeah...the Rollo riding coat....looks great..such a documentation mess.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Thu May 07, 2009 9:37 pm

[quote=&quot;Gylkryst_Rjodrvaldyr&quot;]
[quote=&quot;Oisín Leathshúileach&quot;]
[quote=&quot;Gylkryst_Rjodrvaldyr&quot;]
I have a rus/eastern style kaftan made with a wool blend(majority being wool) and a silk lining. I wear it in winter and it keeps me more than warm, but it also breathes fairly well. I don't know silks natural properties really, but the coat is my favorite piece of garb.
[/quote]

I want one of these at some point.  I really, really do . . .
[/quote]

mine is based off an online pattern called Rollo's riding coat. I changes the cut of the skirt part though to make a slit in the front. It was actually an accident at first, but i found a guy in Jomsvikings that had one a lot like mine with the slit in the front. So i based it on that haha.

Where would a irish guy get one of these? or is oisin more far traveled than Ireland. I guess maybe if he was Gallish(i believe that's the northern celt/ norse mix culture, right)?
[/quote]

An Irish guy would get one of these from his mother/sister/wife who made it for him, lol.  I'm moving my persona more towards 9th/10th century away from the 4th/5th century that I was doing, so at this point you have a lot of cultural contact between the Irish and Norse.

Also, no such thing is Gallish.  There is Gaulish (which is sometimes Gallic, ie, Caesar's "The Gallic War"), which refers to Gaul in France in Roman (and pre-Roman) times.  There is also the Irish word gall which means foreigner, which is what the Irish called the Norse during the Viking period (thus Donegal comes from Dun na nGall, which means fortress of the foreigner, after a Viking town that was there until about 1160), which is probably what you're thinking of.

There is a strong Hiberno-Norse syncretic culture that formed starting in the 9th century, and both the Gaels and the Norse adopted a great many aspects of each others' culture, with the end result being that like more famous later generations the grandsons of Vikings became more Irish than the Irish themselves, so I assume that's what you're referring to?
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Gylkryst_Rjodrvaldyr » Fri May 08, 2009 9:55 am

yeah basically. I was under the impression however that hiberno-norse was simplified by calling it Gallish after a while, but perhaps someone led me astray on that. I knew it meant foreigner however.

It's a real fun coat. Did you have ideas for colors?
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Drunken Bob (For Congress) » Fri May 08, 2009 10:12 am

[quote=&quot;Oisín Leathshúileach&quot;]


The other benefit at events like Ragnarok is that lanolin, the oil from sheep's hair and skin, is very slightly antiseptic.  It won't stop you from getting a cold, the flu, black plague, small pox, ebola, syphilis, AIDS, cooties, dandruff, or your mom's bad perfume--although if you do it Medieval style and use a lambskin condom, it might do something for syphilis. 

[/quote]

but will it cure the Swine Flu?
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Nova3 » Fri May 08, 2009 12:28 pm

I live in an apartment with limited to space and limited control over how gentle my washer/dryer can go. Suggestions on taking care of linen/wool in an environment not conducive to taking care of these kinds of cloth?

It's hard to hang up a 3 yrd piece of cloth in my closet, and hanging over the balcony is sort of...I'd be afraid to lose the stuff and especially in maryland it rains for forever.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Stugos » Fri May 08, 2009 12:57 pm

I have always thrown my wool and linen kit into the washer like normal clothes.  I've had some garments for 5 years or more and have had no problems, but I have never worried about keeping a garment worsted and just let them fuller out.  I have worn fullered wools in the summer (at rag, fighting) no problem, and my first Rag I was wearing a blanket weight wool tunic and did just fine with a linen undertunic.  I stayed quite cool and would get chilly in the shade if a breeze was blowing!  So if you live in an apartment with a harsh washing machine, don't worry about it too much.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby MidnightWolf » Fri May 08, 2009 5:25 pm

i wash/dry my wool and linen when i buy it. then when i make outfits from them i wash/dry the linen and don't do anything to the wool. they don't need it. the linen sucks up all the sweat etc.  wool just carries that "camp fire" smell for a while but then it goes away.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Kensman Ilariia » Fri May 08, 2009 5:49 pm

For the more delicate items, you may just need to spot clean it then take it to the dry cleaners every 3 or 4 events.  It sucks a little, but is better than the nicer items shrinking or getting damaged in the wash.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Ketch » Mon May 18, 2009 6:57 pm

What a great sorce of information on where to buy fabric & save some money.

I did not know you could buy it on line at so many different places. 

Do they offer paterns as well.

Thanks for the post.   
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Sirilay, Innaniel » Tue May 19, 2009 11:44 pm

Don't want to derail the thread, but I can speak on raw silk.

Like worsted wool, raw silk is a wicking material. As a scout, I've had it pounded into my head again and again--wicking and wool. The wicking layer takes away the moisture, the wool holds it and won't make you cold. I have it as lining on my wool tunic and pants. I also want to say Taltosh has a tunic made of raw silk, or silk at least.

Anywho, I checked out some of those links, and found heavy wool melton. Can anyone weigh in on the meaning of 'melton'?
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Alric » Wed May 20, 2009 12:03 am

Melton is coating wool, about the thickness of felt (though not necessarily felted). My coat is made from it.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Sita Avaaraa » Thu May 21, 2009 2:50 pm

Good job on the thread!  It was very informative.  I now have some tid-bits to go back and impress my costuming professor with. ;D

I like the side comments on muslin.  I personally love the stuff.  You can get it super-cheap and in bleached or natural fiber.  You can get it (I believe in a 30" width) for $0.99/ yard at Jo-ann's... which = a nice full peasant shirt for roughly $5, not including notions.  The only problem I have with it is it can be pretty see through, so you have to watch it sometimes.  At the costume shop I work at we build mock-ups of all the clothing we're going to make for a production out of muslin first.  It's cheaper to do fittings/ adjustments for the actors and work out the kinks before we move on to the higher quality material. 

Kudos again on the post! :)
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Thu May 21, 2009 10:40 pm

[quote=&quot;Sirilay, Innaniel&quot;]
Don't want to derail the thread, but I can speak on raw silk.

Like worsted wool, raw silk is a wicking material. As a scout, I've had it pounded into my head again and again--wicking and wool. The wicking layer takes away the moisture, the wool holds it and won't make you cold. I have it as lining on my wool tunic and pants. I also want to say Taltosh has a tunic made of raw silk, or silk at least.

Anywho, I checked out some of those links, and found heavy wool melton. Can anyone weigh in on the meaning of 'melton'?
[/quote]

Excellent . . . know anything about what type of silk?  Are you talking about noil?  That seems to be what people generally mean by the term raw silk, but I'm not sure.

You seem to be phrasing this in terms of stuff that will keep you warm in the winter.  How does it fare for keeping you cool in the summer?

EDIT:  Oh, and you're not derailing at all, that's exactly the sort of input I was looking for!  Info about fibers that I don't know much about . . .
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Alric » Tue May 26, 2009 10:34 am

I just wanted to add, I wore light-weight tropical worsted wool over linen this weekend and fought all day (high 84°F) without getting hot. I was soaked in sweat, but comfortable. It's really cool, and it does work.

And, while my linen got really smelly from my sweat, the wool didn't.

So! Just tossing this out there to agree with what Oisin and others have said about the great properties of wool (and better, wool with linen) in the summer. I loved it.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Sirilay, Innaniel » Sun May 31, 2009 2:44 am

Fun fact about cotton:

Yes, of course it was imported to British Isles/Europe in the medieval period. It was actually sold off as silk much of the time, as trickery and ignorance was also abundant. Buyers wouldn't know it was cotton until someone with actual knowledge of silk came along and informed them, hence why cotton was still seen as a luxury cloth.

[quote=&quot;Alric&quot;]
And, while my linen got really smelly from my sweat, the wool didn't.
[/quote]

Ha! This is actually a great selling point for me. I generally judge the need to wash something by smell rather than presence of dirt.

Here's a question: how does the absorption of sweat into these different cloths affect their durability? Does the (for lack of a more specific descriptor) crap in our sweat wear away at linen or wool?

I've actually never worn my raw silk/wool garb in the summer. I have a grand feeling it wouldn't work, but I've been plenty wrong before, and Alric's testimony seems to prove that. I can probably tell you after practice tomorrow.
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Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC) Suppliers and Advice!

Postby Oisín Leathshúileach » Sun May 31, 2009 3:47 am

The "crap in our sweat" (a pretty effective way of describing it) is bad for linen in the long run, which is why I say in my first post that you should wash linen regularly, but doesn't degrade wool at all for the same reasons that wool doesn't get body odor:  the natural antiseptic properties of lanolin.
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