Trying something new: Linen knit!

For my birthday, I decided to treat myself to a more luxury fabric experience: Linen knit! Italian linen knit, as my fabric store labelled it, because that makes it sound fancier, right?

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I don’t know if all linen knits are similar, or if there is a lot of range… but mine is a thin, slightly sheer, slubby knit. It has about 20% horizontal stretch and no vertical stretch. It’s quite drapey, but catches slightly on itself and other fabrics (more than a rayon knit would, for example). It sewed beautifully, even on the coverstitch, though doesn’t really have enough bounce to make a good neckband.

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Since the fabric is light and stable, I picked a loose design. You guessed it: The Santa Fe top! (Yes, that’s three in a row. Yes, there are more to come eventually, but I’ll take a break for now!) Part of the reason I keep resewing this pattern is that sometimes I love it, and sometimes I don’t. My two tanks are great; the rayon tee is a winner; an unblogged ITY tee is a fail, and this tee, sadly, is in between!

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The main problem here is the neckline. Can you see how there is a box pleat in the back neckline? Without that, it was 80’s off-the-shoulder workout wear. There’s something I don’t love about the sleeves, too – they introduce another fitting challenge, and even after I slashed and spread to add more fabric at the shoulder peak, they still pull.

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I pictured this top being so easy breezy on a hot day… but turns out it’s just sheer enough that I feel like I need to wear a camisole underneath. Goodbye, breeze! Hello, fabric sticking to the underlayer! And also – and I should have expected this – the linen wrinkles!

And yet… I’m happy I tried linen knit, and I’ll totally wear this shirt. (My husband told me I look strange in this outfit because these are “his” colours! I also think he isn’t used to me wearing all solids with no prints!) I think I would have been better off making a draped cardigan with this fabric, and maybe I’ll try that sometime.

Have you sewn with or worn linen knit? What pattern would you choose to highlight it’s strengths?ย 


38 thoughts on “Trying something new: Linen knit!

  1. Linnen knit is very comfy at hot days. It is a shame you have to wear a camisole underneath. I wear my Petroushka peplum shirt with a skin tone bra underneath. Then it is a nice breazy shirt. My neckline is very large, too. Your husband is right, this is a new colour for you and solid. But I like it and I hope you find a way to wear it at hot days.

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  2. Bummer that you have to wear a camisole under this tee, it looks so nice and breezy! And I like the solid color on you too. I’ve been wanting to try linen knits, so thanks for sharing your experience.

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    1. I feel like linen knits have potential… I’m just not sure exactly what pattern would suit them best! I even googled linen knit tops before sewing this one, to see what kind of shapes RTW clothes were using linen for. Oh well! I think this will be good if I figure out the right bra to wear under it!

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  3. It’s true that it is not your usual bright tone, but this colour looks good on you! Love this necklace too.

    I’ve made Tessuti’s Mandy boat tee in a beautiful flecked blue linen knit and, just like your tee, it is too transparent to be worn by itself. Plus, it tends to cling to my jeans or yoga pants, loosing the “fluid factor” I was looking for. Now I still have a meter of it in my stash so I think I will line it with a breezy coton knit and work it as one fabric for a tank top.

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    1. Thank you! I hate tops that do that clinging thing – and I don’t really know what to do about it! I hope you idea of lining with cotton works – keep me posted!๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. I like this change of colour, calm and cool, especially with your Kazuri beads. I have an idea for the neckline: scoop it like the front and keep the neckband across the top to hold in place. Cooler, and no box pleat…

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    1. Oooh! That’s a fun idea! I also wondered about passing the top on to you or Anne… would you like to give it a try?

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  5. I have used linen knit once, and I have to say i didn’t like it. Its quite stiff, but hasn’t softened as i would have expected linen to do. Its rough texture makes it stick to everything and drape super awkwardly. Plus, its quite scratchy and stands away from the body in an unflattering way! I’m sticking with rayon from now on๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. Wow, it didn’t soften up? Mine wasn’t too scratchy to start with, and I washed it hot and dried it hot twice before sewing… almost wish I hadn’t because then it might have shrunk a bit after sewing!๐Ÿ˜‰ Seems just a bit big right now. I defintiely prefer rayon though – rayon forever! (And sometimes bamboo, which is really just rayon…)

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  6. Are we sharing a mind?!? I JUST bought stretch linen today at Chu Shing – 25 bucks a yard. So you know where you can get it if you want to experiment some more. I’m going to make a sleeveless Concord with mine. I can’t stand the drape (or non-drape) of linen so I wonder how I’m going to pull this off. Wish me luck!

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    1. Thank you! I don’t wear this colour much as clothes, but I do like it. My work bag is khaki green, so it goes with everything I wear but doesn’t ever look totally matchy matchy. Which worked, until I bought a khaki green rain coat, and now I’m head to toe khaki on rainy days!๐Ÿ˜›

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  7. OK, I really love this. I even love the box-pleat in the back. That fabric looks so yummy. But definitely very different from your usual colour scheme! It still looks super comfy and cool and casual. And not at all sheer, but I know that can be hard to tell from pictures. I would probably make it my go-to loungewear if it were mine… I hope it finds a place in your wardrobe!๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. You know, if I wore it with only a bra to the store, probably no one would look at me and think “That’s sheer!”… but would I want to meet a student while wearing it that way? No thanks!๐Ÿ˜‰

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  8. I was wondering a while ago if there was such a thing. Now I know linen knit exists! Too bad you’re not happy with the top. I think it looks nice on you.

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    1. It really is an odd fabric! But I feel like it would be fun to become a linen whisperer, who could coax the best out of it!๐Ÿ˜‰

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  9. Thanks for writing about you experience with the linen knit. I recently bought some and it is just hanging out in my stash since I wasn’t sure what it would work best for. This very helpful for understanding a to me material. That colour is great on you!

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  10. Ohhh I had not heard of linen knit until now. This is now on my must buy fabric list to try. It seems like it would be perfect for my non-air conditioned house!

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  11. I love that type of fabric, I’ve got a few RTW tops that I found made out of it but never found the actual fabric in a fabric store. I just wanted to chirp in that the colour looks gorgeous with your hair – very striking. I hope you get a good amount of wear out of your top. I rather like birthday shopping๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Aww, thank you! I do quite like khaki green, it just doesn’t seem to be something I sew often! Hope you find some linen knit to play with some day!๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. Well, I love your top and the fact that it’s linen knot makes it perfect. I’ve seen and worn it, love, love it and wish I had more. I’ll bet you’ll enjoy wearing this even though it’s a bit different than what you usually sew. Love the color too:))

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  13. This top looks so summery! I live in linen in the summer for its natural heat-busting qualities, and I have a pretty ivory linen knit in my stash. I’m a bit at a loss for what to do with it…I tend to steer clear of basic solid tops, and the sheerness and lack of recovery make me think I need to think drapey and more flowy style…i.e exactly what I don’t wear in t-shirts. I think I just need to go for it. It’s too pretty not to wear.

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  14. Your hem looks great! I have only sewn with linen knit once and I really struggled with the tension on my machine, which is why I zeroed in on your hem haha๐Ÿ™‚

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  15. I really like it! I can see how it’s a different colour for you though. I’ve never tried a linen knit but I’ve always been curious.

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  16. Always interesting to try a new fabric, right? I also have a length of green linen knit in my stash, but I’ve been hesitant to make something with it, because it seems to be ridiculously off grain… Still thinking about what pattern would fit on it.๐Ÿ˜‰

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