Linen Fabrics

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Linen/Wool Fabric Order Form

Linen is a fabric is made of flax or hemp fibers. The finest flax linens came from Ireland and Holland. Coarser linens often came from the German states. Also from eastern Europe came hemp linens. Hemp linens were coarser than flax linens, but ounce for ounce they are much stronger and thus used for rope, tenting, sails, and canvas. The word canvas was derived from the Dutch word cannabis, which is hemp. The word Russia was also used in association with fabric made of hemp. Nowadays most hemp fabrics come from China, Poland or the Czech Republic.

If you have any doubts as to the suitability of these fabrics for your project please request swatches before ordering, as there are no returns on fabrics. For swatches please send us a SASE with your request of specific fabrics desired. Note: a maximum of three swatches per envelope. Swatches are free (limit of 4), and without a SASE, with any order.

Flax Linens:

soldiers shirtingSoldiers Shirting - off-white color, 8 oz/sq yd, 0.02" thick, 58" wide, $16.00/yd. This flax linen is nearly identical to that used on a common shirt, dating from the late 18th-early 19th Century, that we examined in a private collection. Approximately 2 1/3 yards required for a shirt, 4 yards for two shirts. I cut a 4 yard length of this linen, washed it in warm water cycle in the washing machine, and it shrunk approx 8% in length. No appreciable shrinkage in width.

officers shirtingOfficers Shirting - white, 4 oz/sq yd, 0.01" thick, 59" wide, $16.00/yd. A finer flax linen suitable for officers shirts and chemises/shifts. Approximately 2 ½ yards required for a shirt, 4 ¼ yards for two shirts.

osnaburg linenOsnaburg Linen - unbleached flax/hemp blend, 9 oz/sq yd, 0.03" thick, 59" wide, $16.00/yd. Osnaburg is a unbleached natural beige linen suitable for haversacks, kettle bags, and coat sleeve and body linings. The name comes from the German region where the fabric originated. The weave of this linen matches an original British haversack.

Glazed Holland Beetled Linen - a finer quality and tighter weave linen that has a glazed finish and is known as 'beetled' linen. This linen was use to line hats, pockets, sleeves, and some womens garments. 30" wide. Imported from the William Clark Co, which has been in business since 1736 and is the last linen beetler in Ireland. Available in white and natural brown for $22/yd, and black $36/yd.

Hemp Linens:

russia drillingRussia Drilling - Natural beige color, 13 oz/sq yd, 0.04" thick, 59" wide, $20.00/yd. Thread size: 16/2 x 10. Weave density: 53 x 32 threads per inch. A strong hemp linen fabric in a twill weave. Drilling is an 18th C. term often used to describe a twill weave. This fabric is excellent for use in smallclothes. Approximately 1 ½ yds for waistcoat, 2 yds breeches, 2 ½ yds overalls/trousers.

Russia Drilling before and after washing Russia Drilling - Natural before (top) and after (bottom) washing with detergent and chlorine bleach.


Russia Drilling WhiteRussia Drilling- White, 11 oz/sq yd, 0.03" thick, 60" wide, $20.00/yd. Thread size: 24/2 x 24/2. Weave density: 69 x 35 threads per inch. Tighter twill weave than on the natural drilling, and woven with a fine white yarn. This fabric is excellent for use in officers and civilian smallclothes. Approximately 1 ½ yds for waistcoat, 2 yds breeches, 2 ½ yds overalls/trousers.

Russia Drill - White CompairRussia Drilling - Natural (top), White (bottom).

russia sheetingRussia Sheeting - off-white pale tan color, 12 oz/sq yd, 0.03" thick, 60" wide, $20.00/yd. Thread size: 10/2 x 10/2. Weave density: 34 x 28 threads per inch. This fabric is a close match to an 18th C. swatch in Stockholm Sweden identified as being tent fabric. Other uses for this fabric are spatterdashes, knapsacks, sailcloths, hunting shirts, trousers, etc. Hemp linen readily absorbs water. To use this fabric for a tent or similar article I suggest you apply the Blue Magic Tectron brand of water repellent spray. For about $20 you can treat a whole wedge tent and the spray doesn't discolor the linen. If this sheeting had a glazed finish, which would help it shed water, it would be called Duck. Unfortunately a glazed hemp linen isn't currently available.

Heavy Canvas Russia Heavy Canvas - Natural unbleached beige color, 21 oz/sq yd, 0.05" thick, 64" wide, Thread size: 4/2 x 4.4/2. Weave density: 26 warp x 16 weft threads per inch. $26.00/yd. This is heavy-duty fabric suitable for knapsacks, seats, bags, etc. Canvas denotes a hemp linen with heavier yarns than those used in sheeting or duck. Out of Stock

Horsehair Fabric - BlackHorsehair Fabric - Black - for use in making neckstocks and cockades. 27 inch wide. Minimum one foot (ie 12" or 1/3 yard) order. $54.00 per yard


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First launched 5-9-91.