Tabby is the most common weave for fabrics made of linen, also known as flax, a natural fiber. For more information, see the entry Glossary: Linen Fiber. Linen lawn is also tabby weave, but for the sake of clarity I will use this entry to discuss medium and heavier weights of linen. See Glossery: Linen Lawn for information about lawn and “handkerchief” weight linens. In modern use, specific types of linen fabric are often not specified, being referred to only by weave, weight, and/or use, as in “lightweight linen suiting” or “linen twill suiting.”
Definitions from a variety of print resources, each of which contains further information:
- Marsh, Heidi, Compiled by. Styles and So Forth of the Era of the Hoop; with Glossary. Greenville, California: Heidi Marsh, 1994.
The glossary entry for “linen” on page 178 states that “many types of strong and endurable fabrics [can be] made from the flax plant; they can be bleached pure white, have no elasticity.”
- Montgomery, Florence. Textiles in America 1650-1870: A Dictionary based on original documents, prints and paintings, commercial records, American merchants’ papers, shopkeepers’ advertisements, and pattern books with original swatches of cloth. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2007.
Entry for “Linen” on pages 277-278: “Cloth of many grades and weaves made from flax fibers.” Varieties listed include types of canvas, cambric, damask, diaper, lawn, Holland cloth, Irish cloth, twill, ticking, Osnaburg, and drilling.
- “Linen” on Wikipedia (Remember to read critically!)
- “The Prewash” by Sarai at The Coletterie
- “Fabric Series: Linen and Rayon” by Caitlin at The Coletterie
For more information about an individual fiber, fabric, or other material, select it on the right side menu for “Fibers, Fabrics, and Materials.” This will bring up all entries which have that tag, including (in most cases) a Glossary post like this one, which will offer a definition of that fiber, fabric, or material, and sometimes also offer useful links to outside sources on working with it. For more general information, visit the core entry for the Glossary: Fibers, Fabrics, and Materials. For a directory of all textile glossary posts, go to the Glossary Table of Contents.
Updated January 10, 2012