I bought a garment in natural white linen, how should I care for it?
Good news: Our linen and cotton are really durable and easy to wash.
Each garment is sent with specific care instructions. But just in case you lost them, here are my quick tips:
Machine wash your white linen clothing on its own or with other white clothing. Any piece containing hand stitching, such as my kimono robes should be hand washed or machine washed in a mesh garment bag.
All Charlie Darwin garments have been prewashed twice, which should reduce any chance that your garment shrinks after you purchase it. However, I still recommend that you wash your clothes no hotter than the "warm" setting unless you've got a stain on them (then go hot wash and air dry!)
Machine dry on a cool setting until the garment is 90% dry, then hang to dry the rest of the way. This will keep your item soft without shrinking.
Or, air dry. Air drying will ensure that your garment does not shrink at all, but it also makes the linen garment a little bit "crunchier" once it's dry. This can easily be mitigated by scrunching up the dried garment and rubbing it into itself to sort of loosen up the fibers.
Iron: I love the natural wrinkle of linen clothing! However, if you would prefer to go wrinkle-free, I recommend using a hot iron with lots of steam.
How should I take care of my naturally dyed clothing?
Wash: the safest way to wash is with cold water and mild detergent (as ph neutral as possible). But earthy materials are always in flux-- I truly accept and enjoy the changes of natural colors over time. It feels alive and adds transformative beauty to the piece.
Dry: The way you dry will yield different results. Here are the pros and cons of different drying techniques...
Pros: gets the linen super soft; quicker dry time (<20 minutes if put in the dryer alone with a dry towel)
Cons: will cause small amounts of shrinkage each time; high heat or repetitive heating will likely cause the natural colors to fade little bits over time. But this is all a part of the natural life cycle, and faded earth tones are still very beautiful in my opinion.
Tips: Mitigate this by only drying 80-90%, and letting it air dry the rest of the way. If you are worried about shrinkage, give each section little tugs when they are still at 80% dry in order to return them to their original size.
Pros: will likely increase how long you get the original depth of shade of the dye color
Cons: Longer dry time, takes up space (you shouldn't let it dry in direct sunlight if you want to reduce fading), and fabric typically feels a little bit crispy to the touch once it's dry.
Tips: Mitigate this crispy feeling by rubbing the garment into itself. Ball it up in your hands and sort of scrub it with itself. This loosens up the fibers and gets them feeling much softer!
How I treat my own naturally dyed linen clothing:
I machine wash with gentle detergent and with other clothing of like colors. I machine dry with the same load, but remove from dryer when 90% dry (I usually check it at around 20-30 minutes in). Stretch out any pieces that look too small, like sleeves, skirts, pant legs, etc. But I dont go overkill because linen naturally will stretch back out after about an hour on an active, warm body.
What does Made-to-Measure mean, and what are the benefits?
All Charlie Darwin garments are "made-to-measure". This means that they are cut and sewn to fit the specific measurements of your body! I ask for your relevant body measurements that I may need at checkout, such as your bust, waist, and hip measurements. Guidelines for how to take these measurements can be found here. All you need is a piece of string and a ruler.
The benefits of made-to-measure clothing:
Reduces the rate of returns, which reduces the environmental footprint made by return shipping, and it reduces the guilt that you feel about returning (or forgetting to return) your clothing because it fits you right the first time.
You are happier with your clothing, making it more likely that you wear it many times over, and you wont let your closet build up with unworn and unfitting items.
It requires you to buy the garment for yourself only, or as a gift only with consent from the wearer. I know, seems crazy that I wouldn't want you to buy my items as gifts. And I still do want you to, in the right circumstance! But nonconsensually gifted clothing is a HUGE contributor to fast fashion and clothing waste. How many times has someone gifted you something that you wore once out of pity then donated to Goodwill or chucked into the landfill? Clothing is an expression of one's personality, and I want each of my garments to be a perfect fit (physically and stylistically) for the wearer.
How can I mend my garments if I've gotten a rip or a stain?
First of all, please ALWAYS MEND before giving up on an item! Durability is one of the top three priorities I have with each of my garments. I want everything I send to you to be able to outlive you, while still being capable of degrading naturally into the earth when the time comes. And that is the beauty of linen, which is made of flax (a plant) and gets more durable with each wash.
But there is the inevitable rip or stain that comes along with living an adventurous life. Sometimes your dog steps in his own shit and jumps up to give you a bear hug in your nice white jumper, and damnit his claws tore straight through the pocket just to add insult to injury! When that time comes... just remember, repair is noble! With every order, I include a small mending kit personalized to the garment you purchased. It includes a matching piece of scrap fabric, matching thread, a sewing needle, and any other buttons or doodads that you might need.
You may be ruing the day that you screwed around in the sewing portion of FACS class in 7th grade, but I promise you, stitching linen fabric is a breeze!
Just iron out the fabric scrap I sent you so it lays nice and flat. Clean and iron your garment.
Unwind the thread I sent, and thread it through the eye (the hole) of the needle.
There are countless videos on youtube that can walk you through the rest! Just search "How to do visible mending" or "boro stitching for beginners"
Can I request a customization of Charlie darwin clothing?
Charlie Darwin clothing is already sewn to your specific body measurements, but sometimes you may want to shorten pants to capris or add pockets, waist ties, a raw hem, etc. If you have special requests, I am usually willing and excited to accommodate them for free.
You can request garments be made in a fabric that I don't usually offer, or in a size larger than the measurement range on the website. This type of advanced customization is an additional $15 at a minimum and you will need to email me about the adjustments prior to placing your order.
Any other customizations that you dream up are worth exploring! Please get in touch via email so we can discuss your vision.
How can I reduce my chance of needing to make a return?
Read our guidelines carefully for how to take your body measurements. Take your measurements while wearing your usual bra and underwear that you would have on under the garment you're purchasing.
Write down and double-check your body measurements before placing your order.
If you are very tall (72" or taller), leave a note at checkout with your exact height.
Request fabric and color samples if you are nervous about the texture or needing the color to match something you already own. I can mail these to you for free, just ask me via email. Charliedarwinco@gmail.com
How can I get free shipping?
Free first-class shipping on all orders to the U.S. over $150
Free Priority Mail (2-day) shipping on all orders to the U.S. over $200
Free shipping on your first order (U.S. and international) when you sign up for my email newsletter.
For more information about shipping, see our shipping information page.
Email me to arrange free local pickup if you are in the Providence, RI area. Charliedarwinco@gmail.com
Where do you source your fabric from?
I currently source my linen fabric from Fabrics-Store.com
Where are the clothes made?
All items (clothing, hangers, dye kits, etc) are handmade in my studio in Providence, RI. I personally sew, dye, and package every garment, and I hand carve and wood-burn the clothes hangers.
To learn more about my story, check out the about page, and follow me on Instagram @charli.e.darwin
How do you create your sewing patterns and sizing?
I take a look at what's already in my closet and think about which aspects I love about things, and how they could be better. I incorporate ideas from historical fashion and modern looks I curate on Pinterest. From there, I draw out my new design, and then make a "practice" garment (called a toile) which usually is a little bit wonky. After a few adjustments to get it to be the perfect fit, I finalize my sewing pattern on large brown kraft paper. When I go to make yours, I use a special "grading" tool that allows me to make the pattern bigger and smaller by specific increments.