The hidden features of Charlie Darwin's signature linen fabric...

Updated: Sep 3



What makes CHARLIE DARWIN different? A million things! But have you noticed that almost ALL Charlie Darwin garments are made with the exact same linen fabric? That's right! So far I've designed nearly 25 garments using one fabric. You don't have to know much about the fashion industry to know that's not normal!


In 2021, I experimented with several "weights" (thicknesses and densities) of linen fabrics and found there was one that provided the perfect combination of durability and breathability. It's a medium weight, opaque (not see-through) fabric with a woven mix of fibers that are their natural hue and fibers that have been bleached. This nearly white color feels clean, crisp, and earthy when undyed, and it simultaneously takes and holds natural dye color so well!



To keep costs low on my end (and yours), I primarily purchase big 20-40 yard rolls of this linen in it's undyed form. When you place an order, I then go ahead and cut out your pattern, sew it up, and dye it using pigments from plants if you choose a naturally dyed option.


linen pants naturally dyed with black tea
SWALLOWTAIL linen pants being dyed with black tea

It's super soft

Newly woven linen fabric is quite rough to the touch but softens up over time. One critical feature of our fabric is that it has been presoftened at the manufacturer's facility, so it is already softened up and ready to wear. They soften it by blasting it with wind!


Good on your skin

The linen (which is a product of the flax plant) is grown and processed throughout Eastern Europe. It has been OEKO-TEX certified, which means that the OEKO-TEX organization tested the fabric for over 100 harmful toxins and chemicals before approving them for public use. This is known as Standard 100 and you can read more about it here: https://www.oeko-tex.com/en/our-standards/standard-100-by-oeko-tex


Good on the planet

Did you know linen will start to biodegrade back into the earth within 2 weeks? Linen fabric is a weave of fibers that are taken from a plant called "flax". There is absolutely no plastics woven in like there is for polyester, nylon, or acrylic (these fabrics take over 500 years to biodegrade!)


This summer I burried a few pieces of my naturally dyed linen in the garden to see how it breaks down over time. Here is my indigo-dyed linen that I dug up after just 2 weeks in the soil:

(I'm only 2 weeks into the experiment, will post the results of 4 and 6 weeks as it comes!)

Indigo linen biodegrading after 2 weeks
Indigo linen biodegrading after 2 weeks


Easy to care for

The more I wear my own sample garments, the more I realize how easy it is to care for!

Here are some quick tips for washing any of our undyed linen clothing:

  • Cool or warm wash on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent free of harsh chemicals. We recommend clean, clear, and gentle style detergents.

  • Machine dry on a low heat setting until the linen is still a little damp and/ or air dry flat.

  • Warm to hot iron on just-damp linen for best ironing results.

I advise against:

  • The use of bleach, harsh washing agents, and stain removers (instead use a gentle dish soap like Dawn)

  • The use of permanent press settings on your washer/dryer

To learn how to care for our naturally dyed linen fabric, check out this blog post!



 

Next, read about why I seriously love hiking in linen, or take a look at how I used this linen for 3 different looks in my Summer/Fall 2022 collection!


WHY I LOVE HIKING IN LINEN -->


INTRODUCING THE SUMMER/FALL 2022 COLLECTION-->


 


Shop some of our most popular linen pieces:






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Or just reach out and say hello at CharlieDarwinCo@gmail.com