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Thread: Itchy linen shirts?

  1. #1
    Call Me a Cab Chasseur's Avatar
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    Itchy linen shirts?




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    Odd question:

    Lately I've been picking up linen and cotton/linen blend shirts for warm weather. However, often I've found them to rather 'itchy' when new. Any tricks to make them softer?

    Perhaps just giving them a good hand wash?

    Thanks!
    "His modest resources meant that he could dress no more than reasonably well, but he did so with a kind of faded elegance that ignored the dictates of fashion... the overall effect was of someone frozen in time, indifferent to the new fashions of the agitated age he was living through. The truth is that he took pleasure in this, for obscure reasons that perhaps even he could not have explained."
    -Arturo Perez-Reverte

  2. #2
    My Mail is Forwarded Here Undertow's Avatar
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    Whatever you do, don't dry them!
    How many times have I ruined a perfectly good shirt?

    I find a brisk handwash (and I mean brisk) followed by a hang-dry usually helps mine. But I could be crazy.
    "We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will." ~ C. Palahniuk

  3. #3
    Call Me a Cab avedwards's Avatar
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    I know I am likely to be shown the door for saying this, but I find polyester-cotton blend shirts the most comfortable. I have 100% polyester shirts and they are vile, but my 100% cotton shirts aren't much better as they are so thick that they just get too warm. My polyester-cotton shirts are just the right thickness and texture though and I never find them too warm or uncomfortable. My most comfortable ones are the ones that I bought for only a few each, first hand at normal price. So I don't see why people invest in linen when polyester-cotton is much cheaper and very comfortable. Just my opinion of course, it is possible that I have strange skin and find different things comfortable to other people.

  4. #4
    "A List" Customer Inusuit's Avatar
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    Hand wash and iron does it for me. I recall buying a couple of Brooks Brothers linen shirts while visting my wife's grandmother. When I showed them to her, she said "The trouble with linen is that it wrinkles when worn." I replyed, "Yes, and every one of those wrinkles says 'not polyester.'"

    My boss once asked me, "How can you stand to wear those itchy wool shirts?" I said "I can stand it because I'm one tough SOB.

    Man up.
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  5. #5
    I'll Lock Up cookie's Avatar
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    Even Irish linen shirts after many washings can be a little hard against the skin. Chinese linen seems to soften more with washing. My .02c....

  6. #6
    Practically Family dakotanorth's Avatar
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    Linen?

    Not sure if anyone actually makes shirts from this material, but I've worn some linen and rayon pants- boy are they comfortable! The fabric is pretty common and reasonably priced too, in case you decide to have one made.

  7. #7
    Practically Family "Skeet" McD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasseur
    Odd question:

    Lately I've been picking up linen and cotton/linen blend shirts for warm weather. However, often I've found them to rather 'itchy' when new. Any tricks to make them softer?

    Perhaps just giving them a good hand wash?

    Thanks!
    Dear Chasseur, in my decade of 18th century reenacting, I wore a LOT of linen smallclothes. Yes, there are grades of linen, and how much hackling the fibers have been subjected to is a consideration (and one you can do nothing about, once you've bought the fabric)...but the good news is: linen just keeps getting better and better the more it is washed and worn.

    Do both (more of the latter than the former at the beginning if you want to spare yourself a bit...and, like the man said: be careful not to shrink it) and I guarantee you, soon you'll be unhappy wearing anything else.

    The fact that linen, like marble, has the physical property of being cooler than the ambient temperature by a few degrees is a plus in warm weather: an extra advantage at no extra charge!

    Salut,
    "Skeet"
    Tradition cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labor.

    T.S. Eliot

  8. #8
    Incurably Addicted
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    Quote Originally Posted by Undertow
    I find a brisk handwash (and I mean brisk)
    Actually, it's best to soak shirts for an extended period of time (overnight or longer if possible) in order for dirt and oils to be released from the fabric. The less trauma to the fibers, the better.

  9. #9
    Call Me a Cab Chasseur's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! I'll give them a soak and hand dry them and try again.
    "His modest resources meant that he could dress no more than reasonably well, but he did so with a kind of faded elegance that ignored the dictates of fashion... the overall effect was of someone frozen in time, indifferent to the new fashions of the agitated age he was living through. The truth is that he took pleasure in this, for obscure reasons that perhaps even he could not have explained."
    -Arturo Perez-Reverte

  10. #10
    One Too Many Talbot's Avatar
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    I have some linen/silk blend shirts. If you see them, try them.

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