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Itchy linen shirts?

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Chasseur, May 21, 2009.

  1. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

    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?

  2. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Whatever you do, don't dry them! :rolleyes: :eusa_doh:
    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. [huh]
  3. 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. Inusuit

    Inusuit A-List Customer

    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.
  5. 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. dakotanorth

    dakotanorth Practically Family


    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. "Skeet" McD

    "Skeet" McD Practically Family

    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!

  8. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    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. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

    Thanks guys! I'll give them a soak and hand dry them and try again.
  10. I have some linen/silk blend shirts. If you see them, try them.
  11. carter

    carter I'll Lock Up

    I have some linen/rayon blend and they are very comfortable. I believe they were made by Timberland.
  12. DerMann

    DerMann Practically Family

    A few years back I scored a pair of 100% linen shirts from Landsend for a stupidly low price.

    Wash them a few times and you'll be good for the most part. I like the feeling of new linen, though, feels so clean and crisp.

    That's also one thing that linen-poly or linen-cotton blends won't give you - a great fabric to starch into faultless sheets.

    Wonderful fiber.
  13. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Don't feel bashful; I would say it's relatively "retro" to enjoy some polyfabric mixes. They can be cooler in the summer, I've found; especially those rayon blends. I have a late 60's/early 70's era rayon Hawaiian shirt that is extremely cool.

    Excellent advise. Perhaps that would explain why some of my shirts looks like socks rung out by the Hulk. :eusa_doh:

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