I like to shop in thrift stores and there’s a few things that I am always on the watch for. One of these items is pretty much anything made from linen. It doesn’t matter if it’s napkins and tablecloths or pants and shirts, if it’s linen, and a reasonable price, I snag it.
Part of the reason for this is simple. Linen cloth is expensive to buy new. Linen clothing isn’t cheap and it’s rare to find linen tableware or sheets or towels anymore unless you are internet shopping, and even there, not cheap. Since linen takes a long time to wear out, it’s a more ecological and longer-lasting option to the ubiquitous cotton that everything seems to be made of. It also has less chemical processing than cotton and is more comfortable to wear in hot weather due to it’s wicking nature compared to cotton and it’s tendency to absorb and retain moisture.
In years past, pure Irish linen was a prized gift for hostesses. I have found card table sets, a small square linen tablecloth and four matching linen napkins, still in the original gift box, for a dollar. I’ve found multiple sets of napkins for a quarter a napkin. I still haven’t found a large tablecloth, but when I do I’m going to make a dress out of it!
So when I find linen clothing in my size, and sometimes even if it’s not (if it’s cheap enough, I get it and give it to friends, I’m pretty evangelical about linen at this point), I buy it. I don’t really worry too much about color or style as a lot of things can be dealt with pretty easily. Case in point. A week ago I was in my local thrift store and found a linen capri pant and top set. There were a couple of issues. First was the color, a lovely Easter Egg shade of green that makes me look ill if I try to wear it. The second was that the pants had a full polyester lining! In linen! Sort of defeats the point really, however because of the light color they were a little more translucent than the typical person may want to wear, which is probably why they lined them. Here are the pants prior to the removal of the lining.
So I cut the lining out. I didn’t do anything to fancy, just a sharp pair of scissors and removed it being careful to not cut any other fabric. Here’s what the set looks like after that.
So I have never dyed an entire outfit before and I do a little research and find that good ol’ Rit dye is still a really popular (and available) choice for this. So I order some on Amazon (no stores around here had any colors that I wanted) and it came this past week. So this weekend, I followed the instructions and dyed this outfit dark blue.
The stitching is still green but most of it isn’t visible on the outside of the fabric. I still haven’t decided what exactly to do with the sleeves. The are three-quarter length and fit me rather badly. I may take it to someone with seamstress skills and have it made into a sleeveless top instead. If I do, I will show you the final results. However, as it stands, I spent a dollar on the actual outfit and around three dollars on the dye. For four dollars, I have a linen outfit that I can actually wear.