WEEK 1 Sponsor – Scottish Linen have donated a £40 voucher for their online shop to spend on the fabric of your choice! This will be awarded to the best 100 Acts of Sewing Hack on Pants No 1 or Skirt No 1 posted on Instagram between 9am Mon 1st July and 9am Monday 8th July 2019 – see this post for full details!
I started to hear about Scottish Linen a year or two ago, mainly through Scottish makers such as Sarah from Woolly Originals who uses their cloth for the lining of her beautiful bags. There’s nothing I like more than a good mill, especially one that weaves linen, so when we planned a few days visit to Fife over May holiday, I decided to go and visit.
Scottish Linen is the retail side of Peter Greig & Co, who have operated a weaving mill in Kirkaldy since 1825. (Non-Scots - I‘ll let you know now it’s pronounced Kirk-coddy – I lived in Scotland for several years and got things wrong - a lot.)
original photo of the mill
Now sadly the last linen manufacturer in the country, the company nonetheless is thriving and continues to carry on the tradition of weaving in Scotland, in both linen and wool.
Peter Greig & Co produce natural fibre fabrics for the furnishing, apparel and industrial industries, whilst Scottish Linen is the mail order business for smaller manufacturers and individual makers and sewists. Most of the raw flax comes from various suppliers in Europe and is all quality checked. Dyeing and finishing also takes place in other locations in Scotland so it really is Scottish made! Linen is a more environmentally sound fabric than cotton and just gets better with age, so is a great choice for the 100 Acts of Sewing patterns.
You can visit the Sample Room by appointment so see their fabrics and colours in the flesh. It’s run by Lissara Cathrew, who was really generous with her time and knowledge when I visited. The choice is quite overwhelming but Lissara pointed me in the right direction of the different weights that where suitable for garments and sent down to the factory for some gorgeous striped linen that I’d seen online.
The Sample Room is a joy to behold with shelves and bins piled high with rolls, tantalising samples waiting to be posted and the historical accoutrements of the weaving industry hidden in every nook and cranny.
Unfortunately it’s not possible to visit the mill itself – it’s a factory, not a tourist attraction, but you can soak up much of the feel of the place right there in that sample room. I was lucky that the MD, Angus Nicoll, also popped in when I was there – you get the impression it is very much a family company that is proud of its history and heritage but happy and willing to move the business into the future.
I’ve used the striped linen for a simple pair of Pants No 1 – all I added was a bit of length and a simple patch pocket to make the most of the stripe and the selvedge.
You can shop online at http://www.scottishlinen.com/ where there are also details about making an appointment.
You an also see my little video review of their fabric on YouTube.
A massive thank you to Lissara and the team for making me so welcome and donating this generous prize.