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Linen seams ugh

jules13 | Posted in Techniques on

I’m not really new to sewing, but I am new to sewing with linen.  I made a lovely pair of trousers out of some linen material, and now the seams seem to be pulling apart.  Not all of them, only in areas where there is some ‘stress’, like the hip area… It looks almost like a run in a pair of nylons would look.  Can this be avoided? How?!  I’ve been googling it, but I am not really seeing a resolution to avoid this.  The pants are not tight, they just pull a little bit when I sit down in them.   I’d be very grateful if anyone could offer some advise. I do have enough to make another pair. Is it just the nature of the material?  Perhaps its a fabric that is just not good for trousers? I used a cotton/polyester blend thread. I’m at a loss…  thank  you!


  1. user-7816864 | | #1

    The fabric is not a good choice for pants. It appears to be very loosely woven and any stress causes the threads in the fabric to slip and move around like you see in the picture. I just want to stress that it's not the linen fibre itself that is the problem, it's how it was woven. This was just poor quality fabric, loosely woven linen, which allows the fabric's threads to shift when stressed. A linen with a tighter weave will not do this. Your pants might have been saved by ironing some interfacing to the seams to stabilize the fabric before sewing. Lining the pants would have helped some by because the lining would take some of the stress off the linen. But it's too late for the pants you have already made. If you want to try making pants with the linen again, I would do the interfacing (test it first), line the pants, and choose a very loose and flowy pants pattern.

  2. koenigin | | #2

    I'm afraid, just from the photo, that it might not be very good quality fabric. At the least, it's not great fabric for that pattern, the weave is too loose in my opinion. I have lots of things made of linen and I've never had that problem. If you want to make another pair with the same fabric I would suggest using a narrow strip of fusible interfacing down the seam line before you sew. But you'll probably be happier with a different fabric for the pants and use your extra of this for something else.

    1. fabricseeker96 | | #3

      Would French seams help solve the problem?

      1. KSquared | | #4

        This is a question I had, too. However, if the fabric is of low quality, a French seam might simply slide sideways under stress as this seam appears to be doing. Still, it's worth trying on scrap fabric of the type you're sewing, Jules 13, and then stressing the French seams to see the seam still unravels.

        And, now, let me answer a question you haven't asked: you may want to consider going to a second-hand store and purchasing a pair of linen trousers in a size much larger than you and cutting them down to your size. First, you'll know the fabric is meant for clothing. Second, you'll pay much less for the fabric and, third, you'll have less wastage. Good luck!

        1. rugrat49 | | #5

          I'm 74 widow &and on fixed income now I have to watch that wallet closer. I went thrift/ 2nd hand fabric shopping when we were military with kids. I still tend to find some higher quality in evening/work apparel (fabric) when I go. Especially bridal / evening & appliques! On a one trip I've even stumbled on a (3.5 yds.) Mulberry Silk dress in size 18! For $8.00!! Whoever priced them didn't realize what fabric nor its value it was. I always check them out ! Look @ sheets for good grade cotton. I think a king flat equals aprox. 7 yds. Dottie

  3. CHER2000 | | #6

    The easiest fix is to sew with a stronger cotton thread. However, linen is one of my favorite materials and I highly advise some type of seam finish. It will easily ravel without this. Try a simple zigzag stitch or if you have a serger, use it.

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