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Will Brussels washer work for slacks?

karencreswell | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I recently purchased some khaki Brussels washer linen (55% linen and 45% rayon) to make a pair of summer slacks. I washed and dried it 5 times so that I wouldn’t have any surprises with shrinkage. Now that I am ready to make the slacks, I notice that there is considerable stretch on the cross grain but no stretch on the lengthwise grain. To keep my slacks from stretching out, I thought of putting the lengthwise grain around my body but I don’t think this will prevent baggy knees and baggy butt. To prevent baggy knees I would need to underline with silk organza. All this seems pretty involved for a light weight pair of summer slacks; are others just using this fabric for very loose styles or have you had luck using it in tailored applications?


  1. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #1

    Exactly how much stretch is there in the cross grain? There are a few fabrics out there now that are stretch wovens, that have a bit of lycra in them as well. If this is the case, just go ahead and make your pants as you first planned, realizing of course that the fabric is going to give you some extra ease. The fabric is not going to sag and bag too badly, as the lycra will give it good rebound. Just a caution, Lycra does not like heat, and low dryer or hang to dry are the best bet for lycra blends. This sounds like a lovely fabric. Organza lining would keep them looking fresh and unwrinkled much longer in the summer heat. How did the fabric look after washing and drying? Did it need much touching up with the iron? If it is fairly crease resistant, give the lining a pass. That would indicate it would be less likely to bag and sag. I believe the rayon blend with the linen would be nice just as it is. In my opinion..... Cathy

    1. karencreswell | | #2

      There is no lycra in the fabric. From my past experience it is just the rayon relaxing. After each washing the pants will fit but they will start growing the minute you put them on, particularly in the knees and back. I am wondering what experiences others have had with the Brussels washers. Perhaps this fabric will only work for loose fitting garments.

  2. starzoe | | #3

    There is a cure for knees- bagging-out without completely lining the pants. All of my summer pants (and some of the unlined winter ones) have a loose top and bottom lining that extends from about four inches
    above the knee and four inches or more below the knee. It is just attached at the side seam and inseam.This works wonderfully well, you just have to be careful when putting on the pants that the lining is in the front.

    1. Deeom | | #4

      Just a passing comment, but I tried the lining over the knee as suggested by  Sandra Betzina.  I found that I would invariably get my toe caught on the wrong side of that partial lining, almost ripping it out when putting the slacks on.  I never did find a way to keep that lining tight against the fashion fabric, so I gave up on that idea.  Any ideas  to solve this problem?  I tried to catch stitch it to the slacks fabric but it always seemed to show on the right side.  The only solution I can see is to put in the partial lining and then line the pants.

      1. starzoe | | #5

        No, I don't have a problem with this - maybe because I have used the idea for many years.

        1. karencreswell | | #6

          Does anyone in the threads audience sew with Brussels washer? It is a rayon and linen blend fabric. Are you making mostly loose fitting styles or have you been able to make tailored slacks?

          1. starzoe | | #7

            I am not familiar with this fabric unless is goes by another name in Canada.Later edit: I see by the Kaufmann website that there are no outlets in Canada listed although I am familiar with the name and have seen Kaufmann fabrics for sale.

            Edited 6/15/2009 2:56 pm ET by starzoe

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #8

            I have been trying to research this fabric as I am unfamiliar with the brand name. Up here in Canada, fabrics are often labeled differently, with similar fabrics being called different names. Is this a tropical weight linen suiting, or is it softer than that. From what I have read about it on different sources online, I am suspecting it is designed for looser fitting garments, rather than the tailored look you are after. Perhaps underlining the pants would solve the problem, rather than lining them. Cathy

          3. ljb2115 | | #9

            Brussels washer is a nice fabric for tops and bouses, but would be leery of using it for pants.  It is just too light and if you are going to have to line, etc. use a bottom weight to begin with.

          4. karencreswell | | #10

            Thank you for confirming my suspicions. You have saved me from making something only to have to throw it away.

          5. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #11

            Since I am curious, and am unfamiliar with this fabric, what is it like? Pictures do not seem to do it justice. What would it be similar to? Thanks. Cathy

          6. ljb2115 | | #12

            Brussels washer linen is a lightweight blouse-weight fabric.  This comes in a myriad of colors.  I purchased mine from Waechter's in Asheville, NC.  http://www.waechter's.com.

            The staff is fab. to work with for mail order.  There is a lovely lady, Elizabeth, who usually answers the phone and can answer your questions with confidence.  Every time I place an order, I am sent some type of little gift - usually buttons.

            Back to the "linen" - - - - -  I still would hesitate to fashion it into slacks.  A bottom-weight linen or blend would be easier to fashion into slacks - using usual sewing methods. 



          7. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #13

            Thank you for filling in more info on the fabric. Blouse weight tells me a lot! It really sounds like a lovely summer fabric. Cathy

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