The Insider’s Guide to Sewing Belgian Linen

SEP 9, 2020

Calling all makers and decorators! We’ve found the answer to your upholstery, bag making and home decor search: Belgian Linen™. Featuring the finest flax in the world, grown ecologically in the Flanders region and woven by Libeco™, 100% Belgian Linen has a reputation for unmatched elegance that has withstood the test of time. Keep reading to learn how to prepare this medium-weight linen fabric for your next project.

Say Hello to Belgian Linen

Printable width: 54″

Weight: 9.8oz per square yard

Content: 100% Linen

Construction: Woven, Plain Weave

Belgian Linen Sewing Recommendations

When sewing the seams of projects using Belgian Linen we recommend using 90/14 or 100/16 universal needles with high quality polyester all-purpose thread. The fabric has a slight ‘give’, which makes it less prone to breakage. For topstitching, a buttonhole twist or topstitching thread as the upper thread with regular thread in the bobbin will give beautiful results. For standard seams, use a 2.5mm stitch length.

Linen is prone to fraying so you will want to finish the edge with a zig-zag stitch or serger. Want to level-up your sewing game? Try a flat felled seam or bias bound edge! Alternately, a no-sew finish option to finish seams is using pinking shears. If you are going the pre-wash route, we recommend serging or stay-stitching 1/4″-1/2″ from the cut edge.

Speaking of washing your fabric, keep reading to find out when it’s ok to skip a pre-wash!

When to Pre-Wash Belgian Linen

The decision to prewash your Belgian linen is going to depend on the planned final product. Are you working on a crisp tailored pillow or adding soft textural curtain layers? 

For a more sharp, crisp project, do not prewash your fabric but do plan to dry clean the finished project if it needs to be washed. Home decor projects or accessories like bags do not need to be pre-washed. For extra wrinkle resistance, consider underlining your fabric. There are multiple options ranging from a lightweight cotton to silk organza to fusible tricot interfacing.

For a softer linen, prewash your yardage. The finished project will have the added option of machine washability. Don’t overpack your washing machine since linen absorbs quite a bit of water. Machine dry your fabric, removing it while still slightly damp. Pressing thoroughly while very slightly damp will help with wrinkles while also further softening the fabric. We always recommend pre-washing fabric that will be sewn into a garment.

See how Tracey of Mocha Girl Place refreshed her dining room with Belgian Linen chairs. Featured design: Terracotta Floral

Belgian Linen Care Instructions

Machine wash warm or cool on a gentle/delicate setting or dry clean. Machine dry on a low temperature setting. The maximum temperature for both wash and dry cycles is 100°F (38°C). To prevent wrinkling, it is suggested to not fully dry the linen during laundering. Iron on the reverse side of the fabric with steam to help soften. Do not bleach.

Cutting Belgian Linen

Cut with care! The open weave of the Belgian Linen, which keeps it from looking and feeling heavy, also means the fabric can shift when being cut. Take extra care when laying out your fabric to keep the grain and cross grain straight. In our sewing department, we prefer the use of rotary cutters so that we can cut the fabric completely flat.

Featured design: Fiore Rose

Now that you know all about Belgian Linen, see what 25 Spoonflower team members are saying about this versatile fabric and get inspired to make the Everyday Tote Bag!

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  • Hello, I’m interested in the Belgium linen for reupholstering a chaise longue. Is the fabric fire retardant? Have been advised to get fire retardant fabric by the upholster to ensure quality. Also, are there any other suitable fabric types you could recommend? Many thanks, Hannah

    • Hi Hannah,

      Thanks for your interest in our Belgian Linen for your reupholstering project. Like most textiles, Spoonflower fabric will burn if exposed to flame or direct heat. Our fabrics have not been treated with fire-retardant chemicals.

      For upholstery, we’d recommend looking into our Recycled Canvas, Cypress Cotton Canvas, Celosia Velvet, Performance Velvet, along with Belgian Linen. You can check out all our fabric options and order a sample pack here.

      Best of luck with your project!
      Amy
      Spoonflower

  • Pamela LeBlanc

    hello. How much shrinkage happens when washing Belgian Linen for reupholstering a settee. I would like a really
    lived in look so will probably wash it 4 times before reupholstering. If I need to purchase 3 yards, how many yards would you suggest after shrinkage.

    Thanks kindly.
    Pamela

    • Hi Pamela,

      Thanks for your interest in our newest fabric! Most, if not all, shrinkage generally occurs after one wash. The amount of shrinkage depends on a number of factors including how much ink is printed on each yard. Belgian Linen has a shrinkage rate of 9-11% in length and 3-5% in width. Purchasing 3 yards (108″ x 54″) and washing it could result in your fabric shrinking to 96″ x 51″. If that size will not allow you to complete your project you may need to add an additional yard. We hope that helps, but please let us know if you have any further questions.

      Take care,
      Amy
      Spoonflower