I am frequently asked what fabric weights are appropriate for different types of projects. There are a few different methods of measurement when it comes to fabric weight. In the US we most frequently work in “Ounces Per Square Yard” or “oz/sq yard” while Europe primarily works in “Grams Per Square Meter”. But it’s easy to do a mathematical conversion between the two with a simple Google search. I’ll share information in ounces per square yard since it’s most common in the US.
Linen is a soft yet stiff and wrinkled fabric to work with. I’m guessing you’re here because you love linen and all of it’s amazing qualities. To me, linen has the perfect sheen while still being earthy and natural. I first became interested in linen apparel, but over time I too have grown my love of linen to furnishings, curtains, towels, and more.
The first thing to know about linen is that it is NOT indestructible. Over time it softens, but it also wears out. So choosing the right weight is very important because you want it to be durable enough for the product you’re making. I’ll talk soon about linen care and expand on the idea of how to preserve it.
Linen varies in weight from about 2.5 oz/square yard to 15 oz/square yard. The lower the number, the thinner the fabric starting with a sheer or gauze linen and ending on an upholstery weight linen. If you’re doing something like a professional or industrial upholstery project and you’re making furniture that will have extensive use, you’re going to want to source linen that’s a blend with some other fibers to take on their durability and you’re going to want it to be on the very heavy end. Here’s a list of linen and it’s uses by weight:
Weight Name Use
2.5 oz/sq yard Gauze/ Sheer Linen Sheer apparel, sheer curtains
3.5 oz/sq yard Lightweight/ Handkerchief Linen Blouses, sheer curtains
5.5 oz/sq yard Medium Weight Linen Apparel (bottoms, tops, dresses), curtains, napkins
7.5 oz/sq yard Medium Weight Linen Apparel (bottoms, tops, dresses), curtains, towels
11 oz/sq yard Home Furnishing Linen Home projects such as slipcovers and upholstery work, heavy weight curtains
14.5 oz/sq yard Upholstery Linen Projects such as slipcovers and upholstery work, heavy weight curtains
Hopefully that helps to understand what fabrics are appropriate for different types of projects. I’ll share more soon about caring for linen, whether to buy washed linen or unwashed linen depending on the end use, and more. Best of luck on your latest project!