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Detail from Portrait of Peter Saltonstall, 1610After a wait of almost ten years, Patterns of Fashion 4 was released in late 2008. Janet Arnold's final work covers all kinds of extant ruffs, collars, smocks, shifts and chemises in astounding detail, with mouth-watering photographs and the clear, complete annotated patterns that she was so famous for.

To celebrate, we thought we'd feature details on where to get some of the fine quality materials to re-create the items in the book.




Fine Linen

Gray Line Linen has the most wonderful handkerchief linen. They are based in New York, but they do ship internationally. Free US shipping on internet orders. They send out good sized (4"x 6") swatches for $1.

Their handkerchief linen is tighter woven and smoother than Fabric-store.com's stuff. There really is no comparing the two, as they are radically different! The Gray Line Linen handkerchief linen reminds me of the old Denver Fabrics 3.25 oz linen in quality and hand.

Unfortunately their website needs a bit of an overhaul as its not all that user friendly, but the trouble is worth it!

Click on the Natural Flax menu. Click on the image of the fabric or the "more info" at the bottom. Click on the "Larger Photo" button for pictures. I like the Handkerchief Off White or the Barry Off White for shirts and chemises.

If you are looking for a heavier weight smooth linen, the Warsa in Natural is a luscious silky linen that reminds me of the hand of old well washed linen tablecloths

The Judy Linen is about a 5 oz weight, and has a nice hand.


Renaissance Fabrics has a lovely "handkerchief" chemise-weight linen that Cathy has used and recommends. It is 60" wide and lightweight so that you can gather, pleat, or smock without adding bulk.



Linen Thread for Sewing and Lace

Londonderry Linen thread 100/3 is one of the finest linen sewing threads available and perfect for sewing a fine hem on handkerchief linen. Available from Hedgehog Handworks.


Silk Embroidery Thread

Detail of Portrait of Isabella Rich, Mrs Rogers, later Lady Smith,c. 1614-18 William Larkin
Detail of Portrait of Isabella Rich, Mrs Rogers, later Lady Smith,c. 1614-18 William Larkin

Splendor by Rainbow Gallery is a 12 strand silk embroidery thread. Its a favorite of mine to work with both for hand sewing and embroidery.

It comes from the following suppliers in a wide range of colors: Splendor color card 1, Splendor color card 2


Sew and So


A-Z Needlepoint
Nordic Needle



If you are looking for hand dyed with natural dyes silk embroidery thread, try Aurora Silk.

Gilt and Silver Thread, Spangles!

If you are looking for something truly indulgent to embroider with, try Gilt Sylke Twist - this is the thread that is being used in the embroidery for the 17th century jacket at Plimoth Plantation. It's a fine gold gilt wire twisted together with a fine flat filament silk.


Nothing like a little flash of metal to set off your embroidery! Try a real gilt or real silver metal thread. Or sew a few spangles/paillettes onto your design to really catch people's attention.

Fine Linen Fabric, Silk floss and Gilt
Does anyone know of a decent online source of handkerchief-weight linen in the UK?

It's a shame to see that most of the retail links from YWU are American, considering Ms. Hay is a fellow Brit :( But I suppose you've got to supply the demand, and I gather most subscribers are yanks :)

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