John England FAQ

John England FAQ’s

A link to John England (Banbridge) Ltd's Terms & Conditions of Sale are available at the bottom right of every page on the website. To read please click here.
John England can supply fabrics for a range of end uses. The majority of our fabrics are 100% linen (flax), but also include other blends such as linen with wool, cotton, polyester or nylon to give abrasion resistance.We are able to keep minimum orders sizes, for stock items, to 6 metres, and our minimum custom dye run is 30 metres (this is very expensive so in reality it is usually quoted as 60 metres). Some examples are shown below:
  • Apparel linens  (plain fabrics (several different weights), Jacquard damasks, 3D fabrics (new*), multi-layered fabrics, extra wide fabrics, coated fabrics)
  • Theatrical costumes
  • Upholstery (rub tested) (not supplied flameproofed as standard)
  • Loose Covers
  • Curtains (not supplied flameproofed as standard)
  • Bed linen (fabrics up to 3 metres wide, white and ecru held in stock)
  • Table linen (plain linens and damask, up to 3 metres wide)
  • Printing fabrics
  • Huckaback towelling fabric
  • Fabrics for ecclesiastical linens (mainly white Irish linen)
  • Handkerchief fabric (plain)
  • Irish linen wedding dress fabric
Yes, you can buy almost all John England fabrics pre-shrunk and softened. This basically involves various types of commercial laundering processes. John England has its own laundry and has full control of this process.

After this process there may be a small amount of residual shrinkage left, but most will be removed.

The purpose of this process is to shrink fabrics in such a way that garments or items made up from these fabrics do not, or shrink very little, in subsequent washing by the end user. This process also softens the linen.

Please note that washed lengths of fabric are usually 20-25 metres at most. This is because this is the optimum amount that can be washed at any one time, and also it produces a roll of fabric that can easily be handled by out staff, and those of the shipping companies.

Some fabrics can be Sanforized. This is a trademark used for fabric preshrunk by a patented mechanical process. Please ask our sales staff about this.
John England Theatrical Linens is a division of John England that focuses on selling fabrics to the theatre, film and TV industries. This part of our business is headed up by our Design & Product Development Manager, and very often unique fabrics are woven for individual productions.

As well as this we have a wide range of stock fabrics for you to choose from.

If you wish to make an inquiry please click here.
John England mostly sell 100% linen fabrics, but as well as this we sell linen blends with cotton , lambswool, polyamide, polyester and other fibres.

The various different fibres that are used in John England fabrics are used to enhance the linen and bring various different properties to the fabrics. These are both physical, aesthetic and organoleptic, and include increasing the rub resistance for upholstery fabrics, and giving different handles, drapes and appearances to the linens.
John England does aim to hold its standard colours in stock, but sometimes we are pleased that sales are greater than expected and house stocks are sold out before the next batch comes back from the dyer and finisher.

In these situations we hope our customers can accept an alternative or wait the relatively short period until the new batch comes in from the dyers.
In November, 2012 the brand and trading name of John England and everything required to run the business was sold by John England Textiles Ltd. John England Textiles Ltd. was based in Belfast. When John England Textiles Ltd had sold the trading name to John England (Banbridge) Ltd. the new name of the once John England Textiles Ltd., became MRJO Ltd. MRJO Ltd has no connection with the new company John England (Banbridge) Ltd.

A new company was formed in November 2012 called John England (Banbridge) Ltd. This new company, as the name suggests, is based in Banbridge, Co. Down, N.Ireland. This is about 25 miles south of Belfast. Banbridge is an old Irish linen town and is situated on the river Bann in the historic Linen Heartlands of N. Ireland.

John England (Banbridge) Ltd. is owned by Franklins International Ltd.. Thomas Ferguson & Co Ltd, is also a member of the Franklins Group. Thomas Ferguson previously wove fabrics for the old John England company, and this relationship will continue, and most likely increase.

Please note that all the bank account details have changed.

It is assuredly the objective of the new owners to keep the memory of the founder John England alive, and to maintain all the best of what he brought to the brand.
Yes. For an extra charge special custom colours may be dyed, down to a minimum of about 60 metres. The waiting time, including approval of the new dye shade is about 5-7 weeks. Depending on how busy the dye house is at the time of ordering.

Please note however. The minimum dye batch size for our wide width fabrics is 250m (fabrics over 183cm (72") in width).
Yes. John England can supply loom state plain linen fabrics up to 330cm wide, finished about 305cm wide. It can supply damask fabrics up to about 316cm wide loom state, finished about 296cm wide.
Pure linen fabrics, made of flax fibres, are characterized by a pleasant and cool handle. At high ambient temperatures the physiological properties of linen outclass by far other fibres - in particularly taking into account direct contact with the human body. Linen has a very good absorption properties. Currently the non-allergic, antibacterial, and antimycotic properties of linen are emphasized more and more often. Even low blends of linen have an advantageous influence on fabrics which are in direct contact with the human body, such as clothing and bedding.

The kind of static electricity that can build up on our bodies and everyday objects, and the mini-shocks that may result, usually only cause mild discomfort, and have not been shown to have a detrimental effect on human health. However, some people do appear to be particularly sensitive to static shocks, and in such cases the constant anticipation of the shock can contribute to high stress levels.

In some circumstances, static electricity presents a safety risk. Flammable liquid or vapour can be ignited by an electrostatic spark, and this needs to be protected against in certain industries.

Some people produce more electrostatic charge than others, for various reasons including body size and the materials their clothing and shoes are made of. Clothes made from wool, silk or synthetics, and plastic-soled shoes can all cause electrostatic charge to build up. Some people simply feel electrostatic shocks more than others.

Linen is one solution to this problem. It minimizes the build up of static electricity, and is not a source of it.
John England would very much like to help all students with free fabric as they feel passionately about the industry, however, this is just not possible for a small business.  With a very large number of requests, mainly from students on fashion courses, John England can only offer support to very exceptional students, or those with a very exceptional reason why they should be supported.

If you you think you might be exceptional or have an exceptional reason why John England should offer support, you should write to John England (Banbridge) Ltd explaining your case. If John England agrees with you this will need to be confirmed, on letter headed paper, by a senior member of staff from the college or university you attend. If John England is not satisfied with this response the offer may be declined.

If requests are still too numerous, John England may not reply.

The support will be in the way of a reasonable amount of John England unique fabrics, and the gesture must be acknowledged in any papers written, fashion shows, etc.
When linen fabrics are in contact with the skin, the nodes along the length of the fibre absorb perspiration, then swell and release the moisture to the outside air, thus creating a fabric self cooled by evaporation. As a result linen is a popular choice for clothing and bedding particularly in hot climates.
There is nothing John England would like better than to have zero lead time. However, there is a waiting time because we have lots of other orders in the pipeline. Even if orders are in stock they still have to be brought out of stock and cut and rolled, and packed. If you have asked for the fabric to be washed this is another process that takes time and care.

If you are prepared to take directly out of stock whatever is on the roll, without washing. This is the easiest way for us to speed up your order if it is urgent.

It is also possible, when we take the fabric out of stock to examine it before preparing the order, we are unhappy with the quality. We will not intentionally ship inferior products.

John England assures all customers that we will do our best to get your order out as soon as possible. However, we always try to ship first to those customers who have got the orders in first, and we like to take care with every order.
Linen is a yarn or fabric made from the cultivated flax plant, named Linum usitatissimum. This domesticated species is believed to have been developed during cultivation. It is a cellulosic plant fibre, or bast fibre, and it forms the fibrous bundles in the inner bark of the stems of the plant. The plant is an annual that grows to a height of about a metre and the fibres run the entire length of the stem and help hold it upright. The fibre strands are normally released from the cellular and woody stem tissue by a process known as retting (controlled rotting). In Ireland this was traditionally done in water, rivers, ponds or retting dams.

Today the term linen can be confusing. Linen was once in such common use that it became a generic word for articles or garments, such as sheets, tablecloths, or underwear, formerly made of linen and now usually made of other fibres, especially cotton or polyester/cotton.
Please remember John England are manufacturers and wholesalers and that to achieve our best economies of scale in manufacturing we need orders to be over 250 metres (275 yards) in length. Savings we make on orders over 250 metres allow us to be much more competitive and we can pass much of these savings on to our customers.

Orders for a fabric under 250 metres (275 yards) length is considered a small order, so if you want the best prices please try to keep orders above 250 metres. Remember cutting to exact lengths costs extra, so you can save if you say you will take full rolls, thus avoiding cutting and secondary rolling costs.

John England do understand that not all our customers require this length of fabric so to help we do have price breaks for quantities under 250 metres in length.

Under 250 metres we have various price breaks. The next best prices are lengths 150m-250m, 100m-149m, 50m-99m, 13m-49m, 6m-12m, and under 5m (not recommended).
To wash fabrics on an industrial scale John England must maintain a fully equipped laundry with large expensive machinery. To minimise tangling and marking of the fabric during washing it can only be washed in about 20 metre lengths. There is considerable handling, first cutting to these lengths, then taking them from the washing machines and drying and then straightening/untwisting and rolling them. Washing can cost up to a few pounds per metre, and as it is a very labour intensive process there is little economy of scale.

In addition to the processing costs there is also the cost of shrinkage. On average this is about 8%-10%, but in some fabrics it can be considerably more. So, generally, if a customer requires 100 metres of washed fabric they must buy about 112 metres of unwashed fabric, which shrinks down to 100 metres. Customers often forget they must buy this extra fabric, and incur this extra cost, to get fabrics which have been pre-shrunk.

After this process there may still be a small amount of residual shrinkage left, but most will be removed.

The purpose of this process is to shrink fabrics in such a way that garments or items made up from these fabrics do not, or shrink very little, in subsequent washing by the end user. This process also softens the linen.

John England believes that their process, although quite labour intensive, is the method to give the best washed finish for our customers. Costs of the process are not just the cutting, washing and handling itself, but also the cost of shrinkage.
John England fabrics are mainly supplied to the trade and are supplied for many end-uses from clothing, napery, bed linen, curtains, upholstery covering, handkerfchiefs, etc. Unless stated otherwise, or requested, these fabrics are not treated to meet any fire safety regulations.

In the United Kingdom the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989, 1993 and 2010) set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. These are UK law and are designed to ensure that upholstery components and composites used for furniture supplied in the UK meet specified ignition resistance levels and are suitable labelled. Curtain fabrics should also comply with the required fire safety regulations.

There are many companies (example) which can flameproof fabrics in cut lengths or rolls to meet the fire safety regulations. Upholstery companies, or companies which make-up finished goods for upholstery or curtain end-uses should be aware of these regulations.

Most customers do not state the end-use they intend the fabrics for. However, if in doubt please discuss with our sales team.
John England fabrics are all dyed to good light fastness standards. However, over time curtain fabrics will fade, particularly if they are exposed to direct sunlight. If your curtains are unlined they will fade much faster than lined curtains. The most effective way to protect your fabric is to use a blackout lining as this will prevent any direct sunlight reaching the dyed fabric.

John England cannot accept responsibility for the fading of curtain fabrics where lining has not been used. Prolonged exposure of unlined curtains to daylight even in northern countries can be a problem.
One only has to do a Google search for dye batch variation to see how many books and articles are written on this subject. This is a characteristic of dyeing textile fabrics which one has to manage and work around. It is not something that someone can be in denial of, and customers should be made aware of.

One of the easiest ways to minimize this problem is to produce large batches to cover your projected production for a given period of time. This however does involve a stock holding. Most of John England customers work in the higher end or bespoke fashion markets and do not always want to hold large stocks. It is expensive, and fashion for colour is fickle. However,from a technical viewpoint larger batches are often easier to deal with and can keep variation to a minimum.

John England customers want to buy colours that are on trend, but which also may not be commonly available. So in order to hold a wide range of unique colours John England must dye small batches of 150-300 metres. Dyeing in small batches is much more expensive, and problematic, but it can make it affordable if you need to hold stock of a wide range of unique colours. However, this obviously creates the problem of variation between batches, as it is much more difficult to control dyeing in small batches, and between small batches. Especially on fabrics woven from natural fibres where there can be a lot of variation in the fabric itself.

Recognizing the market they are in, some top end manufacturers, make a feature out of this small batch manufacturing variation, because it is an indicator to the cognoscenti that you are using bespoke made fabrics that are very unique and have been made in expensive small batches. This argument is not always legitimate because with good management this feature can be minimized.

One way John England manages this situation is by issuing every batch with a batch number (FE????). Customers if they are aware of this number can quote it when requesting top-ups. if there is any of this batch still in stock for their repeat order they can minimize dye batch variation. This is especially a problem if the repeat order is to be used with the previous order. Possibly as extra curtains, cushions, or to repair upholstery.

Other ways of managing the situation is quality control, and requesting swatches from each batch before it is dyed. Batches with too much variation are rejected and have to be reworked.
Normally John England aims to work with rolls of fabric which are 20-30 metres in length. These lengths of fabric fit into our washing machines, if the customer requires a washed finish, and they are easily handled by our staff and those of the shipping companies.

Cutting to precise lengths for our customers is a service we can provide, but it can leave us with lots of short lengths from the rolls which we have not costed in to our normal prices. This is not a service which we are regularly asked for and must therefore be quoted for on an individual basis.
The company trades as John England, John England Irish Linen and John England Theatrical Linens. The official company name is, John England (Banbridge) Ltd. This is a company registered in Northern Ireland with the company number NI615091.
If you are a member of the public and wish to purchase John England fabrics please see our online shop. For the online shop please click here.