John England FAQ

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Whilst John England sell mainly linen fabrics this is by no means a hard and fast rule. Yarns from other fibres can be used.

John England is often asked what fibres are used in the fabric ranges.

The company currently specialise in flax linen fabrics. However, also sell fabrics woven with linen warps, and weft yarns made from other fibres. These include hemp, cotton, wool, polyamide, polyester, and nylon.

The company is rapidly growing its use of hemp yarns, and the new range of hemp fabrics is named the ‘hempy’ range

Various fibres have been added added to enhance the linen and introduce different properties to the fabrics. These properties are physical, aesthetic and organoleptic. They include increased rub resistance for upholstery fabrics, different handles, properties, drapes and appearances to the linens for fashion and home use.

It is important to design, or engineer, fabrics for specific end-uses. As well as the weave construction, the selection of the fibre is a very important part of this process.

Yarns made from fibres such as 100% cotton or 100% hemp, are used. Subject to minimums; at least 1000m.

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You can buy almost all John England fabrics washed, preshrunk and softened. This basically involves various types of commercial laundering processes.

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

Almost all John England fabrics can be supplied washed and preshrunk.

One problem that can make an amazing garment look terrible is fabric shrinkage. Simple precautions can be taken to very much reduce this, even if it cannot be totally eliminated. Preshrinking is a step that must not be missed at any cost.

This why you can purchase almost all John England fabrics washed, preshrunk and softened. This basically involves various types of commercial laundering. John England has its own laundry and has full control of this process. John England also is in a soft water area, which is of great benefit for washed fabrics..

After this process there may be a small amount of residual shrinkage left, but most will be removed. Generally the trade like the residual shrinkage to be 4% or less.

The purpose of this process is to shrink fabrics in such a way that garments, or items, made up from them do not, or shrink very little, in subsequent washing by the end user. This process also softens the linen, improves the handle, and removes any impurities picked up during processing.

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 our 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.

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John England is sometimes asked about colour shade variation between dye batches. To show how big an issue shade variation between dye batches is to the industry you only need to carry out a Google search on the subject.

The dyeing industry

John England feels there is too much acceptance of this in the industry as an unfortunate characteristic. Improved practices, and greater diligence and concentration by both management and operator is paramount to reducing the problem.

There is not only colour shade variation between dye batches. There is also shade variation within batches or even in a single fabric roll. The amount of dye stuff, machinery, time, fabric quality, employee error, etc., are a few of the many possible issues that can contribute to colour problems.

John England is not a dyer themselves so does not have full control of the dyeing process. Unfortunately we rely on third-party dyers to give us a service. We do use our knowledge of the industry to try and minimise problems for our customers.

A wide range of on-trend colours

John England customers want to buy on-trend colours. They also like to avoid colours that everyone else has. To enable the company to satisfy this demand John England must hold a range of on-trend unique colours.

What John England does

John England is a relatively small company so to make it affordable to hold a range of colours in stock John England must dye small batches of 150-300 metres. Dyeing in small batches is much more expensive, and problematic. This obviously creates the problem of variation between batches. It is much more difficult to control dyeing in small batches, and between small batches. Especially if non-standard dyes are used.

Apart from this fabrics made from natural fibres can often have more of a problem anyhow. There is natural variations in the fibres, yarns and fabric themselves.

Recognising the market they are in, some top end manufacturers make a feature out of this small batch manufacturing variation. This is because it is an indicator, to the cognoscenti, that you are using bespoke made fabrics, dyed in expensive small batches.

As mentioned before John England does not accept this argument. It is a management problem.

Possible Solutions

One of the easiest ways to minimise this problem is to use standard dyes and chemicals. This is not easy to do if you are trying to match a current on-trend colour which has no standard dye.

It also helps to produce large batches to cover your projected requirement for a given period. This however does involve a stock holding. Most of John England customers work in the higher end or bespoke fashion market and do not always want to do this. However, larger batches are often easier to deal with technically and can keep variation to a minimum.

Quality Control

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 minimise dye batch variation. This is especially a problem if the repeat order is being made-up with the previous order. Possibly as extra curtains, cushions, or to repair upholstery.

Quality control is important when managing the problem of dye batch variation. John England get samples for approval from the dyer before the bulk dyeing to allow rejection if not up to standard. However, it is not always easy to reject a dye batch if the customer is pushing for urgent delivery.

You can email our customer services for more information.

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The Company shall be deemed not to be aware of any special, or particular, purpose for which the goods or any product made therefrom is required. If any special, or particular, characteristics are required in the goods they must be stated on the contract.

John England supply fabrics to trade customers for many end-uses. These fabrics do not normally possess any special fire resistance properties or treatments.

As stated in our terms and conditions of trade. Unless stated on the contract. The Company shall be deemed not to be aware of any special, or particular, purpose for which the goods or any product made therefrom is required. If any special, or particular, characteristics are required in the goods they must be stated on the contract.

In the United Kingdom the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989, 1993 and 2010) set levels of fire resistance. These are 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. These items require to be suitably labelled.

Curtain fabrics should also comply with the required fire safety regulations.

There are many companies  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.

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

John England Washing/Laundering Dept.

John England uses a high labour intensive industrial washing/ laundering process with tumbling to shrink, dry, and soften their linens. There is great care in handling to minimise creasing. Creases if handled wrongly are permanently set in the fabric.

Linens of different weights and weave structures; whether dyed, bleached, or in loom-state require varying degrees of detergents and softeners. Dyed fabric colours can change adversely by the wrong detergents. Also, varying degrees of drum agitation in the machine, amounts of water, spin cycles, lengths of fabric, etc. are carefully monitored and controlled.

It is of great benefit that John England are in a soft water area as hard water can damage the laundry machinery and give fabrics a harsh handle if not properly controlled.

In tumbling temperature, time and lengths of fabric are also carefully monitored and controlled. Adding objects to the tumble can aid softening, and enhance the handle, remove lint, etc.

Laundering Process

For washing fabric John England must support a fully equipped laundry with large expensive machinery.

After several years of research, use of consultants, and trials John England believe they have developed one of the best fabric finishes on the market. Development has not ceased and is ongoing to further improve

To minimise tangling and marking of the fabric during washing it can only be washed in about 20-30 metre lengths. There is a lot of handling. First cutting to lengths, then taking them from the washing machines and tumble drying and then straightening/untwisting and rolling them. Washing can cost up to a few pounds per metre. As the process is a very labour intensive 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 is considerably more. So, generally, if a customer requires 100 metres of washed fabric they must buy about 112 metres of unwashed fabric. This 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 shrunk.

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

The purpose of this process is to shrink fabrics. This means that garments or items made up from these washed 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.

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The company  weaves its own fabrics so it can design and weave special fabrics for your own production. Minimum orders are sensible, deliveries can can quick, and we are easy to communicate with.

The John England team has significant experience in the theatrical linens business. We have a great many customers in this market across the world. There is even a a film studio in the town where we are based.

John England Theatrical Linens is a division of John England. It focuses on selling fabrics to the theatre, film and TV industries.  The company  weaves its own fabrics so it can design and weave special fabrics for your own production. Minimum orders are sensible, deliveries can can quick, and we are easy to communicate with.

As well as this we have an extensive range of stock fabrics for you to choose from. With a wide range of colours and textures.

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Even low blends of linen have an advantageous influence on fabrics which are in direct contact with the human body. These include items such as clothing and bedding.

Benefits of Using Linen

The benefits of using linen are asked about a lot by customers. Pure linen fabrics, made from flax fibres, are characterised 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.

In addition to this the non-allergic, antibacterial, and antimycotic properties of linen are getting greater emphasis. Even low blends of linen have an advantageous influence on fabrics which are in direct contact with the human body. These include items such as clothing and bedding.

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

In some circumstances, static electricity presents a safety risk. This is especially true where flammable liquid or vapour may be ignited by an electrostatic spark. In certain industries this needs to be taken into consideration and protected against.

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 minimises the build up of static electricity, and is not a source of it.

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When linen fabrics are in contact with the skin, the nodes along the length of the fibre absorb perspiration. They then swell and release the moisture to the outside air, thus creating a fabric self cooled by evaporation.

Linen is known for its comfort in hot or humid climates.

When linen fabrics are in contact with the skin, the nodes along the length of the fibre absorb perspiration. They 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.

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Real flax Linen is a yarn or fabric made from the fibre of the cultivated flax plant, named Linum usitatissimum.

Real flax linen is a yarn or fabric made from the fibre of 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. It forms the fibrous bundles in the inner bark of the stems of the plant. The flax plant is an annual that grows to a height of about a metre. 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 in 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. Today these items are usually made of other fibres, especially cotton or polyester/cotton. These are not real flax linen.

Flax is European grown, and is more sustainable and environmentally friendly than many other fibres. It is a rare product and represents less than 1% of textile fibres consumed worldwide.

More can be read here.

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