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Listed below are a selection of Frequently Asked Questions:

Irish Linen Guild Promotional Films
Historic information on the Irish linen industry
What is linen?
Where should I buy linen fabric to make clothing?
Where should I buy household linens?
Where can I buy Irish linen damask fabric from the weaver?
Where can I buy Irish linen yarn?
Where can I get Irish Linen Guild labels?
What can using Irish linen do for my business?
How do I know what size of table cloth to buy for my table?
How do I join the Irish Linen Guild?
What are the benefits of Irish Linen Guild membership?
Can I have custom sized tablecloths woven ?
Where can I get samples of Irish linen?
What does the Irish Linen Guild trademark look like?
What exactly is Irish Linen?
Tell me about the Irish Linen brand?
Valuations of antique Irish linen
Where can I get Irish Linen Thread?

Irish Linen Guild Promotional Films

A number of promotional films were made by the Irish Linen Guild mainly in the 1940's, 50's and 60's.

The most well known of these is probably The Wee Blue Blossom (1944), Directed by John Alderson.

Some of the others include:

  • Irish Interlude (1948)
  • Irish Symphony (1952)
  • Flaxen Heritage (1953)
  • Irish and Elegant (1957)
  • To Last a Lifetime (1961)
  • Looking in on Irish Linen (1968)

The Irish Linen Guild does not currently supply or hold copies of these films. Further details can be found at the British, Irish film archives.

If you wish to use any of these films, or excerpts from these films, they belong to the Irish Linen Guild. The Guild must be contacted for permission to use any of the content. There is normally a small charge which goes towards the running costs of the Irish Linen Guild.

 


 
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Historic information on the Irish linen industry
The Irish Linen Guild may be able to help in a limited way with historical queries about the  industry, but it's function is really promoting modern Irish linen companies.

For historic information on old companies, or linens a good point of contact is the Irish Linen Museum, in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. Another point of contact is possibly the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

Virtually all the Irish Linen Guilds historic documents have been passed to various museums and record offices.

 
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What is linen?

Linen should not be confused with cotton, although its name is often used generically to refer to all household fabrics. This is due to linens once domination of this market. However, in more recent years, mostly at the bottom end of the market, it has lost out to the cheaper cottons, synthetics and man-made fibres.

Linen is ideal for household linens because it increases in strength when wet, allowing it to stand up to the rough and tumble of repeated laundering very well. It can be easily laundered at home and requires no special laundering treatment. It is also paradoxical that at a time when everyone is worried about the environment. Our natural products are more and more being replaced by synthetic substitutes.

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

The original flax to be used for its fibre was the wild, Linum angustifolium. This is not grown commercially, and is found in southwestern Europe, including Britain, to the Mediterranean, Madeira and the Canaries. It is considered by some experts to be a distinct species in its own right and the parent of Linum usitatissimum, the cultivated flax.


 

 
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Where should I buy linen fabric to make clothing?

For apparel linen inquiries please contact: Baird McNutt or John England.

 
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Where should I buy household linens?
For household Irish linens, such as damask tablelinen or bed linen please contact: Thomas Ferguson or Samuel Lamont.
 
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Where can I buy Irish linen damask fabric from the weaver?

You can buy standard designs, or have your own designs woven by Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen.

They can weave damask fabric up to 3 metres wide, and will sell this in quite small lengths.

 

 
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Where can I buy Irish linen yarn?

Currently the Irish Linen Guild has no linen spinners as members.

 
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Where can I get Irish Linen Guild labels?

The Irish Linen Guild authorises the production of a number of Point of Sale (POS) items for Guild members and their customers. These items include swing tags, sew in labels, adhesive labels.

These must be ordered from an Irish Linen Guild member company.

 
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What can using Irish linen do for my business?

Irish linen may cost more up front, but it is an investment, it has an increased service life and therefore may often not cost more per use. Never mind the potential marketing advantage the brand can give you over using non-branded linens..

Using Irish linen, whether as bed linen or on the table, says a lot about your establishment. It is recognised by the cognoscenti, not only as a luxury fabric, but also as a choice of quality and of timeless classic style. It can be used as a marketing tool to differentiate you from the norm; which is not always easy.

When told that Irish linen petticoats for Follies dancers were far more expensive than plain cotton, Florenz Ziegfeld replied: "I know. But Irish linen does something to their walk Ė remember, they are Ziegfeld Girls!"

 
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How do I know what size of table cloth to buy for my table?
Thomas Ferguson have an interactive size guide to help you make your decision. Please click here.
 
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How do I join the Irish Linen Guild?

Membership is open to all Irish companies producing flax, or Irish manufacturers of linen, made of the flax fibre.

Irish companies who purchase linen from manufacturing member companies may also become members. This is open to Irish companies who make-up Irish linen into finished products; if the use of Irish linen is a significant percentage of their business.

Irish designers, retailers and wholesalers who trade or use Irish linen, and it is a significant portion of their business, can also be considered for associate membership (In all cases a significant proportion of their business, is not just a few items, it is unlikely anything less than a two figure percentage would be considered as significant. The final decision will be that of the Guild).

After joining, your company logo and a link to your website, can be added for a one -off fee that helps maintain the website.

If you wish to be considered for membership please contact the Irish Linen Guild, with company details. Also, if you are not a manufacturer please provide the name of the companies that supply you with Irish Linen. As well as the approximate percentage of your business, the use of Irish linen constitutes. Also, how your membership of the Guild might benefit the Irish linen industry.

After being accepted as a member, membership is maintained by payment of your annual fees when requested.

 

 
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What are the benefits of Irish Linen Guild membership?

The potential benefits of full Irish Linen Guild membership are as follows:

1.       6cmx2cm logo on Guild web site which drives direct sales leads to your own company web site.

2.       Use of Guild labelling on your linens.

3.       Use of Guild logo on web site, packaging and brochures.

4.       Your news items on Guild website news section.

5.       Networking opportunities with other members.

6.       Credibility that comes from membership

7.       Sales leads that come into the Guild direct.

8.       Use of Guild copyright films at discounted rates.

 

 

 
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Can I have custom sized tablecloths woven ?

Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen can weave individual custom sized tablecloths for both wholesale and retail customers. For more information see their build your own tablecloth facility.

 

 

 

 
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Where can I get samples of Irish linen?

If you require samples or swatches of Irish linen you should contact the Guild member companies (click on logos below).

If required the Irish Linen Guild may be able to help select the most appropriate supplier, but it does not hold, or send out, linen samples or swatches itself.

 
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What does the Irish Linen Guild trademark look like?

To see the Irish Linen Guild trademark please click here.

The trademark is the focus of all promotional activities. This mark is often colloquially referred to as the, 'carpet beater symbol'. It can only be used to mark genuine Irish linen products such as linen yarn spun in Ireland and linen fabrics woven in Ireland by members of the Guild.

 
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What exactly is Irish Linen?
To use the Irish Linen Guild logo the linen has to be manufactured in Ireland whether it is yarn or fabric. However, the raw material for the finished product does not also have to me made or grown in Ireland. Irish linen fabric must be woven or knitted in Ireland, but the yarn it uses does not have to be Irish linen for the fabric to be Irish linen. Also, if a manufacturer in another country makes fabric from Irish linen yarn it is not Irish linen fabric. Or if a spinner in another country use Irish grown flax it is not Irish linen yarn.
 
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Tell me about the Irish Linen brand?
It is important that the Irish Linen brand and logo are used to sell only linen from our member companies. The Irish Linen Guild does not deal directly with our member company customers. This is mainly because the Guild cannot be sure if customers are bone fide Irish Linen users or not. Our members have the right to use the Irish Linen logo and it is their responsibility to grant the use of the logo to their customers and to manage that it is being used properly. If the member company does not have an image of the logo to send to their customer they should contact the Guild for a copy.
 
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Valuations of antique Irish linen

The Irish Linen Guild is a promotional organisation for the modern Irish linen industry. Unfortunately we have not the knowledge nor expertise to value antique Irish linen, and this is especially so when we cannot examine it.

For valuations of antique linens it is best to take your linen to a local auction house, or antique shop where they can examine it and give you a proper valuation.

 
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Where can I get Irish Linen Thread?
The Irish Linen guild does not have any members who produce thread. In fact we do not believe linen thread is produced in Ireland at present. There may still be linen thread, old stock, around produced by the Barbour Threads Mill. It closed relatively recently. Barbour Threads was taken over by Coats Plc. . We donít know where is produced, but it is still sold by Coats Plc. as Barbour thread. Crawford Thread is another linen thread which claims to be Irish Linen and is relatively easily bought online, but we donít know where this is produced; again it may be old stock.
 
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News
Enrich & Endure become full members of the Irish Linen Guild
17 April 2014
Enrich & Endure - New Website
10 April 2014
Thomas Ferguson Exhibit at NY Now in New York, 1-5th February, 2014
11 November 2013
John England Exhibit at Premier Vision, Paris
31 October 2013
Emblem Weavers (Export) Ltd - New Full Member of the Irish Linen Guild
16 July 2013
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