Layercake Fabrics, Fabric Care & Sewing Patterns


Our Linen
Linen is made up of fibres of the flax plant. It is one of the world's strongest textiles and most sustainable fashion choices, creating zero waste as every part of the plant is used (for textiles and food). A field of flax needs only rainwater to grow, so no irrigation, nor GMO's and it produces only 1/4 of the carbon of other crops (like cotton). It is also high-yielding; one hectare (10,000 sq.m, about the size of a football field) produces enough fibre to produce 4,000 Layercake garments.

Our linen is all European grown, yarn-dyed and woven especially for us, then boil-washed to pre-shrink it. We dictate the colours, the weight, the quality and the design of all our linen. Good quality linen is an investment. Its durability and strength allow it to become softer over time. It does not stretch, so your garments will retain their shape as they soften around the edges for that coveted relaxed linen look.

It is an outdated belief that linen is a Summer fabric, because it draws heat away from the body in Summer, absorbing excess moisture from the skin. However, it is also a natural insulator, providing warmth when it is needed and offering the perfect base for a layered look, trapping air between the layers to keep you cozy year-round.

Linen Care and Washing Instructions
Note: all Layercakes have washing labels sewn into them, usually in the left side-seam.

All our linen is pre-shrunk, unless stated otherwise. This means your linen Layercakes can be washed in the machine at 40º C and either line-dried or machine-dried. If you machine-dry them and take them out of the dryer as soon as it finishes (i.e. before the garments cool down) and hang them up straightaway, you will not have to iron them.


Our wool
Because we produce wool Layercakes in much smaller quantities, we only very occasionally have fabric custom-woven for us (like our Scottish Large Check Wool). However, most of our wool fabrics have been woven in the UK and all are considered dead stock by the manufacturers. This means that they were produced by garment manufacturers who needed less than was made. Because the garment industry still operates on the basis that most collections are pre-sold to the retailers you buy them from, there are often left-overs of both finished garments as well as the fabrics they were made with. This gives small businesses like The Small Wardrobe access to high-quality, often custom-woven wool fabrics in small quantities.

Wool Care and Washing Instructions
Note: all Layercakes have washing labels sewn into them, usually in the left side-seam.

We recommend washing wool as little as possible. Wool Layercakes tend not to be worn next to the skin and can be kept going for a long time before a wash is really necessary. Any spills etc can most easily be removed by spot-cleaning with some water and a cloth.

That is not at all to say they cannot be washed. We recommend hand-washing wool Layercakes, because the wool cycles of different washing machines are so different from each other. You know your washing machine best but if in doubt, stick to hand-washing. There are a number of brands (we sell Soak, see HERE) that can be added to the hand-washing water, add the garment, wet it thoroughly and then just let it sit for however long suits you (hours is no problem!). Then take the garment out of the water, no rinse necessary, and put it dripping wet in the washing machine for a short spin cycle. Then hang to dry. As per the washing label, Wool Layercakes can also be dry-cleaned.


We are often asked if we sell patterns for our garments and/or the fabrics by the metre. We understand the motivation behind the request for patterns and fabrics, but for now there are no plans to introduce them.

Here is the reasoning behind this:
Layercake garments are both effective and flattering because we put a lot of thought and consideration into the combination of their shape and the specific fabrics we choose to make them in. We see so many examples of garments (both home-made as well as store-bought) that are made using an unfortunate combination of cut, fabric and fit. Making EVERY-BODY-HAPPY requires a bit of Layercake alchemy: achieving that perfect threesome of cut AND fabric AND fit.

This is what makes Layercake garments special.

A great example of not all fabrics being suitable for all garments are our Long Dusters. Although making them using our Small Check Linen would look fantastic, the resulting garment is just too heavy, feeling more like a coat than the light and airy garment we intend it to be.