Linen thread is the historical thread of the Fil Au Chinois brand. When the company was founded by Philibert Vrai in 1847, sewing machines did not exist and linen thread made up the bulk of their sales. This explains the existance of different presentations, either on classic spools, capsules or even star cards, each with a different length of thread. When Toulemonde took over Fil Au Chinois in 2007, they were keen to conserve these different presentation, which constitute part of their historical heritage.
The name, Fil Au Chinois, dates back to a period in France when anything Oriental was fashionable. This interest for the Orient became very popular with the expedition to Egypt in 1798, by Bonaparte (the future Napoléon), Algeria's conquest by France (1830) and twenty-five years, later the opening up of China and Japon only reinforced this interest. The beginning of the brand Au Chinois was at the heart of this cultural movement. The idea was a success as it permitted the creation of an easily identifiable and now legendary character.
Linen thread in capsules is a very old method of presentation. Philibert Vrau, the founder of the brand, had even created balls named "golden thread", a strand of gilded thread indicating the start of the ball. It was met with immediate success: annual sales rose from 282,000 boxes in 1864 to 1,950,000 in the following ten years. Each box contained 48 balls, representing a total of 93 million balls - the equivalant of 3 balls per person in France per year! In days gone by, the capsules were made of cardboard. Frederique Crestin-Billet has interpreted them in a more modern manner, whilst keeping the charming aspect of the vintage capsules. The label is one of the oldest interpretations of the brand image, which evolved over the years.
These star cards are an amusing way of presenting threads which was very popular in days gone by. It was an era when the world was not saturated by images as we are today: an item where an image was revealed as the product was used was a veritable attraction. Frederique Crestin-Billet redesigned the Fil au Chinois star cards in a traditional manner, with a variety of colours in the images.
The word “Retors” means that the thread has been re-twisted, a necessary operation in thread production.
This one is three strands that have been twisted together to give a smooth, resistant thread often used in leather work. It's a high quality thread which can be used for quality jewelry making, DIY...
Our linen thread is waxed, which means it has passed through a starch bath to which bees wax has been added. It is then brushed with horse hair and stretched. These operations ensure a thread which is smooth and resistant for the most rigid stitches.
Linen thread is one of the traditional specialities of the Fil Au Chinois brand.
Retors in French signifies twisted, as with this N°24 thread, thicker than the N°40.
The lin câblé (corded linen) is two strands of this Retors thread again twisted together.
All the Fil Au Chinois threads are made in France.
The Gros Bis balls are presented in small individual boxes with a hole in the top, perfect for using the thread without removing it from it's packaging. Bot practical and hygienic. Gros Bis is a waxed ecru linen string. Ideal for DIY, gardening, book binding, bracelets and in the kitchen. It is traditionally the string used to tie up roasts prior to cooking. Being completely un-dyed, it offers perfect food hygeine. The waxing, which makes the string smoother, consists of a 100% natural starch bath in which is added bee's wax.
You will also find here natural linens for making jewellery. If you want a waxed thread, choose the Fil au Chinois thread, and if you prefer unwaxed, opt for Lebaufil.
Presented on 50g reels this special book binding waxed linen is available in 8 sizes. The size of our binding book threads is expressed in metric number (NM), which corresponds to the number of metres per gram or the number of kilometres per kilogram. It is said that to express the thickness of a thread by a metric number is a false friend: the indicated number is proportionally the opposite of the thickness of the thread. Thus, a NM 10 is thicker than a NM 100.
Check out the thread numbering explained in Madame Sajou Diary.