From the French, meaning ‘mixed’, it is a cloth woven with a cotton warp and a linen weft also known as union or linen union.
It has good body and drape, is soft and has a lovely colour, because even though both sets of fibres have been dyed either as a piece or yarn dyed to match each other, they absorb and reflect colour in slightly different ways.
Metis wears gracefully with age, becoming more interesting–this is in part because colour does not penetrate to the core of linen fibres and over time the off-white core begins to show in places, giving the weft a lighter hue.
Metis entered the French fabric market in the early 20thC and quickly became popular with housewives for being easier to launder and a more affordable bedding material.
In turn, the British fabric houses Sanderson and GP & J Baker ‘invented’ the linen union as a sofa fabric–at one time, printed or plain linen union was on every country house sofa and chair in the UK: its slightly rustic look and feel, very high rub test, easy care and general longevity, alongside a penchant for the Indian print patterns that adorned them and disguised stains all added up to the perfect solution for an outdoorsy family life.