What is linen?
Linen is one of the oldest textiles in the world. It is a woven fabric made from the fibres found in the stems of flax plants. These fibres are very strong but can be easily damaged during collection, therefore specialist techniques have been developed to harvest flax. Once the stems are collected, they must be stripped down into their essential fibres. The soft fibres that are gathered in this process are then spun into long threads, from which they can be weaved. The term ‘linen’ is used for fabrics of all different weights and constructions that are composed of 100% flax fibres or yarns.
Properties & qualities
Linen is very breathable due to its loose weave, and therefore is an excellent choice of fabric for summer as it allows air to penetrate, and so retains its cool feel. The material is usually an off-white colour, but the fibres take dye well and so linen can be dyed a wide range of colours. It is also very strong, lightweight and durable, and doesn’t stretch over time.
Linen is a soft material with a natural texture. It can look naturally creased, and either have a soft sheen or a matte finish. Often, the natural fibres and the weave are visible.
It is recommended to check the individual washing instructions of each linen product. However, generally linen can be machine washed at 40°C on a gentle cycle or linen wash setting. The spin setting should be set to low. For best results, refer to the care instructions on your linen product.