Linen is most loved for its diversity, from a rustic and neutral look to soft and refined. It is often found in homes on upholstered and loose covered furniture, curtains, cushions, bedding and clothing. But did you know the benefits of linen run right down to the fibres?

How is Linen made?

Linen is an amazing natural fabric made from flax fibres and this process has been used to make linen for almost 6,000 years.

The plants are first removed from the ground by cutting or pulling and then the seeds are extracted though a process called winnowing or ripping. To separate the fibres from the flax plant itself, a natural process takes place called “retting” that utilizes bacteria to decompose the pectin that binds the fibre together.

Once the long fibres are removed they are brushed out into long strands that can then be spun into yarn and eventually woven into linen material.

The best part about this process is that it’s practically zero-waste. Anything that will not be used in the fabric manufacturing, such as the woody stalks of the flax plant and the roots, compost back into the soil and the seeds used to make linseed oil.  

Benefits of Linen 

Linen is Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly: Linen is a sustainable, natural fibre growing without the use of pesticides, fertilizers and additional watering. This also makes it a renewable resource, plus being a natural fibre it’s also biodegradable.

Producing linen has a smaller environmental impact than cotton, mainly as it needs little to no water consumption to grow. Also, as mentioned above, the production of linen is rarely wasteful.

Linen is Antibacterial: Flax Linen is a naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial substance. It denies germs an ideal breeding environment and this slows the growth of bacteria.

This provides the ideal fabric for linen curtains that may not be washed often, linen bedding will stay fresher for longer under the covers and linen tea towels won’t grab onto bacteria quite as much when wiping and drying dishes.

Natural Heat and Moisture -Wicking Properties of Linen: As linen fibres are hollow, this fabric has great insulation and ventilation properties meaning it’s made to keep you warm in cool temperatures while also wicking moisture and allowing airflow in warm conditions.

Using linen for curtaining in your home is a great idea in cooler temperatures due to its insulation properties. Combined with a suitable lining, it will be the perfect harmony of looks and functionality.

Linen Is Strong and Durable: Linen is made to last generations as it’s 30% stronger than cotton. In linen the cellulose fibres are much longer and wrapped tighter than cotton making it durable and very suitable for the wear and tear often found in lived-in homes. There’s a reason linen clothing and homewares are often heirlooms passed down in the family.

Linen is perfect for curtaining, bedding, cushions and upholstery for this reason. Linen is particularly great for cushions as they get fluffed, stuffed and roughed-up almost every day so you need to know that your fabric will continue to handle it.

It’s not hard to see why linen is found in most homes and clothing pieces these days! Thanks Martha’s Furnishing Fabric for this wonderful article on linen.