About Linen Fiber
Linen is woven from the fibers of the flax plant and is a completely natural resource – perhaps the most ecologically sound fabric of all and it is totally biodegradable and recyclable.
Linen textiles appear to be some of the oldest in the world: their history goes back many thousands of years. Fragments of straw, seeds, fibres, yarns, and various types of fabrics which date back to about 8000 BC have been found in Swiss lake dwellings. Dyed flax fibres found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia suggest the use of woven linen fabrics from wild flax may date back even earlier to 36,000 BC.
Today linen is usually an expensive textile, and is produced in relatively small quantities.
Whilst only the very best fibres are used by the Linen industry, no part of the flax plant is wasted; the left over linseeds, oil, straw and fibre are used in everything from soap to cattle feed and paper. Few products are so efficiently used as flax. The production of linen fabric uses five to twenty times less water and energy than the production of cotton or other synthetic fabrics. Linen fabrics are biodegradable and recyclable.
Flax is grown in many parts of the world, but top quality flax is primarily grown in Western Europe. High quality fabrics are still confined to niche producers in Ireland, Italy and Belgium. Also countries including Poland, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Britain and some parts of India.
Over the past 30 years the end use for linen has changed dramatically. Approximately 70% of linen production in the 1990s was for apparel textiles whereas in the 1970s only about 5% was used for fashion fabrics.
Linen uses range from bed and bath fabrics (tablecloths, dish towels, bed sheets, etc.), home and commercial furnishing items (wallpaper/wall coverings, upholstery, window treatments, etc.), apparel items (suits, dresses, skirts, shirts, etc.), to industrial products (luggage, canvases, sewing thread, etc.). Paper made of linen can be very strong and crisp, which is why the United States and many other countries print their currency on paper that is made from 25% linen and 75% cotton.
Over time linen textiles become softer and actually improve in comfort.
When linen fabrics are in contact with the skin, the nodes along the length of the fibre absorb perspiration, then swell and release the moisture to the outside air, thus creating a fabric self cooled by evaporation. As a result linen is a popular choice for bedding particularly in hot climates.
Linen is highly hygroscopic as it is capable to rapidly absorb and yield moisture. It evaporates water as quickly as the pond surface. Linen can absorb up to 20% of its own weight in moisture while still feeling dry to the touch. That explains why linen cloth always feels fresh and cool.
Linen is virtually lint free, non-static, non-allergenic, naturally insect-repellent and gives UV protection.
Linen is renowned for its spectacular durability and long life. The tensile strength of linen thread is twice as high as that of cotton and three times that of wool.
Linen underwear possesses rare bacteriological properties. Resistant to fungus and bacteria, it is found to be an effective barrier to some diseases.
Linen does not cause allergic reactions and is helpful in treating a number of allergic disorders.
Linen cloth does not accumulate static electricity - even a small blend of flax fibres (up to 10%) to a cloth is enough to eliminate the static electricity effect.
Heat conductivity of linen is five times as high as that of wool and 19 times as that of silk. In hot weather those dressed in linen c
lothes are found to show the skin temperature 3°-4°C below that of their silk or cotton-wearing friends. According to some studies, a person wearing linen clothes perspires 1.5 times less than when dressed in cotton clothes and twice less than when dressed in viscose clothes. Meanwhile in cold weather linen is an ideal warmth-keeper.
Both industrial hemp and flax plants are regarded as “golden fibers”, not just for their natural golden color fibers, but more importantly, for their great properties. Their fibers are considered the strongest known to mankind next to silk.
With high moisture absorbency, high heat conductivity, and excellent abrasion resistance, they can be made into beautiful, comfortable and long lasting clothes. The more you wash them, the softer they get. They age gracefully. Blended with other natural fibers, their applications become almost endless.