The popular, synonymous with luxury, flax-made linen is one of the world’s oldest fabrics. People have been growing and turning linen into fabrics for thousands of year. In many regions of the world, people pass it down the generations because of its renowned softening-with-time quality.
Today, five-star hotels and luxury-loving celebs pick out the best quality linen for their bedding. However, why is that? What makes this flax fiber so valuable? Here’s a comprehensive list.
Linen comes from one of the purest, pathogen-resistant fibers on Earth - Flax. This is primarily because of its distinctive moisture-retention properties of Flax. Hence, linen fabric can absorb up to 20% dampness without getting wet. This prevents bacterial growth and makes linen bedding healthier and more long-lasting than any other options you may have.
The Flax plant is naturally hypoallergenic, making linen anti-allergen as well. Historically, linen is the only natural skin-friendly fiber which is why it is commonly used in hospitals as bandages. You can trace this all the way back to the Egyptians.
Linen bedding is suitable for people living in hot, humid climates. It has a distinct ability to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. Flax linen bedding is best for children and people who have sensitive skin or suffer from skin diseases.
The cultivation of flax and its conversion into linen is a super environment-friendly process. Although it is laborious and time-consuming, there is minimal use of pesticide, fertilizers and water as compared to the irrigation processes of other plants like cotton.
The flax plants are uprooted from the ground, harvested, and left in the field to soften. This exposes them to bacterial decomposition, naturally breaking down the woody portion of the plant and filtering out the remaining fiber. This fiber is then collected, rolled and stored in a safe shelter for a few months, where it continues to soften naturally.
After three or four months of storage, the fibers are combed, twisted and processed using a softening technique called ‘wet spinning’. Dry spinning leaves the yarn softer, smoother, stronger and heavier –making it ideal for use in upholstery, tents or other heavy apparel fiber. This entire process is minimally harmful to the environment.
Studies have shown that linen is particularly resistant to harmful UV rays and offer protection against the cancerous gamma radiations of the sun. Therefore, linen other flax products are healthy for you and your environment.
A recent study evaluating the "The Efffects of Fabric for Sleepwear and Bedding on Sleep at Ambient Temperatures" completed by Exercise, Health and Performance Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney concluded that the microclimate of your sleep environment has a direct effect on sleep health. An important factor of sleep health includes how one might “optimize” bedding for sleep health based on the fabric an indivual may sleep in. Linen is a super breathable fabric. Although its fibers are much thicker than cotton and have a lower thread count, they feature adequate spacing in the weave allow air to move through the fabric. The spacing of gives it its high permeability, and the weave gives it its ventilating qualities. Additionally, the ventilation also gives linen its thermo-regulating and heat conductive qualities. Research has shown that linen makes a person sweat twice as less as any other fabric. Finally, the weave of linen fabric wicks away moisture from the skin. Flax Linen bed sheets offer an extremely comfortable sleep, particularly in contrasting temperatures. This means linen will keep you cozy in the winter and cool in the summer.
If you compare flax linen to cotton, linen is actually 30% stronger, 10 times as durable and much less likely to rip. The flax fibers are three times as tensile as those of cotton and wool. In fact, linen is one of the very few fabrics on Earth which are stronger wet than they are dry. Consequentially, cotton sheets last upto one year before they start to show wear and tear, Flax Linens get better and softer with every wash, just like a great pair of denim jeans.
Flax linen bedding durability is due to the tensile strength of the flax fibers, the higher moisture absorbency rate of the plant as well as the naturally occurring hypoallergenic quality. Dry spinning during the manufacturing process leaves the yarn softer, smoother, stronger and heavier –making it ideal for use in upholstery, tents or other heavy apparel fiber.
If maintained and cared for properly, linen can potentially last many decades. Traditionally, families would pass their flax linen bedding and tableware down from generation to generation as an heirloom items. We should consider high-quality linen bed sheets and duvet covers an investment rather than a cost.
The more you wash and use the flax linen, the softer it becomes. Western home makers have grown accustomed to using high heat to dry clothes. Linen fabric can be air dried to avoid wrinkling. In fact, you can virtually eliminate all wrinkles if flax linen is placed on the bed slightly damp.
What’s more is that linen is highly resistant to moths and carpet beetles, and resists most dirt and stains due to the nature of the weave. It is not predisposed to linting or piling. Unlike other expensive fabrics, there is no need to dry clean, simply machine wash. To refresh your flax linen bedding, all steam, as we mentioned above, linen takes well to moisture.
Today, linen making is an extensive and laborious process, often involving a lot of manual labor. Therefore, it is a high priced, high-value commodity for distinctive discerning tastes.
This is primarily because of how durable, airflow-friendly and climatically versatile it is. However, it’s also because of how effortlessly stylish the fabric and texture giving your bedroom a vintage boho chic look. Vegetable dies take superbly to the linen fabric, producing rich and in-depth colors that do not bleed into the rest of your wash.
Adding to the visual appeal of the fabric are the tiny, randomly occurring knots called ‘slubs’. In the past, these slubs were a sign of poor quality linen. In reality, though, they are simply a sign of the intrinsic durability of the plant, which shows resistance when turned into textile –these slubs have no bearing on the quality of the fabric.
The slubs combined with the colors-reception, tactile texture of the linen and the simplistic edges only add to the beauty of the fabric, finishing it off with the luxurious minimalist aesthetic that celebs and tastemakers love.