Linen is a valuable natural fabric that is extracted from the cellulose fibers that grow inside the stems of flax plants. Due to its crystalline structure, linen fibers are extremely strong, which makes linen an extremely strong and durable fabric.
Linen is a very popular fabric among the textile industries because of its freshness and comfort in hot and humid conditions. However, it is a fabric with an extensive production process.
From its cultivation, it will only be ready to be harvested in about a hundred days. Linen grows in a variety of climates, but it thrives in cool, humid environments, requiring little watering or attention throughout this period, growing to about 1 meter in height. The taller the flax plant, the longer the fiber.
How is linen made?
Linen is produced following a series of steps, which have been improved over the years:
Step 1: Cultivation and Harvest
Flax is planted in a fresh climate and after around 100 days it is harvested, when the stem starts to turn yellow and the seeds brown, but in some places the plant is harvested before the seeds germinate, producing highly fine fibers and leaving the producer seedless for the next cultivation.
Step 2: Retting
In this step, the fibers are separated. After harvesting, the leaves and seeds of the plant are removed using a machine. This process is called “retting”, where the linen is placed in water, which contributes a lot to the quality and beauty of the fiber to be produced.
Step 3: Scutching
Through this process, the fibers are even looser, where the woody part of the stem is currently crushed by metal rollers. After that, the fibers are removed and other parts of the plant are reserved for other purposes.
Step 4: Combing
The natural fibers are then “interrupted”, separating the inner fibers from the other fibers, and then a combing technique is used. This leaves the longer flax fibers behind. This process consists of presenting the yarns in a soft and shiny way, ready to be spun.
Step 5: Spinning
Finally, the fibers are spun into yarn. Spinning involves twisting the fiber strands to form yarn, and then winding the yarn into a bobbin. During this process, the yarn often needs to be moistened to prevent loose yarns from escaping, creating an especially soft yarn.
Step 6: Reeling
After spinning in a spinning frame, the fibers give rise to yarns, which are, then, rolled onto bobbins. This winding process is carried out in humid conditions and then the linen fibers go through a hot water bath so that the bond turns closer. This process is essential to making the fibers stronger.
Step 7: Drying
Finally, the yarn goes through the drying process and is ready to be dyed, treated and transformed into clothing, household items or other types of textile products.
Even with all the technological advances and consequent evolution of machines, the linen production process remains quite hard-working, and it still requires much more manual work than any other textile.
Due to its fresh, comfortable, durable and soft properties, linen will always be one of the most preferred fabrics.
Take advantage of your time here and browse our Linen Fabrics collection and find the perfect fabric for your next project.