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All about linen - Why I love linen

Posted by Jacinthe Bisson on

Get your linens ready for your summer sewing projects! I discovered linen about 2 years ago. It was not a fabric that my mom would use nor a fabric that would be widely available at my local fabric store. It seems now more readily available and the love for that fabric is omnipresent if you follow a few sewists on Instagram.

But what is it exactly about linen that is so great? I have prepared a brief overview of the characteristics of linen.

Scissor cutting fabric linen top down - Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Where does linen come from?

Made from the fibres of the flax plant, linen textiles are amongst the oldest textiles in the world. The flax plant can almost be used entirely and being a plant, it's biodegradable. Although Canada is one of the largest grower of flax, it is mostly grown for the seeds which is a popular food item (flax seeds and oils). The majority of the production of flax for linen is in northern Europe. Linen is produced in many European countries, India and China, but the highest quality fabrics are deemed to be produced in Ireland, Italy and Belgium.

Flax cultivation requires little fertilizers and it doesn’t really require many pesticides either. Merchant & Mills states that according to The Advisory Commission Report to the European Parliament, flax cultivation has positive effects on eco-system diversity as it allows for an “environmental pause”. One hectare of flax can retain 3.7 tons of CO2.

Linen is therefore a good choice for the eco conscious. You can learn more about it’s life cycle analysis (LCA) here.

What are the properties of linen?

Linen is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and hypo allergenic. It is also thermoregulating: it feels cool in hot weather and warm when it’s cold. This unique characteristic of linen is often referred to as it’s breathability. Linen will also absorb up 20% of it’s dry weight in moisture without feeling damp to touch -  less sweat patches when it is really hot 😊

How to care for linen?

Linen is easy to wash as it can sustain high temperatures, has moderate shrinkage, and gets softer the more it is washed. Plus, linen is also naturally stain resistant and does not pile. Perfect!!

You can tumble dry it, but it is better to remove it while it is still damp to help with the wrinkles…Yes, it wrinkles. The good news is that after only a few washes, the fibres begin to soften becoming less prone to wrinkle. It is also part of the charm of this fabric. You may also lose a bit of colour when washing (fading), but know that linen also takes dyes really well.

Linen is also naturally insect (i.e. moths) repelling. You can store it without worrying too much, but my guess is that you will want to use it all the time!

What can I make with linen?

Pretty much anything you want! Depending on the weight of the linen, you can use it for home decor (curtains, upholstery, tablecloth), houseware (napkins, towels, bedding) and of course clothes!

Check out our selection of mid weight linens ranging from 180 to 220 GSM all suitable for tops, loose shirts, skirts, dresses, jackets, pants…

Try this beautiful Irish linen, but hurry it is a deadstock fabric when it's gone it's gone!