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Fabric Fibers: Cotton | Linen | Silk | Synthetic | Wool

linen fabric and flax plant Linen is one of the oldest types of fabric.  Flax, from which linen is made, was cultivated in Egypt as early as the 4th millennium BC.  To produce linen, cellulosic fibers from the stem of the flax plant are spun into yarn, which is then woven into fabric.  Both lightweight, handkerchief linen and heavyweight linen, for suiting, are available, as are fabrics woven from linen blended with other fibers.

flax flower Linen is a fabric that is ideal in warm climates.  It is absorbent, cool, and crisp.  Producing no static electricity in its pure form, linen fabric dries quickly, retains its shape, and is lint-free.  Linen usually resists stains and dirt, but it yellows with age and may lose some crispness if washed.  Loosely woven linen fabrics won't withstand laundering well.  Linen's biggest drawback is that it wrinkles easily.

field of flax plants Linen fabric is not always easy to sew with.  It frays, shrinks, and sometimes slips during the sewing process.  It is fairly inelastic and not very giving.  It presses best using a press cloth, but unwanted creases may be hard to remove.  When buying linen, choose fabrics that have smooth, straight yarns which are closely and evenly woven.  Good quality linen fabric has fine yarns with high thread counts.

Linen fabrics are used for a variety of household products, ranging from table linens, towels, and bedding to clothing, window treatments, and home decorating projects.

linen shirt

Linen Resources

  • The Linen House
    This Belgian linen manufacturer features linen fabrics and household products, as well as a historic overview of linen.
    www.TheLinenHouse.com
  • Libeco-Lagae
    This linen weaver has been producing linen products for over 150 years.  Libeco offers an extensive selection of household linens as well as linen apparel and decorating fabrics.
    www.Libeco.com
  • Flax and Linen in Ancient Egypt
    Since ancient times, linen has been spun and woven into cloth in the Middle East.  This web page discusses and illustrates the early history of flax and linen.
    www.Reshafim.org

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