Linen – What is It? Discover Origin, Making & Uses : Video

Linen fabric is one of the oldest textiles’ fibers in the world since it was already used by the Egyptians 5000 years BC Today, Europe is the world’s largest producer of flax fibers, with some 110,000 hectares cultivated. The European countries produce 70% of all flax with the best quality and beauty!

During the time of Egyptian antiquity, it is still at the heart of the most innovative research; Weavers and spinners strive to renew its aspects, touches, finishes, coatings, treatments. However, technical linen-based fabrics represent a growing interest in homes, cars, sports, and leisure. And in many other areas of application; with a view to using healthier and recyclable materials. Let us discover all the facets of this amazing material.

Making of Linen

Sharing a fascinating video about the making of the famous fabric material ‘Linen” presented by #FashionedfromNature

Listen and Watch, How was it made? Linen

From Flax To Fabric (linen): Discover and see how linen is made with the complete process from the pulling to the final product named “The Linen Fabric” We will learn about retting, bundling, scutching, heckling, spinning, and weaving in this great video exhibited by ‘The Fashioned From Nature’ exhibition by the Victoria & Albert Museum, which was showing until 27th January 2019.

Linen, a textile material suitable for all uses, which we prefer in heavy fabrics such as excessively delicate and almost transparent canvases, is cultivated in Europe, and its mythology is appreciated all over the world. Nations such as Canada and China require less sustainable ways to yield harvests.

The Video Notes

After pulling the flax plants, its root residues fertilize and clean the soil. Plus, it increases soil fertility by up to 6 to 7 years. Furthermore, farming flax does not require watering nor fertilizers and no kind of pesticides or insecticides too. Therefore, it does not contaminate rivers or groundwater. Plus, the Flax plants maintain about 4 tons of CO2 gas per ton every year, isn’t that great?

How Is Linen Fabric Made?

Do you know Linen is one of the most traditional and oldest cultivated textile fibers? It is probably native to Asia Minor, from where it would have spread to India and China and west, to Egypt and then to Europe. It is said that the Egyptians called linen “woven moonlight”, which speaks volumes about their fascination with the material.

The preparation of the fiber and the technique of weaving linen fiber can give very different results, ranging from coarse fabrics for furnishings to more delicate fabrics for clothing. The “Linen” is a delicate, transparent, and airy cloth. Linen fiber also mixes with cotton to obtain the “Metis” for more elastic fabric.

Manufacturing Process

Linen is made from Flax, which is an annual plant that can be sown in autumn as “winter flax” and in summer, known as “summer flax”  Once it has reached maturity, the flax is pulled up and put into small bundles. It is dried on-site and then stored before undergoing various processing operations.

The ginning consists in separating the seeds from stems. The retting helps rid the bark of its sticky resinous material, which then facilitates the extraction of fibers.

There are different methods of retting:

  • Water retting, used for quality linens, consists of soaking the linen in large wooden tubs twice, with drying in the sun between the two soaks.
  • Retting in stagnant water is used for less beautiful linen or to obtain softer fibers.
  • Retting on meadows or on the ground consists of leaving the flax in the fields so that it undergoes the effects of soil moisture and the heat of the sun.
  • Retting in tanks, by soaking in chemical baths, is the fastest process.

The scutching is the step that separates the fiber from straw. It breaks down into two phases, grinding and scutching itself: the stems are crushed and then scraped to remove the woody part and keep only long usable fibers.

These fibers will be further refined by coarse combing to give the Scutched linen or tow. It takes 100 kg of straw flax to obtain 15 kg of scutched flax. The scutched linen is then sent to the spinning mill, where it must be spun and then woven into the classic linen fabric.

Origin Of The Word Linen

  • The oldest fragments found by historians’ date 36,000 BC in Georgia: Since archaeologists have found fragments of flax fibers in a cave.
  • It is then in Egypt that we find linen from 8,000 BC which is used in the manufacture of mummification strips but also in the production of clothing.
  • During antiquity, the entire Mediterranean basin took hold of linen textiles, from the Phoenicians to the Greeks, from the Greeks to the Roman.
  • In 789, Charlemagne ordered that flax be a priority and that each household worked flax.
  • The development of this fabric continued in France and became the first textile from the 9th century.
  • During the nineteenth century, the mechanization of cotton made decline the flax that remains artisanal.
  • 20th century: the culture of flax is revived in the north of France.
  • 21st century: The culture of flax represents 75,000 ha in Europe, 50% of which in Normandy. 

Different Types of Linen

Linen fabrics or “pure wire cloths” use vegetable fibers of varying quality. We can distinguish as follows:

  • Linen fabrics, which use the core of linen, that is to say, comb and refined fiber;
  • Tow fabrics that use yarn are made from comb residues and waste.
  • The Half linen cloth is a fabric made of linen warp and tow cloth.

Great to Know About “Flax Plant”

The linen fibers are made from flax (one kind of plant). From an ecological point of view, flax is a very interesting plant, not only because its transformation and dyeing for textiles are water-saving and much less polluting, not only for its good level of recycling but also because of flax. In the plant, everything can be exploited, valued in various ways. Thus, beyond textiles, linseed oil is made (used in paints, varnishes, etc.), flax seeds are consumed, flax toes are used non-woven (layers of fiber that are tied to needles, adhesives or sewing are used to make). Waste related to wood) is used to produce energy too! With flax, nothing is wasted, and many by-products hide behind the main products!


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