Instantly evoking memories of balmy European summers, intimate dinner parties and luxuriously crisp sheets draped across your bed, linen has long been considered a premium and sought-after textile. Did you know the Ancient Egyptians even used it as form of currency?
Image: Elle Interiur
Firstly, where does linen come from?
Linen is derived from the flax plant, which is mainly grown in Northern Europe, Russia and parts of Asia. Flax plants are highly resilient, growing well in harsh conditions and needing significantly less water than cotton fields.
This versatile plant can also be almost used entirely, resulting in minimal excess waste. Flax seeds are considered a superfood, whilst flaxseed oil offers various benefits for both home and health. Given its multi-use properties, it is no wonder that linen has been one of the oldest fibres used by humans.
How is linen created?
The soft, almost silky feel of pure linen is created by weaving the plant fibres through an extensive and laborious process. The plant is extracted from the ground, then deseeded before being spun into yarn and eventually woven into fabric. The time and skill required in producing linen means it is significantly more costly to produce than cheaper textiles such as cotton or polyester.
When it comes to sustainability, linen is in fact one of the most eco-friendly fabrics you can find. When left un-dyed, linen is in fact entirely biodegradable. The natural hue of untreated linen is usually a creamy ivory, ecru or light tan, which is beautiful and classic on its own. However the porous composition of linen is such that it also holds dyes remarkably well, adding both to the weight and versatility of this fabric.
Why is linen always in demand?
Linen is highly sought after, especially in the fashion and home-textiles industry. The reasons for this are plentiful - linen is fast drying, moisture-wicking and breathable even in high temperatures. This means that even if you are sauntering around Greece during the peak of summer, the cooling nature of this fabric will leave you feeling comfortable and fresh.
The multi-use properties don't stop there - being naturally moth-resistant and anti-bacterial also makes linen a durable and superior choice for homewares such as bedding, curtains or table napkins. The low elasticity means that pure linen is more likely to crinkle than cotton, however many find that they prefer the boho chic look of lived-in linen.
If you're looking to invest in your first linen homewares, look for stonewashed or pre-washed linen, such as our Pure Linen Table Napkins in Snow which feel delightfully soft from your first use. But unlike other fibres that lose their shape and quality after a few washes, linen is the fine wine that gets better with age. Even after taking it home, you will find that each wash will soften the fibres even more, leaving the fabric feeling increasingly velvety to the touch.
Image: The Sustainable Life Co
A premium choice across apparel, homewares or bedding, linen has long held on to its reign in the upper echelons of the textile industry. Offering a multitude of benefits in both form and function, now you know why!