The production of Linen
Linen, made from the flax plant is one of the most biodegradable and stylish fabrics in fashion history and still loved today. It is the strongest natural fibre, naturally moth resistant, and made from flax plant fibers, so when untreated (i.e. not dyed) it is fully biodegradable. It’s natural colours include ivory, ecru, tan and grey.
Linen can withstand high temperatures – making the fabric generally perfect for our Australian climate or lounging on a tropical island. It absorbs moisture without holding bacteria. In fact, it is actually stronger when wet than dry and becomes softer and more pliable the more it is washed.
The flax plant itself is also extremely versatile. Every part of the flax plant has traditionally been used to create a worthwhile product – nothing is wasted and the production is cost effective and earth friendly. A common by-product of flax is Linseed Oil, which is great for wood preservation, especially in varnishes. Flax is resilient and can grow in poor soil, using far less water in its consumption than cotton. Research states that flax uses 13 times less pesticides than potatoes, but is only approximately 1% of the world’s apparel fiber consumption.
Because of the laborious time it takes to produce linen yarn, and the manual processes that have to be undertaken, linen has become a higher priced commodity, and considered among many to be a ‘luxury’ fabric.