Learn about all the types of linen. Linen dates back several centuries and was originally used to make fancy robes and dresses for the wealthy men and women of society. There are pictures, dating back to the ancient Egyptians, of linen being made and worn.
What is Linen?
Linen is a hard-wearing, natural fabric made from fibers of the flax plant. This purple flowering plant is grown worldwide and in particular in Western Europe. The flax plant is extremely versatile and can also be used to produce linseed oil as well as textiles.
Due to improvements in fabric production, linen has become more affordable and can be blended with many other fibers. Many types of linen are a stylish addition to every wardrobe and make up into comfortable suits and cool casualwear, particularly for hot climates. Linen is favored for its strength and superior absorbency.
Due to its open weave and distinctive fibers, it is prone to wrinkling. Rather than shy away from this property, many designers incorporate this into their distinctive designs. Care must be taken when washing linen to prevent shrinkage.
Linen is more expensive than cotton to manufacture and may be blended to reduce its cost.
Uses of linen types of fabric include:
- Bedding including sheets and duvet covers
- Tablecloths and table runners
- Dish Towels (Tea Towels)
- Clothing and suits
- Bags and Purses
Types of Linen
There are many different types of linen today to choose from and all valued for their softness, durability, strength of fiber and texture.
Here are different types of linen used today:
Damask linen is a beautiful mixture of plain and satin weave, giving the linen a smooth texture and reversible design. It is widely used for table cloths and napkins since it is usually produced in block colors.
This is a variation of Damask linen. Its signature mark is the large floral prints and fine graceful drapes.
Loosely woven linens
Loosely woven linens are highly absorbent. One of the varieties of this linen is known as Bird’s Eye linen. It has a pattern that resembles a bird’s eye. Loose weave linen is used for toweling and baby diapers.
This linen blend is either made from pure linen or a blend of cotton and linen. Huckaback linen makes up beautifully into towel lengths. It is very absorbent and light weight.
Plain Woven Linen
Plain woven types of linen, also known as glass toweling, are usually found in checks or striped in blue or red. The reason it is also called glass toweling is that it is great for wiping glasses over and removing smudges. It has a loose weave and this makes it extra soft and suitable for different cleaning purposes. The main item made from plain woven linen is tea towels (dishcloths) as it is highly absorbent.
Handkerchief linen is a plain weave linen. It is used for handkerchiefs and for soft blouses because it hangs softly.
This is another variation of a plain weave linen. This linen is treated with a mixture of starch and oil until it becomes opaque. The result is a linen ideal to use for window shades and lampshades.
Cambric types of linen have a very fine weave and originate from Cambria, France. It is used for delicate items like handkerchiefs and lingerie.
Butcher's linen is another variety of plain weave linen, but it is stiff and coarse. Butcher’s linen is well suited to aprons and heavy-duty clothing.
Sheeting linen is a heavy fabric that is very wide. This is a versatile fabric used for sheets and for clothing. Dresses and suits and other linen clothing look good made out of sheeting linen.
Towelling, with its looped weave, is ideal for towels and it comes in different widths for the purpose of cutting out towels of different sizes.
Types of Linen Blends
Linen can be blended with other fibers. It may be blended to reduce the cost or to better suit a particular purpose.
Linen and Cotton Blend
This fabric is a 50/50 mix of linen and cotton. The cotton gives the fabric more body and helps it to crease less. It is used for dresses, jackets, skirts and aprons. One reason to blend the fibers is that it keeps the texture of linen, but has more body which is especially important for jackets.
Linen and Silk Mix
Linen and silk blends have the look of linen but due to the silk, has an extra sheen. It is a smart fabric and used for expensive suits, dresses and skirts.
Linen and Polyester
Polyester is often added to linen blends to reduce the cost and also to reduce the amount of wrinkling.
Types of Linen Purposes
Linen can also be classified by its purpose. Here are some common types of linen purposes.
Suiting linen is a strong fabric with a crisp finish. It comes in different weaves like herringbone, twill, and plain weave. It makes up into summer shirts, apron sewing patterns, dresses skirts and jackets.
There are three main areas of the house that use linen -the bedroom, bathroom and on the table. Each area has a selection of functional linen products including sheets, napkins, tablecloths, table runners and towels.
Bathroom linen combines the weave of linen with loops from the loom and weaving process. The loops contribute to the linen being absorbent. Bathroom linens vary in size and include washcloths or facecloths, hand towels, bath sheets and bath towels, rugs and bath mats.
Bed Linen or Bedding
Bedding types of linen includes sheets and duvet covers to suit differing bed sizes. Single, three quarter, double, queen and King size and California King beds are the common sizes. Sheets can be fitted or flat for each bed size. Bed linen includes ruffles, duvet covers, pillow slips and comforters as well as blankets.
Table linen covers a wide range of table sizes and styles. There are round, square, rectangle and oblong tables with tablecloths to fit on them. The length of the drop of the cloth may differ too. Added to cloths are napkins, table runners, and table mats. Linens for interiors are manufactured in a variety of colors and designs to add variety and interest to table linen sets.
More About Types of Linen
European linen is considered to be the best types of linen in terms of quality because of the climate and growing conditions of the flax there. A naturally damp ocean climate and rich soil produce a long flax fiber. The quality control board called the Masters of Linen produces a registered trademark of quality. Belgium linen is rated as the highest quality linen but in order to be classified as such, it has to contain 85% flax fiber and be woven in Belgium. When you plan to buy the best Belgian linen, look for the hallmark on the linen tag. Belgian linen makes beautiful artists canvases for professional painters.
Types of Linen - In Conclusion
Linen truly is remarkable for its versatility and quality. It is a product used for all sorts of purposes. It has traveled through time from ancient Egyptian days as a cloth for mummification to the modern-day fabric found in homes, factories and art galleries. It is everywhere you can think of from bathrooms to bedrooms, appearing as a humble washcloth or a vibrant work of art. Linen is loved by all and so are all the types of linen.
You wrote this blog very well. Very knowledgeable. Thanks for sharing this
It's nice that you mentioned how linen has become more affordable and could be blended with many other fibers. I was skimming through a fabric guide earlier and I learned about how useful linen is. According to what I've read, it looks like you could actually ask for event linen rentals now.