Learn all about what is linen and the types of linen. Linen is one of the most common fabrics available these days, especially for bath and bed fabrics. However, have you ever wondered why linen is one of the most sought-after types of fabrics on the market? With that said, in this article, you will discover several facts about linen that you probably didn't know yet.
What is Linen and Types of Linen Tutorial
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.
Linen is also considered a sustainable type of fabric. Moreover, the term linen was derived from the flax plant's Latin name called "Linum usitatissimum."
History of Linen Fabric
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.
Linen's qualities make it one of the most in-demand textiles worldwide for over 30,000 years. In fact, in ancient Egypt, the fabric was prized so much that it was used as a medium of exchange or currency. Linen symbolized wealth, light, and purity, so it was the top fabric choice for mummification.
Today, linen garments are especially desirable in humid and warm climates. Linen dries quickly, and does not retain moisture, thus, minimizing heat retention in scorching weather conditions.
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.
What are the Properties of Linen
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.
What is Linen Used For?
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 are valued for their softness, durability, strength of fiber, and texture.
Here are the different types of linen used today:
1. Damask Linen
Damask linen is a beautiful mixture of plain and satin weave, giving the linen a smooth texture and reversible design. Despite its rigid texture, the damask offers substantial absorbency properties. It is widely used for tablecloths and napkins since it is usually produced in block colors.
2. Venice Linen
This is a variation of Damask linen. Its signature mark is the large floral prints and fine graceful drapes.
3. 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.
4. Huckaback Linen
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 lightweight.
5. 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.
6. Handkerchief Linen
Handkerchief linen is a plain weave linen. It is used for handkerchiefs and for soft blouses because it hangs softly.
7. Holland linen
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.
8. Cambric Linen
Cambric types of linen have a very fine weave and originate from Cambria, France. It is used for delicate items like handkerchiefs and lingerie.
9. Butcher’s Linen
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.
10. Sheeting Linen
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.
11. Toweling Linen
Toweling linen, with its looped weave, is ideal for towels, and it comes in different widths for the purpose of cutting out towels of different sizes.
12. 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.
13. Linen and Silk Mix
Linen and silk blends have the look of linen but, due to the silk, have an extra sheen. It is a smart fabric and is used for expensive suits, dresses, and skirts.
14. Linen and Polyester
Polyester is often added to linen blends to reduce the cost and also to reduce the amount of wrinkling.
15. Suiting Linen
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.
16. Household Linens
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.
17. Bathroom Linen
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.
18. 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.
19. Table Linen
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.
Best Types of Linen
European linen is considered to be the best type 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.
What is Linen's Pros vs Cons
Check out below the various advantages and disadvantages of linen:
The Pros of Linen
- Linen becomes softer as it ages, so it is considered one of the most long-standing and sustainable fabric types.
- Linen is highly resistant to sun damage; it won't break down even after being regularly exposed to the sun. Thus, it is a good fabric for making curtains. Additionally, linen also offers the ability to protect its wearers against harmful UV rays.
- Linen dries very well, so several eco-conscious towel manufacturers use it.
- Linen is strong, long-lasting, and doesn't pill.
- Linen absorbs and retains dye very well; thus, less dye is required during production.
- Since the Middle Ages, linen has been used as a comforting fabric due to its antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties.
- Thanks to its thermo-regulating properties, linen is a great fabric to use for bedding during warm weather conditions.
- Linen is undoubtedly impressive and very unique. It features uncommon fiber bundles and a natural luster, which give it a unique texture that's unmatched by other types of fabrics.
The Cons of Linen
- Linen is not as commonly available as cotton and synthetic fabrics. Producing it requires a demanding manufacturing process that utilizes a substantial amount of time.
- Given its intensive process, linen is comparably more expensive than cotton and other fabric types.
- It is notorious for shrinking, especially when linen is washed with hot or warm water.
- Linen easily creases. Thus, if you want to have smooth and wrinkle-free linen garments at home, be sure to prepare for some backbreaking ironing tasks.
What is Linen vs Cotton
Both linen and cotton are widely renowned for being soft, durable, and breathable. However, both fabrics have their differences, making one better than the other in specific categories and vice versa.
Both cotton and linen deliver exceptional absorbency, but cotton has a slight edge in this category. Cotton offers the ability to hold 25% water, while linen only holds up to 20%.
Cotton offers the capability of keeping its wearers warm. However, they may get a little too warm with prolonged wearing, especially during hot climate situations. On the other hand, Linen is great for both cold and warm weather conditions because it offers the ability to retain heat while making you feel nice and comfortable. Thus, when it comes to comfort, linen is a better option.
Given the extensive process, effort, and time put into linen production, it is considerably more expensive than cotton fabric.
Moreover, linen is also prized for its exceptional features and benefits that people can't get from other fabrics. Thus, if you want to invest in linen garments for your home, be prepared to spare the extra cash.
Linen is the landslide winner when it comes to sustainability. Linen fabric production utilizes less water than cotton production with a similar quantity. Additionally, the cultivation of flax uses fewer pesticides, and producing linen does not require harmful chemicals.
Although both linen and cotton offer exceptional durability, cotton may have shorter longevity than linen, depending on the quality and weave.
What is Linen Care and Washing Instructions
Although linen is well-renowned for being a durable and long-lasting fabric, it also needs special care to maximize its longevity.
One of the best things you can do to keep linen's quality and avoid shrinking is to wash it with room temperature water only and not with warm or hot water. Additionally, since linen easily wrinkles, careful folding is essential.
On the same note, given that linen easily wrinkles, ironing the fabric is pivotal if you want to keep it smooth and crease-free. While ironing, you may also want to use a little bit of starch spray to keep it clean and crisp.
What is Linen & 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.