FROM FLAX TO FABRIC
How Linen Is Made From Flax Plant: 8-Step Process Of Creating Premium Fabric
Uncover the secrets behind linen, the timeless fabric made from flax. From harvesting to weaving, see how this sustainable fiber becomes part of your daily luxury.
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Table of Contents:
What Is Flax Linen?
Where Does Linen Come From
Incredible Characteristics Of Linen Fabric
The Origins Of Flax: The Fiber That Withstood The Test Of time
Flax Plant Harvesting
How Is Linen Fabric Made From Flax?
Step 1: Fiber Separation & Retting
- Water Retting – This method involves submerging the stalks in water, usually for up to several weeks. During this time, the water penetrates the stems allowing microorganisms to break down pectin and lignin and separate the fibers from the stem. Natural waters used for retting are usually stagnant (ponds). Tank retting involves the use of a large cement tank filled with water where the stalks are soaked for several days. The water is changed after several hours to remove dirt.
- Dew Retting (Field retting) - This is the oldest method of separating the fiber from the plant. It is an eco-friendlier option because it relies on natural dew and moisture from the atmosphere. Flax stems are spread directly in the fields and left for several weeks to absorb moisture and micro-organisms from the air, which dissolve the plant material surrounding bast fiber. This technique heavily depends on weather conditions and generally takes longer to complete than water retting.
- Chemical retting – Some growers treat the stalks chemically in order to speed up the process. However, this technique results in the poorest quality fiber and it also negatively impacts our environment.
Step 2: Scutching
- Breaking – This step involves breaking and crushing dried flax stems into smaller pieces by using a machine with serrated rollers or blades. This helps break the woody part of the stalk and prepare the material for the next stage.
- Scutching - This process includes beating or striking crushed stems to isolate long, quality fibers.
Step 3: Heckling
- The fibers are completely free from impurities
- Long fibers are separated from inadequate, short fibers
- The fibers are straightened
Step 4: Carding & Drafting
Step 5: Drawing
Step 6: Spinning
There are three methods of spinning:
- Dry – No liquid involved.
- Semi-wet – Water is introduced into certain stages of the procedure.
- Wet – The thread is submerged in the liquid bath while being twisted into thread.
Step 7: Weaving
The preferred method is still weaving because knotting with low elasticity supplies can be a challenge.
Step 8: Finishing
Where Does Linen Come From (Diagram)
What Are Different Types Of Linen
- Damask linen – This is a standard type of strong and beautiful fabric typically used for ornate tablecloths.
- Plain weave linen – This type has a checkered pattern with highly absorbing properties. It is typically used for napkins.
- Loose weave linen – The least durable of all types, it is mostly used to make reusable diapers and sanitary napkins or blended with cotton to make clothes.
- Closely-woven linen (sheeting linen) - Close-weaved linen is used to make bedding and clothing because it is soft, breathable, and very comfortable.
Common Uses Of Linen Fabric
- Bedding – sheets, pillowcases, duvets
- Table-linens – napkins, table cloths, placemats, table runners
- Apparel –shirts, pants, skirts, suits, dresses, accessories
- Crafting – sewing, scrapbooking, gift wrapping, painting
- Kitchen textile – tea towels, napkins, aprons, bags
- Bathroom towels – towels, facecloths
- Upholstery – couches, chairs, lampshades, wall coverings, rope, rugs
- Curtains & draperies