Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Linen Fabric- So Common Yet So Unique!


Some of the fabrics are more than liked in summers. Linen fabrics are one of them. Linen is so familiar term to all of us but do we really know enough about this smooth, cool durable fabric? Did you know, apart from making garments and home furnishings, linen is also used for making many other things including paper? Yes indeed! Paper made of linen can be very strong and crisp. This is why, many countries including the United States, print their currency on paper made from 25% linen and 75% cotton! Does this interest you to know more about this fine fabric- the linen fabric!

What is Linen?
Linen comes from one of the strongest plant fibers- the flax, which is obtained from the stems of the plant Linum usitatissimum. Flax fibers are of two varieties- longer line fibers and shorter tow fibers. The fine and regular long flax fibers are spun into yarns for linen fabrics of which 70% goes into making clothing with extraordinary coolness. They are also used for high quality textile furnishings. Shorter flax fibers make heavier yarns that are used for kitchen towels, sails, tents and canvas. Lower fiber grades are used as reinforcement and filler in thermoplastic composites and resins used in automotive interior substrates, furniture and other consumer products.

Why Linen is Unique?
The 'so-cool-to-touch' linen fabric is about two to three times stronger than cotton yet it is soft and smooth when felt against skin. There are many properties of linen fabric that go to make it unique.
  • Linen is a very good conductor of heat- the reason for its being so cool.
  • It is smooth, soft and lint free- in fact, wash it more and it will get more softer.
  • It has high natural luster having shades of ivory, ecru, tan, or Grey- if its pure white then it is heavily bleached linen.
  • It has a crisp and textured feel. However, it can range from stiff and rough, to soft and smooth.
  • If properly manufactured, linen fabric can highly absorb and rapidly lose water- it can gain up to 20% moisture without even feeling damp- that's why it is one of the the finest cool summer fabrics.
  • It is very durable and strong- in fact, it is more stronger when wet than when dry.
  • It is abrasion resistant and also resistant to moths and carpet beetles.
  • It can be easily taken care of as it resists dirt and stains and also don't have lint or pilling tendency. It can be dry cleaned, machine washed or steamed without any concern.
However, as it is said that nothing comes with all good, linen too has some features that call for a little concern. Linen has poor elasticity. As such, it wrinkles very easily and wears away if folded and ironed at the same place repeatedly like collars, hems, and any area that is iron creased during laundering. Regardless of its tendency to wrinkle, linen has become the most favorable fabric for elegant summer clothing, otherwise what's the justification of 70% linen production being used for making apparels? In fact, a lot of linen garments nowadays are designed to be wrinkle free that can be air dried on a good hanger and worn without the need of ironing.
Stumble This Fav This With Technorati Add To Del.icio.us Digg This Add To Reddit Add To Facebook Add To Yahoo


Post a Comment