Utility, durability and history of linen fabrics
Flax is an industrial plant used by mankind since the Neolithic period, from CA. 7500 B.C. to nowadays. Today, the available utility of this plant is much greater for sure, and especially the technologies of fabric production are incomparably better than those used in ancient times. Nevertheless, flax is a plant that has always been valued and used in many different ways. What should you know about flax and its properties?
Flax in history
The most famous fabric in the world, i.e. Shroud of Turin, is a linen canvas measuring 441x112. 5-113 cm. However, linen fabrics were made much earlier and, moreover, people valued these fabrics. Ancient Egypt left in its tombs many paintings depicting the cultivation, harvest and linen fabrics production, or ropes. Linen white robes were worn by priests and civil servants, and linen cloths were also wrapped around the dead, now known as Egyptian mummies. The most outstanding pharaoh of Egypt, Tutankhamun, was wrapped in a fine linen cloth about 1000 meters long after his death! It’s curious that flax is also mentioned in the Bible.
Expansion into other lands, whether cultural, commercial, or military, couldn’t have taken place without crossing the seas. Both sails and ropes were made of linen cloth, and in addition to this flax was just used to seal Egyptian ships sailing on the Nile. Reconstructions of this type of boat, and in particular seals, are still made of flax.
Linen fabrics were widely known and used also on the other side of the Mediterranean, in Greece and Rome, and flax was also well-known in Poland. There are reports of the usage of flax, harvested before blossoming to get much softer fibers, which then used r for the underwear production.
Flax is connected with the Christmas tradition as well. According to it, a white linen tablecloth should be on the Christmas table, and this tradition also applies to Easter tables. Flaxseed are used in cooking, most often as a supplier of desirable fiber.
How can we get flax for fabric production?
Flax is characterized by the fact that the fibers can be found along the entire length, so the plant isn’t cut, like hemp, but is torn with roots. Thanks to this approach, fibers are obtained with different use and characteristics. In general, long fibers are the most valuable and they are obtained from the middle part of the stem of the plant, and short fibers are obtained from the tops and roots. The first ones are used for the production of warp and warp yarn, which are used later for the production of fabrics, and the others are suitable only for the production of carded weft yarn.
Besides a few regional and handmade spots, flax is mainly used in industry. In addition to ropes and paper about 10% fabrics are produced from flax fibers and this percentage varies within:
- 10% - industrial materials;
- 15% - consumables, in bed linen and tablecloths;
- 15% - upholstery materials and upholstery;
- 60% - clothes for various purposes.
What are the characteristics of linen fabrics?
According to the survey dedicated to flax properties, which was conducted by scientists from the Institute of Natural Fibers and Herbaceous plants in Poznań, flax fabrics are characterized by many positive properties.
Flax fibers and also the fabrics made of them, are characterized by hygroscopicity, i.e., high moisture absorption. This is an extremely desirable feature for clothes and bed linen.
It’s recommended for keeping good sleep because it has got thermal insulation properties and causes a feeling of pleasant cold. During the heatwave linen duvet cover absorbs moisture and extra heat, and at the same time keeps body heat when it’s cold. Linen can be washed almost at any temperature, and you can even boil or sterilize flax without any worries about losing its properties. Because of having pectin B in flax fibers, the use of bed linen doesn’t weaken it but leads to much more pleasant soft feeling of flax.
According to company experts which produce linen fabrics there is a huge advantage that there is a a lack of allergic properties in flax, which allows the use of bed linen and clothes by people suffering from allergies. In addition, flax is bacteriostatic and bactericidal.
Not only bed linen, but also textile linen they are very friendly to people. Lignins which are contained in flax fibers are considered to be a great absorbent of harmful UV radiation, and it causes the effect of so-called cool grip in linen clothes.
In its turn, it makes linen summer clothes, including sport one, perfect for boiling months, when everybody wants to make his body cooler. Moreover, flax has electrostatic properties, and they are also effective even with a small content of flax in the fabric. Linen and linen clothes are breathable, and this is extremely important for the comfortable usage.
Flax is rather expensive material and in order to reduce the price of final products, there have been developed some methods of combining flax, which often take an advantage not only because of materials such as cotton, wool, viscose, or polyester, but also flax itself, for example, combined with silk. This process caused effective softening of mixed fabrics.
Linen fabrics with the addition of flax are very strong and durable. Perfectly preserved linen fabrics which were made in ancient period prove it. At the same time, it’s a absolutely environmentally friendly material, completely biodegradable, although most frequently linen materials are used as a semi-product for high quality paper.
European organic linen is completely natural, safe for the skin and human body and it’s very convenient to use. Regarding growing awareness of the environment, it’s also an absolutely safe raw material that doesn’t create any inaccessible waste.