Linen is a very popular and much-needed textile. It is extracted from flax fibers. It is essentially used in the apparel and textile industries. It is almost like cotton but better because it is more absorbent and dries faster. The cool and freshness of the material makes it very convenient and can be used to make towels, garments, tunics, dresses, and shirts. Linen is a very comfortable fabric for hot and humid conditions, as it easily absorbs moisture and is easier to dry than cotton. However, it is a very time and resource-consuming process as compared to cotton, and therefore can be a bit expensive.
History of Linen Fabric
The Linen fabric prides itself on a long and rich history. There is insufficient proof of its prehistoric existence, but its history still dates back to thousands of years. flax fibers have been discovered in a cave in Georgia which dates back to 36000 years ago, suggesting that ancient people used a material similar to linen. Linen was first produced in ancient Mesopotamia which was mostly used by the upper classes. It was also used in ancient Egypt as a shroud to wrap mummies and also as daily wear because of the extreme heat. Linen fabric has not only been used for clothing, but also as tablecloths, bedsheets, and others for several centuries.
Production of Linen
Linen is a very old fabric but it is not produced as widely as cotton. Mainly because of the tedious production processes and the additional care and attention needed by the flax plant. The linen threads are not elastic and therefore it is not easy to weave the linen threads without breaking them. this also makes them an expensive fabric to manufacture. China is the largest manufacturer of linen, followed by Ireland, Italy, Belgium, and the USA.
The manufacturing process of linen has several steps:
Flax seeds need around 100 days to grow. The flax plant is a delicate and it cannot endure very hot weather. Therefore it has to be planted accordingly so that it is not exposed to very high temperatures. Flax can also be commercially produced as well. The soil must be tilled well and frequent weeding is necessary for the growth of the plants.
The plants give several indications for the right time for harvesting in around 90 days. When the leaves wither away, the stem becomes yellow and the seeds turn brown, the plant has to be harvested immediately. This can be done manually or mechanically.
After harvesting, the stalks are processed for the removal of leaves and seeds. Then the fibre is separated from the hard wooden interior part. This is the process of retting, which needs to be expertly handled.
After retting, the plants undergo a process called breaking. The stalks are moved through rollers to seeparate the bast from the exterior fibers. It is the bast from which linen is made.
The process of combing or straightening of the fibers separates the short fibers from the long and fine linen fibers. The short fibers are used for making coarse and sturdy goods while the long fibers are used for spinning.
The long linen fibers, called Line fibers, go through the process of spinning, and a machine called spreaders is used. The fibers are laid parallely, creating a sliver. These are again passed through rollers, after which the fibers are called rovings. These rovings are then ready to be spun on a spinning frame.
After spinning, the fibers are made into threads, which are then made into spools or bobbins. This process makes the fibers stronger and inelastic. Reeling needs to be carried out in wet and humid conditions and the linen fibers need to be run through hot water bath to bind is closer together.
The yarn finally goes through the process of drying. The yarn is then used for textile manufacturing, like household items, clothes, etc.
Types of Linen Fabric
There are different types of linen, according to quality
1. Damask Linen.
2. Plain-woven Linen.
3. Loosely-woven Linen.
4. Sheeting Linen.
Linen Clothes Styles
1. Sky Blue Blazer
A very smart pick for morning meetings and regular office wear, this blazer will add a little something to your basic white shirt look. Such a look is perfect to put together a cool summer outfit. You can create a casual, smart casual or formal look out of it, and turn heads effortlessly.
2. Black Bandhgala
Wearing black during summers might be daunting, but that is when the linen material comes to the rescue. You can flaunt your style throughout the day without dropping any sweat. This one is a great pick for Indian traditional dresses or reception dresses for men. Pair it with nice trousers and keep your style breezy yet classy.
3. Brown Blazer
Brown can be a very exclusive but elegant piece for office or partywear. It can be a good piece for an engagement party for men, reception parties, or marriage party wear. It is also a great pick as formal wear for men. Not only for good styling, a linen blazer always promises longevity and year-round service. So you know this is worth it.
4. Beige Nehru Jacket
A beige Nehru jacket is a very fashionable piece indeed, and you don't need to compromise with comfort that matters. You can pair it up with a good kurta pajama for a good ethnic outfit and a relaxed aesthetic. After all, a solid piece can never go wrong!