Flax linen is made from fibres of the flax plant. (Linum usitatissimum - see left picture)
After blue flowers appear, the flax plant can be pulled out from the ground before seeds are formed to obtain the finest fibres for flax linen. For coarser flax fibres used for ship ropes and sails, the plant is harvested much later.
After harvesting, the plant is laid out on the field for dew-retting where the morning dew will cause the molds to separate the fibres from the woody core. This process can take a few months to occur and is known to produce the best flax fibres.
Water retting in ponds and streams will result in faster separation of fibres but may result in poorer quality, discoloration and smell.
After retting, the flax is dried, broken, scutched and combed to remove the fibres completely from the plant. There are two kinds of resulting flax fibres: Flax Tow (short fibres) and Flax Line (long fibres). The best flax linen is made from Flax Line. There is the final process of spinning to produce the desired threading.
From the threading, flax linen is produced and will usually be sent for bleaching before coloring through the use of dyes. These linen can finally be used for the production of flax linen products like bed linen and clothes.
From our research and experiments, we have identified the traditional method of bleaching which is done by putting out the flax linen in the sun for more than two months (depending on sun intensity and availability). We believe sun bleaching retains the natural properties of flax linen much better than chemicals do. Bleaching by chemicals happens in days rather than months and is commercially more viable.(See right picture for sun bleached comparison)
Flax linen has been in the shadow of cotton for many decades now due to the latter's ease of processing, elasticity and lower cost. We aim to excite the world with the beauty and benefits of wearing flax linen.
Some information about Flax
- the best quality flax fibres comes from Europe
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