Friday 4 December 2009

Why I Love Linen

I have had a long lasting love affair with linen. Nearly all my clothes are linen and I never tire of it and anybody who has worn it will understand why. It is luxurious and cool to wear and I don't mind that it wrinkles; it is a sign of the real thing.

I am often asked what linen actually is so have decided to write this post and to highlight its benefits. Not to be confused with cotton, it is spun from the Flax plant and its earliest use dates back to 8000 BC. The Ancient Egyptians loved it!

As a natural fibre, linen is non-allergenic, anti-bacterial, bio-degradable and recyclable. It absorbs dampness & dries quickly making it the best choice for tea-towels. It is 3 times stronger than cotton, yet will become softer with each wash while lasting much longer.

Linen is an ecological champion thanks to its all-natural farming procedures. It is a renewable crop and unlike cotton, requires no irrigation and very little pesticides or fertilisers. It makes me wonder why we don't grow flax instead of cotton in Australia? I think we could in our cooler states.
Flax produces no waste and some of the wonderful by-products include nutritional linseed oil and flax seeds. Hurrah for flax and linen!

From a crafter's point of view, I love the natural texture and colour of linen and it is ideal for embroidery and wonderful for screen-printing. Fellow Brisbanite Rebecca Cason of Edward and Lilly chooses linen for her wonderful hand-embroidered products. This is Kitty and is available through her Etsy store or at the BrisStyle Market this Saturday.

Tasmanian Lisa Kingston also uses natural linen for her hand-embroidered Christmas decorations. See my earlier post about Lisa for more information and how to purchase.

Searching on Etsy, I found this delightful machine-embroidered wallet from LB accessories.

How innovative is the typewriter pillow from Track and Field Designs, also on Etsy?

I only use natural, unbleached linen now for our hand-printed linen tea-towels (not bleached). Spoon and Whisk design is shown. Purchase printed towels on-line or through our retailers. I will be at the Young Designers Market in Brisbane on Sunday with lovely homewares, fabric packs and lots of drastically-reduced sale items (mainly clothing).

Inspired to make your own linen creations? Purchase fabric here. More natural linen fabrics are coming soon!


Healthy Shift Worker said...

Hi Thea. I also love linen because it is so much cooler to wear in summer. Like most natural products it can actually breathe, and in our hot and humid climate - this is priceless!

Enjoy the markets!

Grace Garton said...

Excellent post Thea. I've been wondering what to use instead of calico, wanting something more environmental. Linen sounds perfect. I love the look of it and it's natural colour and texture. Now where to buy me some linen.
Thanks for leaving a comment on my post today. I'll certainly be interested in a swap with you early next year. I need to make some new stock and madly working on new designs!

Mon Café Couture said...

Nice picks, I like the linen cat, adorable. Linen and cotton are the best to sew. said...

Thanks for rilling us in on the benefits/facts/fiction about this wonderful fabric.

edward and lilly said...

Thea, this is a great post and thanks so much for the mention :)

Jennie said...

Thanks for this educational post. The environmental impact of flax versus cotton is fascinating. I'm not a natural earth-tones girl myself, but I do try to be green! I'm going to start thinking linen.

Thea said...

If we do use cotton, we should opt for organic that is at least free of pesticides and formaldehyde, among other harmful chemicals.

blue ginger designs said...

love this post Thea.
Im a big fan of linen and a try my best to use them in most of my products.

love the tea towels!

lisa :: the red thread said...

Oh I love linen too! I especially love your linen... I've yet to make anything with it though.

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