Much of what we recommend for clothing in hot countries is created from linen and for good reason. It’s bursting with natural characteristics that make it a fabulous fabric to wear in hot climates. From a smooth silky touch to a more organic, textured feel, linen fabric comes in a wide range of styles. For both men and women, – choose from crisp shirts and tops, comfortable trousers and elegant dresses all selected with the sophisticated traveller in mind.
Linen in its natural form comes from fibres that grow inside the stalks of flax plants, mainly found in cooler climates; Ireland is famous for its beautiful quality linens. The flax plant, or Linum usitatissimum to give it its Latin name, takes a year to reach the stage where it is ready to be made into linen thread for weaving. It produces a small delicate blue flower. It is also the plant that produces Linseed and so is a very versatile plant.
Whilst it is frequently used on its own as a very versatile fabric that can be made into a light almost see-through material, it can also be woven tightly into a dense and heavy fabric. It is often blended with other natural fibres to give a different feels and textures. It gives body to cotton and a textured feel to silk.
From Plant to Yarn
There are four stages that the stalks of the flax plant pass through in order to produce the fabric that we know as linen.
Stage 1: Retting – Loosening the fibres in the stalk of the flax plant.
Stage 2: Scutching – Separating the stalk from the fibres.
Stage 3: Heckling – The shorter fibres are removed by a heckling comb leaving the longer softer flax fibres.
Stage 4: Spinning – The fibres are spun into yarn that is used to produce the finished fabric.
The Characteristics and Benefits of Linen:
- Very strong and durable
- Ability to absorb water without the wearer feeling damp
- No piling
- Resistant to moths
- Hypo-allergenic, meaning it does not irritate sensitive skin
- Feels comfortable against the skin