The story of linen...
We are not only proud to share arguably the best linen in the world with you but also love to share the story of linen; It's process, It's history, the benefits.
We would use no other. The flax plant has been transformed into linen throughout Belgium for centuries and the expertise, pride and long tradition of the Belgian artisans result in a linen of superior quality. We are proud to create products from true Belgian Linen and all pieces come with a certificate of origin as guarantee of Belgian Linen of the highest quality.
Choosing Your Linen
When it comes to buying linen, there are some important factors to consider…
As with most products universally, you get what you pay for. A key detail to look out for is where the fabric is woven. Some “Belgian flax linen” or “French flax linen” products are not true Belgian or French linens. Although the flax plant may be grown in the region, the raw fiber is often exported and woven in other countries, such as China or India. This results in the woven fabric not going through the same strict quality standards and having a completely different feel to authentic Belgian Linen. It's like comparing apples and oranges.
When it comes to bedding, another important thing to consider, or not consider, is thread count. There is a common misconception that the thread count is the most important thing to look for when purchasing bedding. Although this may give you an indication of how the fabric should feel, ie. how tightly the fabric is woven, it is not a true indication of quality. Thread count is also more applicable to cotton, linen is in a world of its own. Linen yarn is somewhat thicker than cotton, has a looser weave and is usually graded by weight (grams per square meter) not thread count. It is impossible to have a linen of 1000 thread count, yet its properties are far superior to cotton. There are many other factors contributing to the overall quality of the fabric and thread count is only a very small piece.
The most important thing is you. Your preference. If you like the touch, how it feels, then it’s the right choice for you.
Flax to Linen
Linen is a natural fabric made from the flax plant. Flax plants produce extremely strong fibers which are sustainable and renewable with the ideal growing conditions producing the world's best crops being in the Flanders region of Belgium. The flax plant takes around 100 days from planting to maturity when the flowers bloom each only for one day, drawing crowds to the blue flax fields every year. Unlike cotton, the entire plant is used including the roots, which grow as deep and the plant does tall.
Once the plants are ready they are extracted from the soil, not cut, and left in the fields for up to 6 weeks being turned every so often. This process, called retting, helps separate the fibers from the woody core by being exposed to the natural elements. Once the flax has been sufficiently retted, the flax is harvested and baled before being processed by the scutching machine. The scutching machine removes the seed pods and breaks the woody stems, separating the fibers from the wood particles. Rotating blades then remove the shorter fibers to be used for coarser yarns, leaving the long fibers which are used for the finest yarn. The fibers are then combed by thousands of pins leaving only the longest and purest fibers. The retrieved stalks are used for chip board or animal bedding, and excess fibers are used in the paper industry or are processed into coarser yarns, leaving no wastage.
To ensure the most consistent yarn, fibers from various fields are combined and combed to obtain a yarn of equal colour and quality. The refined flax fibers are then fed across the spinning machine, between pairs of rollers lengthening the fibers into a yarn. Dry spinning produces a yarn with a rustic, hairy appearance while wet spinning produces a smooth yarn. The yarn is then wound onto bobbins which are then loaded onto the warp and weft beams ready for weaving.
Linen is renowned for its superior properties and is again coming to the forefront of bedding for its natural health benefits, improving sleep and general well being as well as its ecological and long lasting qualities.
- Extremely durable - 30% stronger than cotton
- Naturally Hypoallergenic - Perfect for those with sensitive skin or allergies
- High air permeability - Breathable fabric
- Environmentally friendly - No irrigation and minimal chemicals required to grow flax (Our mill is also CO2 neutral)
- No wastage - Every part of the flax plant has value and a use, linen is 100% biodegradable
- Moisture wicking - Draws moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry
- High absorbancy - Holds up 20% of its weight in moisture before feeling damp
- Heat conductivity properties - Warm in winter and cool in summer
- Anti-static - No electric shocks
- Natural PH balance - Soft on skin
- Light massaging effect - Stimulating blood flow
- Improves with age - A long lasting investment
The use of linen fabric has been traced back as far as 8000BC and the discovery of dyed flax fibers in the far eastern European country of Georgia suggest the use of flax up to 36,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians wrapped their deceased in linen as a display of wealth and a symbol of light and purity. The linen wrappings being perfectly preserved even some 3000 years later upon the discovery of the tombs. Because of the laborious processes associated with linen, only finest weaves were worn by the wealthy and high priests. Linen was popular throughout Asia and Europe until the 18th century when the large cotton plantations of North America and the invention of the spinning machine, also known at the cotton gin (short for engine), which meant cotton was a much more affordable option than the laborious and traditional methods of linen. As it is such a treasured possession, it is common for families to pass down their linens through generations as they have the potential to last decades. Although linen is still popular today and is favoured for its superior properties, it is a higher priced textile due to the manual labour involved and is considered a luxury item.