How does linen fabric feel?
If you've never felt linen before - either as clothing or home textiles - you're in for a treat! We think it's one of the most comfortable, appealing and endlessly useful fabrics around. Read on to discover how it feels to wear, sleep under or use linen.
How is linen made?
To understand how linen feels it's useful to know where it comes from. Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant. This plant grows especially well in the damp climate of Northern Europe, making European linen superior to textiles from elsewhere. The flax plant produces strong fibers that can be woven into fine yet sturdy threads ready for spinning into linen fabric.
This versatile textile has been used for thousands of years as people all around the globe the love hard-wearing yet skin-friendly characteristics flax linen fabric.
Differences between linen and cotton
In the battle of linen vs cotton we think linen comes out on top. Although they are both natural fabric, the advantages of linen mean it's a better choice, whether that's for home textiles or clothes. Linen, as we've discovered, comes from the flax plant, whereas cotton is grown in cotton fields. Cotton can be grown in a wider range of climates and soils, resulting in larger supplies and lower costs.
But cotton uses more resources to grow and produce than linen, making linen a more sustainable option. Linen fibers are also stronger than cotton , and thread count is not as important due to linen's natural durable strength.
There is also a difference in texture between linen and cotton: linen is thicker and has more inherent 'slubs'. The best quality linen textiles will feel heavy and substantial, but never bulky.
Both linen and cotton can usually be machine washed, but it's worth remembering that linen wrinkles more easily than cotton. You can remedy this by ironing or starching, although we prefer to celebrate its charming creases.
Characteristics of linen fabric
Breathability = a cool feeling
Linen allows heat to escape away from your body, so if you're wearing linen clothing or sleeping in linen sheets you feel more comfortable. Because of these temperature regulating properties linen feels cool to touch.
But it will also keep you warm and cozy in winter, avoiding the uncomfortable overheating you can get from synthetic materials.
Soft to touch
Linen feels crisp yet soft - a captivating combination that makes for perfect sheets and clothes that are a joy to touch or wear against your skin. In fact, linen gets softer with every wash, so it will feel even better as time goes on.
Strong yet supple
When you hold a piece of linen fabric or clothing in your hands you'll immediately notice the weight. This is due to the strong, sturdy flax fibers. The thicker the feel, the better quality the linen. Yet there's a beautiful suppleness to linen fabric, meaning it moves and flows easily and makes flattering clothes.
Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial
If you suffer from skin sensitivities you may find linen the most comfortable of all fabrics. It has inherent antimicrobial properties, keeping infections and inflammation at bay, as well as being hypoallergenic so it doesn't exacerbate eczema or similar skin problems.
Uses of linen textiles
Once you've felt the difference with linen you'll want to use it all around your home. You can buy linen fabric online or in store - just make sure you're buying good quality, pure linen.
Here are some of the best ways to use linen and make the most of this amazing fabric:
- Bedding: Soft, luxurious linen sheets don't just feel wonderful against the skin, they can even help you sleep better. As linen regulates your body temperature and wicks away moisture, you're less likely to wake up overheating or feeling sweaty.
- Clothes: Linen is a timelessly elegant, effortlessly stylish material for clothing. Every summer wardrobe needs a flowy linen dress or cool shirt, and in winter a linen scarf will keep you cozy without being bulky or stuffy.
- Table linen: Thanks to its natural softness, linen is the ideal fabric for table napkins, making every meal feel special. It's also fabulous for tablecloths and runners too, creating a beautiful table setting that can still be thrown in the wash at the end of dinner.
- Towels: Whether in the bathroom or on the beach, a linen towel keeps your skin dry and comfortable. Linen is super absorbent and will release water quickly, meaning your towel will be dry and ready for the next use.
But don't take our word for it! See for yourself how lovely linen feels by purchasing some linen fabric by the yard and crafting some home textiles of your own, or adding some ready made textiles to your home.