30 Nov 6 Reasons to Love 100% Natural Linen
When I started silkscreening I experimented with a variety of fabric colors and types – mostly different weaves of cotton. When I started making the Wizard of Oz pillows, natural linen was an aesthetic choice – I just loved the look and feel. Since then I have fallen in love with this fabric, for so many reasons, and now I use it exclusively. Why? Because…
1. Linen has a low environmental impact
Linen comes from the flax plant which grows naturally in cool damp climates without irrigation, very little use of chemicals or pesticides, and requires little energy in the processing. Every part of the flax plant is used, leaving no waste footprint. Natural linen isn’t dyed or bleached and it’s recyclable and biodegradable.
2. It’s absorbent, yet dries quickly
Linen is a beautifully breathable fabric. It absorbs moisture without feeling unpleasantly damp on your skin, and it dries quickly.
3. It’s naturally antibacterial
Linen is naturally resistant to fungus and bacteria which not only makes it a healthy choice, it means linen doesn’t easily retain odors, which makes it perfect for use in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom – everywhere!
4. It’s naturally stain resistant
Linen easily sheds dust, dirt and grime, which is another reason why it’s great to use in your home, and is a great upholstery fabric.
5. It’s incredibly durable
Which means it will last a very long time. Flax fibers are taken from the stem of the plant, and are two to three times as strong as those of cotton. It was once used for sailing materials because it has the rare quality of being stronger when it’s wet.
6. It looks great!
Linen has a great texture, and a beautiful natural color and luster. Because linen is naturally stain resistant and durable, it keeps looking great. In fact, linen only gets better with time.
So why is linen so expensive?
The high cost of linen fabric comes from the expense of producing it. Getting the fibers from the flax and turning it into linen is a lengthly multi-step process.
Some other interesting facts about linen:
- Linen is one of the oldest known fabrics in history. There are records of an established linen industry in Egypt 4,000 years ago, and when the tomb of the Pharaoh Ramses II (who died in 1213 BC) was discovered in 1881, the linen wrappings were in a state of perfect preservation after more than 3000 years.
- The Romans called it textus ventilus or “woven wind.”
- U.S. currency is printed on paper that is 25% linen and 75% cotton.
- Technically, linen is a vegetable.
But what about cotton?
Ugh. The more I read about cotton, the more bummed out I get. Here are some huge bummers about conventionally grown cotton, and why you should try to buy organic cotton (or linen!) instead:
- Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other crop, and on top of that it uses the most hazardous ones.
- It uses large amounts of synthetic fertilizers. According to Business Ethics magazine “Researchers have found that the fertilizers used on cotton are the most detrimental to the environment, running off into freshwater habitats and groundwater and causing oxygen-free dead zones in water bodies. “
- More than a third of the world cotton production now uses genetically engineered seeds.
- It takes more than 700 gallons of water to produce enough cotton for just one t-shirt.
I hope that didn’t bum you out too much.