The history of linen textiles spans cultures and millenia. The earliest linen remnants found until now are proved from Stone Age dwellings in Switzerland. Based on some related studies, Swiss Lake residents and ancient Egyptians, at that time, have learned the cultivation of flax plants and fabric weaving with flax fiber. As the cradle of linen fabrics, it is thought to have originated from the Mediterranean region of Europe. Flax production moved west across the northern United States and Canada during the 1800s. As settlers moved west, flax was one of the crops produced. North Dakota farmers have grown flax since sod first was broken.
Linen is made from Flax Fiber
Linen is made from flax fiber, which embraces quite a few processes, from harvesting, drying, ruffing, retting, spinning, to weaving. Any production process is indispensable. Flax fibers vary in length from about 25 to 150 mm (1 to 6 in) and average 12-16 micrometers in diameter. The shorter tow fibers will be used for finer fabrics, while the longer line fibers will be used for fiber fabrics. The cross-section of the linen fiber is made up of irregular polygonal shapes that contribute to the coarse texture of the fabric
Practical use from ancient to present
Flax grows wild in the regions extending from Northern Africa to India and north to the Caucasus Mountains in Western Europe. From ancient to present, flax has been widely used in many fields for various purposes, no matter in ancient times or on present days.
• In the very very early times, linen cloth made from flax was used to wrap the mummies in Egyptian tombs.
• In the United States, the early colonists grew small fields of flax for home use, like livestock feed.
• Large scale flax raising began in 1753, mainly for commercial or cash- earning-based purpose.
• Until now, flax fiber was still used for making cloth, curtain, garment, while flax seeds were fried for seed oil, possible for both food and chemical use.
Innovated development of linen fabrics
Wide applications of its use are countless, and not limited in above mentioned ones. However, its development also got stuck when the cotton gin was invented in 1793, flax production began to decline. During the 1940s, fiber flax production in the U.S. Dropped to nearly zero. Today the linen garment become a retro again, with the advantages of improved weaving technology and innovated manufacturing concept.
Pure linen fabric is easy to crease and distorted, but sold at a rather high price. Aiming for this issue, the designers tried to combine different materials and integrate their respective merits into one. Thus, blended linen fabric came into being.
• Cotton-linen fabric: cotton is featured by soft and smooth, while linen is characterized by permeability and naturally-make. A combination of cotton and linen fuses both advantages. But with much less expensive than pure linen fabrics.
• Polyester-linen fabric: referred to a blended fabric combining dacron and flax, or that whose warp or weft is organized by polyester-linen fabric. This item is quite suitable for making formal suit, fashionable dress, petticoat, spencer, etc, which integrate the features of permeability, soft and stylish.
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