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What is Linen Fabric?

Linen Fabric Online Australia

This article covers:
  • A general description of linen fabric.
  • The composition of the material specific to linen fabric available in Australia.
  • How linen fabric looks, feels, and behaves.
  • Recommendations of garments that best utilise the material’s characteristics.
  • How to care for linen fabric.

What is a linen fabric?

‘Linen’ is the common word used for sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding, but a linen fabric is a natural fibre produced from the flax plant. One of the oldest known spun fibres in the world, in the ancient Near East, linen was reserved for royalty and the elite.

The current popularity of linen fabric in Australia is fuelled by eco-credentials and suitability for the hot Australian climate.

 

Composition of linen fabrics:

To produce linen fabric, the stalks of the flax plant are either cut or hand-pulled, then the seeds, leaves etc. are removed, before the gum inside the stalks is dissolved, and the linen fibres delicately extracted.

This fibre is then spun into thread than can be died and then either woven of knitted into a bolt of fabric. High quality linens still require large amounts of manual labour to protect the fibres during harvest and the extraction process. It is this labour cost that contributes to the significant price of linen fabric.

At MaaiDesign we stock three different styles of high-quality woven linen fabric. GOTS certified.

Plain-weave linen fabric:

  • 200gm (heavy) and 100% linen. GOTS certified. A plain weave with a slight sheen.
  • 170gm (medium) and 100% linen. GOTS certified. A plain weave with a slight sheen.

Washed:

  • 185gm (medium) and 100% linen. GOTS certified. This linen fabric has undergone further post-production refinement to pre-shrink and soften the flax fibres.

Crinkled:

  • 155gm (light) and 100% linen. GOTS certified. This linen fabric plays on the uneven shrinkage of flax fibres to create a permanent wave in the fabric.

MaaiDesign is also one of the few stockists of jersey knit linen fabric in Australia. Our high-quality linen knit is:

  • 185gm (light) and 100% linen. There is subtle slub to the flax fibres that adds interest to the fabric. The material also has crossgrain stretch of 20%, and lengthwise stretch of 5%. This stretch is naturally occurring because the flax fibre is knitted, rather than by incorporating a synthetic fibre, such as spandex.

 

How linen fabric looks, feels, and behaves

We have produced a set of videos so that you can see how our linen fabric feels and behaves in natural lighting (from the comfort of your own chair).

 

 

 

Initially linen fabric feels crisp to the touch, but with continual washing and wear the fibres will soften beautifully. It is said that a linen fabric is often ‘worn in’ after 3-5 years of continual use. In contrast, cotton woven fabrics are initially softer to the touch but are not as durable as linen fabric.

Linen is also perfect for the hot Australian climate as it absorbs moisture (like sweat) and dries quickly – leaving you cool and dry. Additionally, linen is low allergenic and prevents body odour bacteria from forming!

Which garments are best suited to linen?

Australian high-end brands have embraced linen fabric for their collections – creating everything from blazers and dresses to light robes and pjs. The versatility of the fabric speaks for itself allowing for garments such as:

  • Jumpsuits
  • Shirts
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Blazers
  • Crop tops
  • Robes
  • Head coverings (including headbands, turbans, and scarves)
  • Shorts
  • Pyjamas, lingerie etc. 

How to care for linen fabric

Initial care instructions

Pre-washing your fabric is the first step to caring for your material. Unless you are using our washed linen, pre-washing ensures that any shrinkage (approximately 5%-10%) will occur prior to cutting out and assembling your garment. 

Ongoing care for your material

We recommend that your linen garments be hand washed, using warm water (approx. 30°C). Dry your finished garment by laying it flat to avoid distortion, and away from direct sunlight to prevent colour fading. Additionally, turning your garments inside out will protect the colours from fading.

Click here to find 6 tips for working with your linen fabric to ensure the best sewing experience.

 shop linen fabric online

 

MaaiDesign aims to be one of the top suppliers of quality linen fabric online in Australia and to be the fabric store of choice for home sewists. 

We pride ourselves on supporting indie sewing pattern businesses and stocking only high quality materials so that your projects look great, feel great and last a lifetime.

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