Linen

Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather.

Nepal Handloom Silk Industry first started dealing in Linens in the year 2005. Since then we have been satisfying customers with our brand of Linens, locally and through exports. Linen yarns are imported from China and India, but all manufacturing process is done here, in Nepal itself. Like the process of manufacturing Handloom Silk and Pashmina, we use old and time-honored Foot – Treadle Floor Loom for weaving Linen fabrics also.

The word “linen” is cognate with the Latin for the Flax plant, which is Linum, and the earlier Greek Linon. This word history has given rise to a number of other terms in English, the most notable of which is the English word “Line”, derived from the use of a linen (flax) thread to determine a straight line.

Highly absorbent and a good conductor of heat, linen fabric feels cool to the touch. Linen is among the strongest of the vegetable fibers, with 2 to 3 times the strength of cotton. It is smooth, making the finished fabric lint free, and gets softer the more it is washed. However, constant creasing in the same place in sharp folds will tend to break the linen threads. This wear can show up in collars, hems, and any area that is iron creased during laundering. Linen has poor elasticity and does not spring back readily, explaining why it wrinkles so easily.

Linen fabrics have a high natural luster; their natural color ranges between shades of ivory, ecru, tan, or grey. Pure white linen is created by heavy bleaching. Linen typically has a thick and thin character with a crisp and textured feel to it, but it can range from stiff and rough, to soft and smooth. When properly prepared, linen fabric has the ability to absorb and lose water rapidly. It can gain up to 20% moisture without feeling damp.

When freed from impurities, linen is highly absorbent and will quickly remove perspiration from the skin. Linen is a stiff fabric and is less likely to cling to the skin; when it billows away, it tends to dry out and become cool so that the skin is being continually touched by a cool surface. It is a very durable, strong fabric, and one of the few that are stronger wet than dry. The fibers do not stretch and are resistant to damage from abrasion. However, because linen fibers have a very low elasticity, the fabric will eventually break if it is folded and ironed at the same place repeatedly. Linen is resistant to moths and carpet beetles. Linen is relatively easy to take care of, since it resists dirt and stains, has no lint or pilling tendency, and can be dry cleaned, machine washed or steamed. It can withstand high temperatures, and has only moderate initial shrinkage.

Textiles in a linen-weave texture, even when made of cotton, hemp and other non-flax fibers are also loosely referred to as “linen”. Such fabrics generally have their own specific names other than linen; for example, fine cotton yarn in a linen-style weave is called Madapolam.

The collective term “Linens” is still often used generically to describe a class of woven and even knitted bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles. The name linen is retained because traditionally, linen was used for many of these items. In the past, the word “linens” was also used to mean lightweight undergarments such as shirts, chemises, waist shirts, lingerie (a word also cognate with linen), and detachable shirt collars and cuffs, which were historically made almost exclusively out of linen. The inside cloth layer of fine composite clothing fabrics (as for example jackets) was traditionally made of linen, and this is the origin of the word lining.

Linen was sometimes used as currency in ancient Egypt. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen because it was seen as a symbol of light and purity, and as a display of wealth. Some of these fabrics, woven from hand spun yarns, were very fine for their day, but are coarse compared to modern linen.

Today linen is usually an expensive textile, and is produced in relatively small quantities. It has a long “staple” (individual fiber length) relative to cotton and other natural fibers. Many products are made of linen: apron, bags, towels (swimmers, bath, beach, body and wash towel), napkins, bed linen, linen tablecloth, runners, chair cover, men’s and women’s wear.

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