The Value behind Linen
We already talked about the great qualities of linen fabric, but still questions arise as to why linen is more expensive than other fibers? Let us take a look at that.
The cost of producing linen comes down to 3 main factors:
- Where and how the flax plant grows;
- How is flax plant harvested;
- How difficult it is to turn the flax plant into the fabric;
The first reason for the price of linen is geography. Flax plant thrives best in cooler climates with moderate temperatures, enough daylight, and water supply, which brings it to France, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, the Baltics. Due to the higher costs of living and business in these regions, the cost of growing flax is simply higher compared to other cultures grown in warmer regions.
Secondly, growing flax plant is not easy at all, the process is time-consuming and laborious. From seed to harvest, the time for flax to be ready is about 90 days. The plant must be uprooted and not simply cut in order to maximize the length of the fiber that can be harvested. There are about 100 types of linen family plants in nature, yet the fabric is made only of long-stalked flax.
Finally, the technology of making fabrics from long fibers has not changed much over the course of decades passed. The only difference is that the processes have become mechanized and automated, however, it’s still time-consuming.
Take a look at all the stages:
- Plants are picked and then processed into straw using machines;
- Straws are spread onto the field for 2 to 3 weeks to have them soaked in dew to make it easier to separate the fiber parts (stalks);
- Dew-soaked straw is gathered, dried, broken, and pulled. During these processes stalks and inner firm parts are separated;
- Stalks are formed into a band, after that, a thin twisted thread is made (which is called rove);
- Pure linen fabric is then weaved from this rove. Weaving flax into linen fabric is art too. Flax fibers are delicate and can break easily. As a result, weaving linen at an industrial scale requires machinery that runs slower and results in lower volumes being produced in the same amount of time compared to other fabrics, like, for example, cotton.
- Finished canvases are bleached and dyed in different colors or left as they are;
- It's important to note, that long-stalked flax is famous for being a zero-waste material: textiles of high quality are the result, yet the remaining fiber goes to making coarse linen fabric (potato sacks are often made of it) and the rest is used in construction and furniture manufacture.
Even though the fabric has amazing qualities and we would love the world to fall in love with it, it has its price, which is worth paying, knowing all the great qualities of linen fabric and durability. Welcome to choose your next favorite dress!