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Designer fashion fabrics, silk fabric, wool fabric, cotton fabric, linen fabric, designer fabric, stretch fabricDesigner fashion fabrics, silk fabric, wool fabric, cotton fabric, linen fabric, designer fabric, stretch fabricDiscount fabric by the yard and wholesale fabricsView Shopping CartDiscount trimming by the yard and wholesale fabric trim, sewing buttons, decorative trims, lace trim, jacquard ribbons and notionsDesigner fashion fabrics, silk fabric, wool fabric, cotton fabric, linen fabric, designer fabric, stretch fabric
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LINEN is the fabric made from flax fibers, and today, it finds use in a wide range of areas, from household fabric (napkins, tablecloths, sheets, towels, drapes etc) to fashionable garments. In the past, linen was also used to make lightweight undergarments like shirts, chemises, waist shirts, and lingerie. Because flax is so difficult to grow, it is an expensive fiber produced in small quantities. It has a longer staple than cotton and other natural fibers, which makes it stronger and more durable.

What are flax fibers about?
Flax fibers vary in length from between 2" and 36" and are 12-16 micrometers in diameter. There are two varieties of fibers: the tow fibers that are used for rougher fabrics and the line fibers used for finer fabrics. In all cases, however, the cross-section of the fiber is made up of irregular polygonal shapes, which make up the more or less coarse texture of the fabric.

Basic qualities of linen
In general, linen fabrics have a natural luster, and their color ranges between creamy white, tan, or gray. Though you can obtain pure white linen by heavy bleaching, there is a chance that the fabric may be partially damaged. When it comes to texture, linen can be stiff and coarse as well as soft and smooth. Typically, linen both absorbs and loses moisture rapidly, and an added benefit is that it can absorb quite a bit of moisture initially without feeling damp.

This is a major reason why linen is doesn't cling to the skin as cotton does when you sweat. Even it does become sweat-soaked, it will dry out quickly, so that you always feel cool wearing it. In the majority of cases, linen is a strong fabric that does not stretch, which means it has low elasticity, which in turn means that it can break if you keep folding it in the same place. Mildew, sweat residues, and chlorine bleach can also damage linen, but it is resistant to moths and carpet beetles.

Linens from TrimFabric
At TrimFabric, we offer a wide range of linen articles for you to look through and select, from lightweight and medium weight articles to heavyweight blends. We also offer both printed and various white linens, as well as blends. For instance, we have on offer a plaid print linen fabric (item code #K-20) that is 45" wide and is 100% hand wash linen. Another great buy is the Poland linen fabric (item code #K-62), which is 60" wide, hand wash, and a blend of 80% linen and 20% rayon. Or you may wish to have a look at our white linen embroidered fabric (item code #UU-98), which is once again 100% linen, and hand wash.

Linen is relatively low maintenance since it is fairly dust and stain-resistant, and can be dry cleaned, machine washed or steamed. However, see our article on Linen Care for details.

Linen producers
Many countries in the world produce flax, but the best quality flax comes from Western Europe. Similarly, in recent years, Eastern Europe and China have begun producing linen, but the best quality linen still comes from Ireland, Italy and Belgium.

Uses of linen
Today, linen is predominantly used in the fashion industry, while a smaller percentage goes to the domestic fabrics industry as well. Linen is used to make bed and bath fabrics like tablecloths, towels, bed sheets, etc., home and commercial furnishings like upholstery, drapes, etc., clothing, and industrial products like items of luggage.

We just had to end with very interesting usage of linen: did you know that paper made of linen is exceptionally strong and crisp? That is the reason why the USA and many other countries print their currency on paper made from 25% linen and 75% cotton. Now remember that the next time you slip on that linen jacket!

The history of linen goes so far back in time that one would have trouble pinpointing exactly when and where it was first used. It is certainly the oldest textile material in the world. Fragments of straw, seeds, fibers, and yarns dating back to about as far back as 8000 B.C. have been discovered in ancient lake dwellings in Switzerland.

Linen was also used in the Mediterranean region in the pre-Christian era, and between 5,000 and 3,000 years ago, Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen because it was held to be a symbol of light and purity. In the modern era, Egyptologists have discovered that some of the Egyptian linen wrappings, woven from hand spun yarns, were extremely fine. Indeed, even modern spinning machines cannot replicate that degree of fineness.

What makes linen special?
Thus we find that linen, which is made from flax, has been used as a household and clothing fabric for many millennia. The specialty of linen lies in the fact that its production is an extremely difficult and protracted process because flax requires a great deal of care for its growth. Moreover, flax does not lend itself to weaving easily because of a lack of elasticity, which obviously makes it more expensive to grow commercially than cotton.

Given all the trouble required to produce linen, therefore, it had better be pretty darned special to be worth it - and it is! To begin with, linen is stronger and tougher than cotton, owing to the parallel arrangement of its fibers. Second, linen is a highly absorbent material (which makes it perfect for tableware like dish towels and napkins). Basically, linen provides a combination of strength and softness that is hard to match.

TrimFabric Linens
The special nature of linen is what we focus on at TrimFabric, where we obtain domestic materials from New York City's renowned "Garment District" as well as import items from Europe. We have been catering to quality and price conscious customers for decades and we can vouch for the superiority of our linen, which is a product of centuries of tradition and is born out of a commitment to excellence.

Linen and language
After that brief digression, we return to the history of linen. Did you know that the word linen is derived from linum (retain italics), which is Latin for the flax plant, and the earlier Greek linon? This etymology, or word history, of linen has generated a number of other English terms*:

   • The word line is derived from the use of a linen thread to determine a straight line
   • Lining comes from the fact that linen was often used to create an inner lining for wool and leather garments
   • Lingerie originally meant underwear made of linen
   • Linnet is a European bird belonging to the finch species that eats flax seed
   • Linseed oil is oil derived from flax seed
   • Linoleum is a floor covering made from linseed oil and other materials
   • The term flaxen-haired, used to describe a very light, bright blonde, comes from a comparison to the color of raw flax fiber
*Source: Wikipedia

Standing alone
Even before man began wearing wool, which was pretty long ago, therefore, he had discovered linen. The ancient Egyptians were pioneers in the field of nine weaving and use, but the rest of the world soon caught on as the popularity of linen grew among Greeks and Romans. In the Medieval era, Europeans and West Asians had also become linen fans, and plenty of people wore linen tunics beneath woolen robes, which is when linen almost became synonymous with underwear, hence the word lingerie.

So yes, linen has been around an awfully long time, but given all its attributes, that's hardly a surprise!



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