History of Linen Fiber and Saris
- What is Linen Fiber?
Linen is a type of natural textile made from the stalk of “FLAX” plant. Making of linen fabric is known to be arduous. But, the finished clothing made of this fiber is famous for admitting air to skin and allowing sweat to evaporate. Linen fabric feels cool to touch, a phenomenon which indicates its higher conductivity (the same principle that makes metals feel “cold”). It is smooth, making the finished fabric lint-free, and gets softer the more it is washed.
Many products are made of Linen like men and female clothes, towels, table cloths, aprons, napkins and cushion cover. Due to this fabric’s inner strength Linen is preferred by many designers for portraying their artistic skills through hand or machine embroidery.
- History of Linen
From the times of the Pharaohs approximately Linen Clothes were used by the ancient elite class as a symbol of wealth. In ancient Mesopotamia flax was domesticated and used in production of Linen fiber. White linen was worn by as clothing on a daily basis, because of extreme heat.
Due, to its pristine quality Linen was used in trade between the Egyptians and Mediterranean. Through this trade Linen fabric made its way to the shore of Irelands, no sooner the fabric reaches the British Empire it became the first choice for the Elite British class.
Linen fabric was first introduced in India at the time of British Rule. Largely worn by wealthier British people, to cater to the huge demand of this fabric soon this fabric was being produced in India to meet the demand.
- How Linen Fiber is produced?
Basically Linen is a Bast Fiber. Bast is the tissue of a plant that conduct food substances (e.g., from leaves) to parts where needed; consists primarily of screen tubes. It is collected from the interior section of the bark of a plant (Phloem); which is why it has more tensile strength than the other fibers.
The quality of the finished linen product is often dependent upon growing conditions and harvesting techniques. To generate the longest possible fibers, flax is either hand-harvested by pulling up the entire plant or stalks are cut very close to the root. After harvesting the plants are left to dry up. The seeds are then removed from the fibers through the mechanical process of threshing.
The fibers must then be loosened from the stalk. This is achieved through retting. This is a process which uses bacteria to decompose the pectin that binds the fibers together. Natural retting methods take place in tanks and pools, or directly in the fields.
After retting the stalks are ready for scutching. Scutching removes the woody portion of the stalks by crushing them between two metal rollers, so that the parts of the stalk can be separated. The fibers are removed and the other parts such as linseed, shive, and tow are separated for other uses. Finally the fibers are separated from each other with a fine comb to leave behind only the long soft flax fibers.
After the fibers have been separated and processed, they are typically spun into yarns and hand woven or knit into linen textiles. These textiles can then be bleached, dyed, printed on, embroider on to create fine masterpiece.
An alternate production method is known as “cottonizing” which is quicker and requires less equipment. The flax stalks are processed using traditional cotton machinery; however, the finished fibers often lose the characteristic linen look. Therefore fabric made from this fiber loses the pristine quality of Linen fibre.
Hence, at Rangosri we make sure the Linen fabric we use are made in a traditional way.
- Use of Linen in Modern Day
Linen is widely used by many designers to create a assortment of fine products like Kurtis, Shirts, Pants and also for making one of the traditional Indian ethnic wear Linen Sarees, Suits, Salwar Kamiz. In a humid and hot country like India Linen garments are extremely popular due to their cool and refreshing quality.
Linen uses range across bed and bath fabrics (tablecloths, bath towels, dish towels, bed sheets); home and commercial furnishing items (wallpaper/wall coverings, upholstery, window treatments); apparel items (suits, dresses, skirts, shirts); and industrial products (luggage, canvases, sewing thread). As Linen is very resistant to Alkalis it is used to make fine oil canvas.
Over the past decades the use of linen in garments has changed dramatically. Approximately 70% of linen production in the 1990s was for apparel textiles, whereas in the 1970s only about 5% was used for fashion fabrics.
In India the finest quality Line Fabrics are produced in Kochi. Linen made from Kochi is preferred by many international brands for their garments.
- Linen – the Cool Attire
The fact that Linen garments are worn from the ancient times to the modern era proves that this fiber has a lot of advantages and can be used for many occasions.
Linen is durable and easy care and best material to produce fine formal or informal garments. As Linen has a very natural look and feel to it, minimalistic ornaments worn with sarees it gives a look of elegance.
- Linen Trivia
- Linen fiber is not affected by the sun light as others fiber. It has enough ability to protect sun light.
- Linen has an excellent resistance to degradation by heat. It is less affected than cotton fiber by the heat.
- Cool chlorine and hypo-chlorine bleaching agent does not affect the linen fiber properties.
- Linen fiber has high resistance to normal cleaning solvents.
- The discovery of dyed flax fibers in a cave in Georgiadated to thirty-six thousand years ago suggests that ancient people used wild flax fibers to create linen-like fabrics from an early date.
- In ancient Egypt Linen garments were used as gifts for special occasions
- Due to the fabrics higher tensile strength it is also used as the bowstring