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Linen Sarees are the Buzz Word. So, What is Linen?
Linen is a natural fiber, made from the stalk of a flax plant. Linen was the first fiber used to weave fabric and dates back over 8,000 years. It was first used by Mediterranean civilizations and was then quickly adopted by Europe where it reached high popularity during the medieval times. Europeans have long favored linen for their sheeting because of its amazing properties. It softens the more it is used and washed, is extremely durable and lasts decades when cared for correctly. The finest linen comes from Europe, and specifically from Belgium, where an optimal climate and rich soil allows for strong, beautiful flax. With Belgian linen, you’ll experience sarees with higher quality fibers.
In recent times, linens are used for sarees and clothing. Ethnic Collage curates handwoven linen sarees from all over India.
History of Linen
In Central Asia, people were spinning linen thread and rope by about 30,000 BC, long before wool. It took longer to invent weaving, but by 5000 BC, at the latest, people were weaving linen into fabric. In the first millennium BC, people in North Africa, Egypt, and Sudan, and West Asia mostly wore linen, while Greeks and West Asians and Germans mostly wore wool. By the Roman period, however, many Europeans wore linen tunics for comfort with wool robes over them for warmth, and in the Middle Ages in Europe this continued to be common.
How is Linen Made?
The flax plants are pulled from the ground rather than being cut to retain the full length of the fiber. The harvested plants are soaked in water until the woody section decomposes and it becomes easier to separate the soft fibers. This process is called retting the flax. Extracting the linen fibers from the flax plant is a time-consuming process. The fibers are spun on a spindle into linen threads. Linen can be spun into thick strong threads or very fine threads depending on the skill of the spinner and the usage requirement.
How is Linen different from Cotton?
Handwoven linen fabrics are heavier than their cotton counterparts, and they are approximately 30 percent stronger. They often feel crisper initially, though through time and use, linen fabrics become soft and supple to the touch. Linen boasts longevity, luster, and lovely drape. As linen fibers are thicker than cotton fibers, a lower thread count is necessary to guarantee high quality, enduring linen fabric.
Linen is well known for its absorbency; it can absorb up to 20 percent of its weight in moisture. Handwoven linen sarees should be washed in cold water on a gentle cycle dried on low heat.