Linen – a Fabric with a Myriad of Benefits
Going out, under the Sun during a hot and humid summer month is one of the worst nightmares one can have. No matter how cruel-some it sounds, but it’s true. After all you cannot take a leave every day, nor can you isolate yourself from the world during the harsh summer months. Wearing a comfortable fabric which soothes you and doesn’t cling to your body (thus not making you fell clammy) is the best solution one can have. Linen is one of the most finest & comfortable fabrics on earth obtained from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum.
Linen is one of the oldest fabrics known to man and perhaps the most ecologically sound fabric of all. The history of linen dates back to approximately 3000 years when it was used by the Egyptians for wrapping dead bodies during the process of mummification. It symbolizes cleanliness and purity and was worn by the Pharaohs and nobility. Dyed fibers of flax dating back to 36,000BC have been discovered in caves of Georgia.
Now, why go for linen which is the most expensive of all natural fibers instead of easily available cotton or other fibers? Linen is stronger than other fibers; it also has a cooling effect on its wearer. It is highly hygroscopic which means that it is capable of rapidly absorbing and yielding moisture. It is almost lint-free, insect-repellant and also gives UV protection. It is a fabric known for its spectacular durability and long shelf life. The tensile strength of cotton and wool, the preferred fibers of summer and winters is half and one-third of that of linen respectively.
In summers it dissipates heat while in winter it retains body heat thus creating a micro niche for the skin. It is an ideal fabric for skin since it has anti-allergenic properties and is helpful in treating a number of allergic disorders. The strength of flax yarns and fabrics increase about 20% on wetting, thus linen gets stronger with every wash. Thus it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it gets better with each wash.
As time passes by linen clothes become softer and actually improve in comfort. Linen permits healthy transpiration by inhibiting the accumulation of static- electricity. It acts like an excellent filter giving protection from chemicals, noise, and dust. It is also effective in dealing with inflammatory conditions, reducing fever and regulating air ventilation, and also in the treatment of some neurological ailments.
Linen fabric is one of the preferred traditional supports for oil painting. Linen is also used extensively by artisan bakers. Therefore, going for linen is undoubtedly the cleverest decision you can make when choosing fabrics.
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