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Linen: modernity meets age-old tradition

Our work with textiles at Fino Lino exposes us to a plethora of fabrics to enhance our lives and create beauty and comfort; one of our favourite amongst these is linen

Historical documents show that linen is the oldest woven textile in existence and evidence of flax plants being grown dates back to the fifth millennium BCE in Egypt. The Egyptians grew flax along the Nile River and spun linen fabric for practical purposes such as burial, preservation and fine cloth bandages.  They referred to linen as the "gift of the Nile".

Flax takes about a hundred days to grow from seed to mature plant with a height of sixty centimeters to a metre. It is harvested when the plants are in bloom and better fibre can be produced from young plants.

Image by Emma Landis from Pixabay

Beautiful linen jacquard fabric made in Italy

Linen fabric is made from cellulose fibres of the flax plant stalk which are from 15-100 cm long. The stalks are tied into bundles and dried in the sun, then coarse combed to remove the seeds, retted in water (a controlled form of rotting) and dried.  Lastly, they are scutched, which separates the fibre from the stalk, and spun into yarn. Linen production is a relatively low tech process which is better for the environment and more sustainable.

Five steps to make Linen Yarn

The use of linen in home decor dates back to the fourteenth century when the chambers of Pope John XXII were draped with linen imported from Italy.  France, Belgium, Austria, Lituania and Ireland are known for high quality fibre and flax is also grown in Canada as well.  Today much of our finest quality linen originates from Europe by members of the 'Masters of Linen", who define the quality, growing practices and production.

Linen decorative pillows and throws from Fino Lino

Linen is as beautiful worn next to the skin as it is in home decor. The name "lingerie" derives from the Latin name for the flax plant and "Belgium" is the ancient Celtic word for flax - "belc'h".  Ancient Greeks and Romans wore tunics made of linen in the summer months to keep them cool and comfortable.  In the middle ages, linen became a clothing staple; as trade routes expanded to bring flax production to Europe, the Near East and the Americas, it became very fashionable and among the most sought after fabrics for clothing, bed, bath, tabletop and home decor.

Linen dress from Fino Lino


Linen scarf from Fino Lino

Linen sheets are coveted by many and will provide comfort and beauty for many years. There are many heirloom linens that have survived for years and are treasured mementoes of the past.

Sateen Linen by St Geneve

Our linen loving clientele also covet linen towels for the bath, powder room and kitchen.  They are prized for their smooth texture, strength and easy stain removal.

Linen towels are naturally anti-microbial and resist mildew and mold making them an excellent choice for humid bathrooms.  They are also light and more absorbent than cotton, making them especially suitable for drying hair.

Linen hair towels from Fino Lino

Tea towel from Tessitura Toscana

Tea towels by Tessitura Toscana

Linen fabrics are woven up to 120" wide and are produced in the most proficient mills of Italy and Austria.  These extraordinary fabrics make it very simple to create beautiful bed covers, duvets and draperies with one cut of fabric.  The finished goods are considered most desirable without seams, giving a dimension of longevity and beauty.  Pattern matching is never difficult and the amount of yardage is much less than with narrow good fabrics. Linen naturally possesses slight irregularities known as slubs which are appreciated by those who are fond of its indigenous qualities.

Our most creative and diverse mill "Leitner" of Austria, has been producing woven linen textiles since 1853. Their speciality is cultivating the flax and weaving linen jacquards made of pure linen and linen/cotton blends.  Their abundant array of designs is available in a range of colourways and offers great ease in choosing coordinates.  The fabric is woven from yarn-dyed fibre making the dye-lots extremely consistent and colour-fast.  Linen fabric is an excellent choice for draperies, soft furnishing, bedding and tabletop. 

Leitner wide-good fabrics

Leitner wide-good fabrics

Leitner wide-good fabrics

Linen may be used with confidence in bright sunlit rooms because of the strength of the base fibre, which is the strongest fibre used by man.  Many of our designers and clients order ready made bed linens and choose a coordinating fabric for draperies and other furnishings.

Fino Lino also has an extraordinary collection of luxurious linen tablecloths and napkins in solids, prints and woven jacquards; favouring small mill production with Pardi and Tessitura Toscana of Italy and Le Jacquard Francais from France.  Customization is easily done for unusually sized, extra long and round tables.

Bright and playful linen table cloths from Italy and France

Personalization of the design and monogramming is easily accommodated.

Fino Lino also represents numerous other companies that specialize in linen fabric and would be delighted to present these extraordinary fabrics during your visit to Fino Lino. 

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