How linen is made - material, manufacture, making, history
A difficult-to-perfect fabric, fine linen is the product of centuries of learning, adaptation, innovation and invention. The journey of linen is a journey back in time.
The temperate plains of France and Belgium are ideal for the growing of flax with flawless characteristics.
Since the 17th century, Europe has exported the finest flax across the world, and not much has changed about that over the centuries.
Even today, the fibres acquired from European flax are far more resilient and glossy than the fibres acquired anywhere else in the world. Flax is sourced directly from France and Belgium for these characteristics.
This "raw" flax is collected into bunches by hand. By feel, this flax is fed into a gargantuan mechanical contraption for "hackling," a machine that hasn't changed in a hundred years. The flax is stripped, stretched, cleaned and eventually twined into a coarse rope.
This rope is further stretched and wound into increasingly finer strands of linen fibres in aisle after aisle of "roving" machines, ceaselessly spinning under the watchful supervision of career craftsmen.
Savio Splicing Auto Winder machines from Italy take the "roved" fibres and spin it into fine yarn mounted on a spool.
The spools are bleached and subsequently dyed in a smorgasbord of colours.
Before each spool moves on, it is passed through quality assurance computers that check every inch of fibre for defects in evenness, strength and elongation. No other maker of fabric ensures such perfection even at this early stage.
Expert weavers then employ Picanol Optimax Rapier looms from Belgium and Sulzer Rapier looms from Switzerland to turn endless specification sheets into the finest linen.
This requires as much technical know-how as creativity, and under the expert hands of these craftsmen, the unique texture and feel of the fabric takes shape. This process is endlessly customizable and can be adapted to make any kind of pattern, color combination, grain and consistency.
Every yard of the fabric is washed, boiled, starched, ironed, and processed in a variety of ways, from microbial resistance to wrinkle-free.
fabric Quality control
The fabric is scrutinized under the magnifying glass of the quality assurance experts. Even a single defect at this stage results in the entire batch being discarded.
For those living the linen life, there is no compromise on perfection. The finished linen is hermetically sealed and distributed to showrooms and retailers all over India, so it's still new when you first put your hands to it.