The exquisite and positive qualities of linen begin on the field: traditional flax cultivation protects the soil and respects ecosystems. Tough fiber form the basis of a material that is solid, reliable, robust, tear-resistant and holds its shape, providing the pleasure of long-term use.
It is and always has been a long haul from the delicate blue flower to finished linen cloth. No other textile raw material requires such long-winded and complicated preparation as flax - the linen plant. It is sown from the middle of March; when in bloom it has delicate sky-blue flowers and is fully mature after 100 days. Flax is cultivated in moderate climate and saves water and resources.
The flax plants are dragged out of the ground, roots and all, and left to dry. While drying, the process of dew retting begins. Flax straw is laid down in the fields which allows bacteria and fungi to break down the plant and reveal the fiber hiding inside. Dew retting is an environmentally friendly procedure as nutrients are taken back into the soil during the process.
After retting, the flax is rippled, meaning the stem is separated from the seeds. Afterwards the flax straw has to be dried once again so that through further treatments such as ginning, breaking, scutching and heckling, the woody parts of the stem may be broken more easily and the last impurities can be removed. Only when this whole process is complete can the flax fiber be processed in the spinning mill to make yarn.
For thousands of years, the weaving process has remained the same. Only the equipment used to manufacture the fabric has undergone constant development. A specialty of this craft is so called Jacquard weaving - a method of manufacturing elaborate, richly ornamented and especially detailed patterns. In combination with the specific attributes of flax, lots of knowledge and effort are required when it comes to weaving these fabrics - in reward, the characteristics of Jacquard fabric made of linen simply are unique.
The woven fabric gets its final polishing through finishing or dressing. Different processes such as scorching, de-sizing, washing out and drying are used to give the fabric its final optical appearance and particular characteristics. Proper dressing and finishing processes enhance the quality and look of the material.
After finishing, the fabric is finally ready to be sewn and manufactured into fine bed- and tablelinen, homewear, curtains, towels and accessories. Fine Jacquard-fabric, especially when made of linen, calls for patience and awareness with every step of making - from cutting each piece true to the grain to embellishing it with hemstich or embroidery.