Linen Vs. Flax Linen (All You Need To Know)

One major challenge anyone buying linen will encounter is differentiating Flax linen from linen. People often tend to interweave both names, which is quite confusing.

While the names are specific to the fabric type, determining the appearance and quality is more tricky. Well, the similarities and differences are straightforward.

Therefore, I will give a detailed comparison of linen and Flax linen to help you understand how to identify this fabric material.

Linen is a superior fabric obtained from processing the stems of flax plants. On the other hand, Flax linen is another name given to linen to indicate its origin. However, linen may also refer to the combination of the fabric with other materials like cotton. Such fabric is no longer pure flax linen but can still be called linen.

This article gives a detailed analysis of the linen and Flax linen. I will also cover the pros and cons of the fabric.

Is Flax Linen the Same as Linen?

Linen Vs. Flax Linen

Flax linen and linen are quite similar because of their origin. Most people assume flax linen means a unique type of linen different from the usual one.

However, this assumption is wrong because flax is the foundation of every linen. There is no linen without flax as the raw material for production.

So, which type of linen is flax linen if linen fabrics all have the same origin? 

The answer is straightforward, and I will critically analyze the similarities and differences between Flax linen and linen.

#1. Flax Linen

Flax linen refers to linen obtained from the processing of flax fibers. Flax, or linseed, is a natural plant fiber used to produce linen and other products.

Flax plants have been in existence for thousands of years. Over the years, many generations have invested in growing this plant. 

Flax plants are popular for their seeds and fiber. Fibers are the basic raw material for processing yarn in fabric production.

While the seeds are useful as supplements or food, both the seeds and fiber are useful for several purposes, so processing the plants results in little waste.

The by-products of this plant range from fibers to gels, medicines, paper, soaps, dyes, etc.

The seed is useful for producing linseed oil which is edible and rich in omega fatty acids. The oil is very beneficial to human health.

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The first step in producing linen is to process the stem into bast fibers. Then, further processing it into the final product.

Linen is the end product of processing the stems into the fabric. So, you can refer to them as Flax linen because they are products of flax plants.

#2. Linen

Linen is a natural fabric produced from the fibers of the flax plant. The fibers of the flax stem undergo several processes to give linen.

Linen is flexible, soft, and lustrous. It has a rough and uneven appearance because of the knots in bast fibers used for its production.

At the same time, it has a little radiance because of the long length of flax plant fibers used to produce it. 

Linen is expensive because of its superior appearance and classic status. This amazing fabric originated in ancient Egypt and has spread worldwide over the years.

Linen has been a major part of the fashion world before the arrival of cotton and wool. To date, it maintains a high standard as rich people’s fabric.

Linen is useful for several purposes, such as clothing, bedsheets, and tablecloths. Although this fabric is expensive, some low-quality ones are cheap.

These low-quality linens are alternatives for people who can’t afford high-quality ones. They are also useful for making ropes.

Furthermore, linen can be plain-woven or damasked. Plain-woven is the one without any unique pattern, and it is the most common variety.

On the other hand, Damask is linen woven in a reversible pattern. Their unique pattern makes them perfect for traditional home decor.

In the end, Flax linen is the same as linen. The only difference is the name you prefer to call the fabric.

So, while many people prefer calling this fabric linen, another name for them is Flax linen. Some people only call them Flax linen to indicate their origin.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Linen?

Linen is a superior fabric for making clothing, bags, bedsheets, etc. This fabric is a top choice due to its several advantages.

While cotton and other fabric types are also good quality, some unique features make linen a better choice.

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At the same time, linen isn’t without some drawbacks. Therefore, you must consider its advantages and limitations before choosing it.

That said, the table below contains the pros and cons of linen.

ProsCons
Durable enough to withstand wear and tearLinen is quite pricey compared to other fabrics
It is easy to remove spills and stains from itIt wrinkles easily
The material is comfortableHigh-quality linen is not easily accessible
It acts as an insulator by cooling during summer and adding warmth during winterIt fades when exposed to excess sunlight
It is completely biodegradableIt isn’t easy to work with due to its wrinkly and trickly nature
It is luxurious and stylishBleaching or dying reduces its biodegradable property
Linen is safe because its production involves no heavy chemical
It is moth-resistant

Is Flax Linen Good Quality? What Are the Pros and Cons

Flax linen is good quality because it comes from a natural source. The fabric is hypoallergenic and naturally friendly to every skin type.

Its amazing quality makes it perfect for keeping the wearer cool during summer. At the same time, it adds warmth in winter and other cold conditions.

It is the perfect textile for all year-round purposes. Linen fabric stays fresher, softens, and improves over time.

In addition, the production process doesn’t contain any heavy chemicals. But, the fabric is durable and can withstand many wear and tear for years.

Besides being good quality, Flax linen has other advantages that make it a superior fabric.

Here are some of the pros of Flax linen.

#1. Strength

Flax fibers used for producing this fabric have a lot of strength. The end product, which is Flax linen, also has a similar degree of strength.

It is naturally wear-resistant and can withstand several washing equipment and regimes.

#2. Reflects light

Light-colored linen is a perfect medium for reflecting sun rays from the body. However, dyeing and bleaching them doesn’t reduce their quality.

#3. Protects the Skin

Flax linen has special antibacterial properties that prevent the development of odor-causing bacteria. This bacteria results from sweat on the skin and causes unpleasant odor.

At the same time, the fabric reduces the risk of skin diseases caused by excessive sweating. It also allows breathability to cool the skin in hot weather conditions.

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#4. Comfortable

Flax linen allows unlimited air access to the wearer’s body. It prevents you from feeling hot by creating a layer of cool air around you.

It is perfect for the scorching heat and extreme weather conditions. The fabric is also light-weighted, so it doesn’t feel heavy on the wearer’s body.

#5. Drys Quickly

This fabric quickly removes moisture, especially from sweat, during hot weather. The liquid evaporates from the fibers within a short period.

It prevents the buildup of sweat on the wearer’s skin. It also serves as a barrier against the formation of the greenhouse effect underneath it.

Despite all the advantages of Flax linen, the fabric has some flaws. These flaws are limitations to its quality.

Here are the cons of Flax linen

#6. Easily Wrinkles

As I mentioned earlier, linen crumples and folds at the slightest touch. This flaw makes it look rough on the wearer and appears unpresentable.

However, present-day technology has helped in reducing wrinkles. The new technology involves processes that reduce the folding effect.

#7. Prone to Shrinkage

Without the proper washing procedure, Flax linen tends to shrink. The fabric will reduce in size without appropriate washing and ironing processes.

What Are the Types of Flax Linen?

Flax Linen, also known as linen, is a unique type of fabric. However, there are now different types available according to their cultivation and processing method.

Every type of flax plant gives good quality linen. Nonetheless, certain features distinguish them from each other.

In the end, linen can produce various designs and qualities such as Damask, plain-woven, Cambric, Holland, and sheeting linen.

That said, here are the different types of Flax linen.

#1. French Flax Linen

This linen is a product of flax grown in France. The cool climate of this country enhances the growth of flax plants.

French flax farmers sow the seed between mid-March and mid-April for adequate yield. The fabric is durable and requires less care.

#2. Belgian Flax Linen

Belgian flax linen, or European flax linen, refers to linen obtained from flax grown in Belgium and across Europe. 

These flax plants grow in Europe but are harvested and sent to India or China for further processing. 

The linen obtained from this flax is also of excellent quality and durability, like those obtained from other Flax plants.

Other examples of European flax linen include:

  • Scotch linen– medium-quality linen obtained from flax grown in Scotland.
  • German linen– different quality ranges produced from flax grown in Germany.
  • Irish linen– This linen is top-quality; it is also the best and most valued. The linen comes from processing flax imported into Ireland from other countries.

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