FABRIC TALK: LINEN
Linen is made from the flax plant and can grow without hardly any attention of chemicals and fertilizers, as long as water is available.
Plants are pulled out of the ground by hand or machine. The stalks are tied in bundles – these are called beets. Then all seeds and leaves are removed from the plant, which is called rippling. Stalks then go through a process called retting that softens and loosens the outer part of the bark. After that, scutching takes place, separating textile fibers from the woody bark and these linen fibres are then made into yarns.
+ / –
Linen can easily grow without use of chemicals and fertilizers and it is said that bast fibers like linen grow well on land unsuitable for food production and may help to re-cultivate polluted soils. A negative impact on the environment is the process of scutching, where the stalk rots in water so that the fibers will be separated from the woody core. This water can be highly polluted, but the intensity depends upon the production method. There are mechanical treatments for processing flax and other bast fibers which reduces the environmental impact.