8 Reasons You Need Linen in Your Life
Linen goes a long way back. Like, whatever time you’re thinking of now — double it. Triple it even. Crafted from the fibres of the flax plant, linen has a host of benefits that makes it great for wearing, sleeping in, resting on — think of an element of your life, and linen can definitely help make it better.
And although we don’t hold a candle to the length of time linen has been around, our Abbotson Linen Collection has been a part of Sheridan for over a decade now. That’s how beloved it is by our Design Team and you, alike. And there’s good reason for that — eight, in fact, which we’ll get to right now.
Linen Benefit 1: It’s Strong & Durable
It grows inside the stalks of the flax plant, one of the oldest cultivated plants in human history. And according to Britannica, it’s “one of the oldest textile fibres used by humans” — found in prehistoric lake dwellings in Switzerland and ancient Egyptian tombs.
In the Middle Ages, linen was used for shields and gambeson (a padded defensive jacket, that you’ve probably seen in an episode of Game of Thrones); in ancient Greece, it was used for linothorax (a type of body armour that literally means ‘linen chest’).
One of the reasons linen is so strong is because it’s a bast fibre — collected from the inner bark of the plant. And as our Quality Team says, “Fabrics made from these fibres are typically quite strong, and durable fibres.”
Linen Benefit 2: It Softens When Washed (Correctly)
Like Steve Carrell and fine wine, linen gets better with age. As you know, linen is a bast fibre — so when it's first manufactured, it starts with a slightly crisper handfeel. And in the case of linen, the best way to achieve softness is to massage it out (with a side of water) — but not like you think. Flax is actually beaten (hand threshed) during the manufacturing process, so it’s no wonder it continues after the fact.
When you wash linen, the water temperature and the spin speed will impact how relaxed it feels. Our Care Guide recommends machine washing linen separately in lukewarm water, on a gentle cycle — with a soft washing detergent (our Quality Team recommends a wool mix). Make sure to follow the care instructions on each individual product.
And put that fabric softener you were reaching for down — water is all you need for this softness; softeners will actually coat the fabric, as opposed to helping soften it in any way, shape or form. Don’t even think about touching optical brighteners — it’ll impact the colour, and can actually make the area quite stiff.
Linen Benefit 3: The Flax is Belgian
There’s a strip of land in Europe, spanning three countries (Belgium, France and The Netherlands), that’s been dubbed “the flax belt”. One thing to know about Belgium is that it’s renowned for its high-quality staple-length fibre. Or as it's been said, it has a “rich long-standing tradition in high-quality linen production.”
Linen — or more so flax — is an annual plant, living for one growing season. It requires little watering or attention from seed-planting to harvesting — generally a hundred-day process. And where has a climate that suits this growth? Yep, you guessed it.
And Belgian flax linen, like the kind we use, means the flax is European-grown — and manufactured elsewhere.
Linen Benefit 4: It Can be Used Year-Round
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again here — linen is one of those great fibres that boasts thermoregulating properties. As the name suggests it helps regulate…well, not thermo, but temperature.
Translation? One of the benefits of linen bedding is that year-round, it can keep you comfortable by regulating your body temperature. In winter, that means helping keep you warm; in summer, linen is “valued for [its] exceptional coolness and freshness.”
Linen Benefit 5: It’s Lightweight & Breathable
Have you ever watched that episode of The Simpsons, where Homer meets Ned out on the ski slopes, and Ned shows off his ski suit that feels like he’s wearing “nothing at all”?
Well, that’s how linen feels when it’s against your skin — it honestly feels like you’re wearing (or sleeping in) nothing at all. One of the reasons for this is the flax fibre itself — a hollow fibre, that allows for air and water circulation, easily.
In other words? A benefit of linen clothing and bedding is that it has great air permeability (a fancy way of saying breathability), one of linen’s “excellent properties”, and a moisture-wicking nature — great for any of you folks that sleep hot. This also means that linen draws water (or, y’know, sweat) out of the skin, and dries quickly — you won’t wake up to a drenched bed.
Linen Benefit 6: It’s One of Our Considered Fibres
It’s been mentioned by us just a few times before, but we’re becoming more conscious about our fibre usage — their feel and wear over time, what impact they’ll have on our environment. It’s why we put together our Consciously Crafted Collection, as well as our Considered Fibre Series — to introduce you to these selections.
Our Belgian Flax Linen was chosen not only because it’s a plant-derived fibre, but because it’s renowned for its longevity.
And you know what happens when something lasts longer? You don’t need to replace it as often — one of the pillars of shopping sustainably (not only across homewares but fashion as well) is buying quality items that will last. We recognise that it’s better to buy well made because it’ll last for years.
Linen Benefit 7: It Makes for an Effortless Aesthetic
There’s a reason every bedding (and fashion) company — and then some — are out there, acting as personal cheerleaders for linen (ourselves included).
Linen is one of those fabrics that just looks, well, cool. If you love the effortless look — and want making your bed to be about a ten-second job — linen is the one for you.
As Senior Design Manager Rebecca Burnard says, “What’s so good about linen bedding is that it’s meant to look relaxed — which makes it so easy to live with.” Although people sometimes point out the fact it wrinkles easily, that is, in fact, what makes it work so well — that casually rumpled look.
It’s also one of the reasons it layers so well. Think an all-linen look, or a bed benefitting from a linen sheet for a touch of contrast — something that says ‘I didn’t try too hard to make this look good.’
If you are a person who prefers a more traditional look on your bed, it does iron beautifully (just get a second pair of hands to help you make the bed).
Linen Benefit 8: It Shows Off Colour Beautifully
Our brilliant Bec also adds that linen fabric shows off colour “really beautifully.” Because of linen’s looser weave, it has a one-of-a-kind texture from the thick-and-thin pattern of the fibres. Which is why we also love it as table linen (which we can help you style, no worries).
And putting that colour on the texture makes it even more eye-catching because you can see those purposeful imperfections. It’s why you’ll see so many “plain dye” (all in one colour) linen offerings — whether a quilt cover, a sheet, or loungewear (it’s why people love our Abbotson Linen Collection).
And, unsurprisingly, it shows off printed colour really well — like a pattern. The fact it’s linen means you get that impact of beautiful colour that you can’t quite find anywhere else — because other fabrics don’t portray colour in such an elevated way.