So, why linen? You asked, we answer.
"So, why linen? What’s so good about sleeping on linen?"
We get asked this about seven times each day, so we thought we’d tell you what we tell everyone else.
It took us a little while to discover linen bedding, and it seems we’re not alone. We get quite a few people come up to us at markets who say "I didn’t know you could sleep on linen, I thought it was just for tablecloths and clothes!” Well sleep on it you can, and we’ll guarantee you’ll have a better night for it.
Linen is, quite frankly - the Queen of bedding. It manages to be both soft and durable whilst also keeping you just the right temperature (something that’s a godsend for those who share beds with ‘hot sleepers’). And not only is it great for marital harmony, it’s also wonderful for your complexion (it’s anti-microbial, which is just a fancy way of saying it repels bacteria). Plus, the way it’s woven four-ways means it breathes, so no grimy, stinky sheets. See what we mean? Oh wait, AND it’s better for the environment than cotton. Win.
Like most good things, linen was discovered by the Ancient Egyptians who used it to make their bedding and clothing back in the day. It’s actually considered to be the oldest (and wisest) textile in the whole world. It’s woven from fibres in the stalk of the flax plant, which are then left in a field to soften for 2-3 months. After this, each plant is combed by hand to ensure the fibres are ready and strong enough for production. Once the fibres are chosen by the mills, the process is a mystery - you need to be in ‘the family’ to be educated in the top-secret linen weaving techniques used in Europe. Needless to say, the process is not only time consuming, but incredibly effective!
After the word of linen spread from Egypt, its popularity quickly moved to Europe where it was the fabric of choice, even when cotton was introduced in the 1300’s. It remained the most favoured fabric in Europe until the Industrial Revolution prompted the invention of spinning machines and cotton became more readily available, and therefore more affordable. These days, linen is considered a luxury fabric with the processes for production contributing to the high price tag.
The reason it’s so soft - and becomes softer - is the way it’s woven. We chose especially soft linen to use on our bedding, which weighs around 180gsm (grams per square metre). Some thicker linens like those you see in clothing and upholstery can start at 250gsm and go up to 700gsm. These wouldn’t be welcome company in a bedroom at all! Comparatively, it’s the equivalent of many thousand thread count sheets.
Which brings us to the big question, linen vs. cotton? This debate is one we enter into willingly, as reformed cotton bedding owners ourselves!
The very basic fact is that cotton simply doesn’t last as long as linen when it comes to household uses like tea-towels, bedding and clothes. It comes down to the strength of each fiber, and the way linen is woven means it’s more durable and less susceptible to fraying and tears. We’ve heard it thrown around that linen is 30% stronger than cotton, and when you look at our linen cupboard at home we’re inclined to agree!
We’re not what you’d call ‘greenies’ but like most people, we care about what’s happening to our environment and want to help where we can. We did a little bit of research in our early days and learnt cotton production uses ridiculous amounts of water and pesticides, so we knew we were making the right decision by not going down that path.
The final reason we love linen is all about comfort. There’s nothing better than jumping into bed on a cold winter’s night and feeling instantly cosy. Because linen fibres are hollow, the air and moisture moves through the fibres naturally, not getting caught on anything. This means it retains heat quite evenly, and becomes a natural insulator - which is handy in the warmer months too.
So that’s all we have on that subject - please do get in touch if you want to ask any questions or order a sample pack so you can feel the benefits for yourself!