10 Things You Didn’t Know About Linen
The spike in temperatures this week has left us feeling even more love than usual for our Sogno Linen Cotton Collection . Its unique weave boasts all the enviable qualities of linen - such as temperature regulation, softness and durability - and pairs them with the wrinkle-reducing properties of cotton to deliver one of our most successful products yet. We’ve written about the benefits of linen before so thought we’d take a slightly different approach to our current celebration of Sogno and present you with 10 surprising facts about the wonderful fabric.
1. Super fabric, super food
Linen is made from the fibres of flax plants; the very same plants that give us flaxseed. While humans have been consuming flaxseed since ancient times, it’s only in the last few years its gained recognition as a super food and started appearing in muesli and on top of yoghurt in health-conscious cafes around the country. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, these little granules pack a nutritious punch of omega-3s, antioxidants, B vitamins, fibre and protein, and have been shown to lower cholesterol, aid weight loss and even slow the growth of some cancers.
2. The original and the best
In 2009, archaeologists discovered linen fibres dating to 36,000 B.C. in a cave in the Caucasus region, which sits at the border of eastern Europe and western Asia. This discovery cemented linen as the first known textile in human history. Before this discovery, linen was thought to date back to 4500 B.C. to the time of the Ancient Egyptians. Its most famous use in their society was as shrouds for the dead and it has been credited for aiding the preservation of many of the world’s most famous mummies, including Ramesses II and Tutankhamun.
3. Clean and green
The flax plant typically needs only one fifth of the fertilisers and pesticides required to grow cotton. It’s also eco-friendlier in the production phase, requiring 5 to 20 times less water and energy than many synthetic fabrics. In addition, every part of the flax plant is used in harvest, leaving no waste and a plethora of excellent products, from linen (our favourite) to the aforementioned flaxseed and linseed oil.
Linen is one of the few fabrics not to accumulate static electricity, which - if you choose to purchase a Sogno sheet set - is great news for your bed hair. Studies have shown that fabrics need to include just 10% linen in their composition to eliminate the pesky electric charge.
5. Money, money, money
US paper currency is made up of 75% cotton and 25% linen. Linen is also present in a number of other bank notes around the world (although not here in Australia - we became the first country to use polymer for our notes back in 1988), thanks to its high level of durability.
6. It's all in the lingo
The term flaxen originated from the look and colour of linen fibres in the production process and is now a common descriptor for blonde hair of a certain hue. Rumour has it linen also gave rise to the term spinster, which originated around the same time flax was still spun on spinning wheels. The ability to perform this task was seen as an enviable and highly-lucrative skill and one that was often paraded by single women looking for husbands (clearly the idea of strong, independent women was not yet on the radar), thus creating the association between single females and the term spinster.
7. Up in the air
Linen was routinely used in aircraft manufacturing right up until the 1950s, thanks to its lightness and malleability. In fact, the production of flax increased fivefold during the course of World War II just to keep up with demand for Airforce craft.
8. Body love
Linen is one of the only natural fibres accepted internally by the human body. This, along with its strength, durability and antibacterial properties, makes it an ideal material for sutures and bandages.
9. Making love
Condoms during the Renaissance period were typically made of animal intestines or chemically treated linen. The world’s most legendary lover, Giacomo Casanova, is said to have been a fan of the latter.
10. Safety first
Linen has been shown to have incredible resistance to radiation, offering strong protection against both UV and gamma rays. In 2007, scientists planted flax seeds in the contaminated soils of Chernobyl and discovered the high levels of radiation had little to no effect on the resulting crops. Linen’s resistance to radiation, along with its excellent cooling properties, is why the fabric is an enduring favourite for long-sleeve summer shirts and breezy beach cover ups.
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