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 WHAT ARE TEXTILES ?

 

A textile is a flexible material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw wool fibres, flax, cotton, or other material on a spinning wheel to produce long strands. Textiles are formed by weaving, knitting, crocheting, knotting, or pressing fibres together (felt).

A textile is a cloth, which is either woven by hand or machine. "Textile" has traditionally meant, "a woven fabric". The term comes from the Latin word texere, meaning to weave.Fibers are the raw materials for all fabrics. Some fibers occur in nature as fine strands that can be twisted into yarns. These natural fibers come from plants, animals, and minerals. For most of history, people had only natural fibers to use in making cloth. But modern science has learned how to produce fibers by chemical and technical means.

 

 

 

   


WHAT IS LINEN ?


Linen is a natural fibre, made from the stalk of a flax plant. It is regarded in Europe as the best quality fabric. Europeans have long favoured linen for their sheeting because of its amazing properties. It softens the more it is used and washed, is extremely durable and lasts decades when cared for correctly. It is not uncommon that European families will pass linen sheets on to the younger generation as an heirloom. Vintage linen is very desirable, it’s soft and the feeling is very hard to replicate by any mechanical process.

Linen textiles can either be woven or knit into different forms of bedding products. These products have different finishes and are also used for different purposes. Linen textiles are easy to dye, and can be put to diverse areas of use like garments, accessories, and bedding. Linen textile is either singly used to make bedding, or blended with other fabrics like cotton or silk to increase its quality, texture, and durability.

 

    BENEFIT OF LINEN

   

   Linen is a very durable fibre and has many benefits over cotton.


-          Linen is 30% stronger than cotton
-          Has a high moisture absorbency
-          Hypo-allergenic
-          Highly breathable
-          Structurally sound fibre so products keep their shape
-          Environmentally friendly – less water and chemicals to cultivate

 

What is the difference between cotton and linen sheets?

Cotton and linen are two similar products, yet they are quite different in their look, feel and properties. Cotton can be quite soft and silky straight out its packaging, whereas linen tends to be stiffer.

When washed and cared for correctly cotton sheets will last around 3-5 years, before showing signs of wear. Linen fabric, however, is really only starting to shine after 3 years of usage. It becomes softer with every wash and doesn’t break down as fast which is due to the higher moisture absorbency rate of the linen fibres. It is also naturally hypoallergenic which means sweat is less likely to break down the linen fibres, as it would in cotton. Unlike cotton, linen when cared for correctly has the potential to last up to 2-3 decades before needing to be replaced. Hence the reason Europeans prefer to invest in high quality linen sheets.

 

Egyptian cotton is a much finer fibre, and is made from the bols of the cotton plant. The yarn is very fine and able to be woven into a higher thread count fabric. Linen, on the other hand, is a much thicker fibre, but much more robust and durable. The resulting fabric is generally lower in thread count than cotton, but its properties are far superior.

 

 

How is linen made?

 

 

 

Extracting the linen fibres from the flax plant is a time consuming process. To harvest the flax plants, they must be pulled from the ground rather than being cut in order to retain the full length of the fibre. After being harvested the plants are left in the field to soften to the point where bacteria and fungi become present. This allows the woody section to start decomposing and make it easier to separate the fibre. The fibre is collected from the plants and then rolled and stored in shelter for 2-3 months, where it continues to soften.

 

 

 

The fibres are then combed to remove excess impurities and shorter fibres. The long fibres (used for bed linen) are slightly twisted and then processed using a ‘wet spinning’ technique in order to achieve a smoother and softer yarn. Alternatively, the short fibres are collected and spun together using a ‘dry spinning’ technique. This results in a stronger and heavier yarn which is ideal for heavy duty uses such as upholstery or heavy apparel fabrics.

 

 

 

The linen yarns used for sheeting are carefully graded and sorted into different qualities ranging from the extremely fine (Como Linen) to a high standard of regular linen (Dublino and Citi Linen). Italian weaving mills select only the finest linen yarns to produce their fabrics with. It is in these Italian mills where generations of weaving mastery become apparent. The Italians are unmatched in their ability to weave and finish the finest fabrics in the world. The techniques used are safeguarded to ensure they cannot be copied.

 

 

 

Why does linen have a lower thread count?

 

 

 

The linen fibre is derived from the middle of the flax plant, so it will be naturally thicker than the cotton bols from the cotton plant. An average linen fabric used for sheeting has a thread count of between 80 and 150, which would be considered low for a cotton sheet. Cotton percale starts at around 200 thread count, a result of the finer yarns used. It is easier to fit a higher number of yarns into an inch if they are fine cotton. You can only fit so many bulky yarns into that same inch if they are linen, so the results can vary  substantially.

 

As previously mentioned the thread count is not an indication of quality, as linen fabric has a much lower thread count but is considered by many to be a far superior fabric quality.

 

 

 

History of linen

 

 

 

Linen was the first fibre used to weave fabric and dates back over 8,000 years. It was first used by Mediterranean civilisations and was then quickly adopted by Europe where it reached high popularity during the medieval times. It was the most readily available fabric and remained the most popular even after the introduction of cotton fabrics by the Arabs during the 1300’s.

 

Linen remained the fabric of choice until the 18th Century during the Industrial Revolution, when the introduction of spinning machines and the large plantations of North America’s ‘Upland Cotton’ became much more affordable than the traditional linen techniques.

 

Now because of the laborious time it takes to produce linen yarn, and the manual processes that have to be undertaken, linen has become a higher priced commodity, and considered among many to be a ‘luxury’ fabric.

 

 

 

Where is the best linen from?

 Normandy (France) and Belgium are considered the best climates for growing the flax plant. The temperatures and cooler climates are ideal for the cultivation and controlled decomposition of the woody plant. The processing (spinning of the yarn) is generally done close to the harvesting, but where the linen really comes to life is at the weaving mills. The best weaving mills are undeniably in Italy where knowledge passed down from generation to generation is skilfully used to create the best linen fabrics in the world.

 

 Fabric

 The type of cotton fiber used has a huge impact on the towel's durability, feel and color-fastness. Here's a quick rundown of some common fibers and what they bring to the towel bar: 

 

Eqyptian Cotton

Grown in Egypt's warm climate and prized for its extra-long, fibrous threads, this density produces a highly absorbent cotton that is strong yet breathable. Exceptionally durable.

 

MicroCotton

A trademark for a high-quality, long-staple cotton fiber developed in India. Its soft and plush fibers create a fluffy towel with a suede-like texture and excellent absorbency.

 

 Pima (or trademarked Supima) Cotton

Often grown in the warm, dry climate of the southwestern United States, Pima cotton is known for its rich, extra-long staple fibers prized for their strength and absorbency. Pima is considered to be a superior blend of cotton.

 

Turkish Cotton

Grown exclusively in Turkey, it is a premium cotton featuring an extra-long staple. This long staple creates a towel with a high level of comfort, absorbency and durability.

 

How to Choose Quality Towels

Giving into a hot, relaxing bath is one of life’s simple pleasures. Finishing your bath off by bundling up in a soft, cozy towel is another. But how do you pick a towel that’s right for you and will last for years? How do you discern quality? Here, we break down some of the components that make up a quality towel, helping you choose the very best towels for your post-bath ritual.

 

 

 

Types of Cotton

 

 

 

Towels can be made from different types of cotton, and, like most things, each has its own strengths. Egyptian cotton is especially absorbent, making it ideal for apparel and sheets. But when used in towels, that extra absorbency can be inconvenient, because it means they take a long time to dry and is not cost effective for the healthcare & the hospitality industry . Turkish, India and Pakistan cotton, on the other hand, provides the perfect balance between absorbency and softness. That’s why we always use it in our towels.

 

 

 

Understand the Weave

 

 

 

Towels can also be woven in different ways: ring-spun, combed or twisted fiber. Each weave has a different feel. We always use ring-spun cotton, because it yields the softest, most durable towels. It’s made by tightly twisting long and short threads together to create the strongest, smoothest yarn possible.

 

When choosing a towel, there’s another component to consider – one that goes part and parcel with the weave: the pile, also known as the loops of the towel. Whether or not your towel is single loop or double loop will affect its absorbency.

 

Both single loop and double loop towels are highly absorbent, but single loop dries a bit faster. That’s partly why single loop is the most common type of towel construction. On the other hand, double loop towels are more dense and feel more luxurious to the touch, so depending on what you’re looking for, you may be willing to wait a little longer for dry towels.

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding GSM / Weight

 

 GSM – short for “grams per square meter” – offers a standard number by which fabrics are measured. The higher a fabric’s GSM, the denser, and therefore more absorbent, the fabric will be.

 

Towels can vary anywhere between 300 GSM and 900 GSM. The lower the number, the lighter and thinner the towel. For instance:

 



 

300-400 GSM – In this weight, as noted, the towels are lighter and thinner. But, depending on its use, you might want a lower GSM for the gym towel or a kitchen towel. A lightweight, quicker-drying beach towel might be around 350 GSM, for instance.

 

 

 

400-600 GSM – This is a medium weight. This weight is great for beach towels, bath towels, guest towels and so forth. Each consecutive gram weight –400, 500, 600– gets a little heavier, and a little more absorbent.

 

 

 

600-900 GSM – This is a premium, luxury weight. The towel will be denser, heavier, more absorbent. It will probably take a little longer to dry.

 

 

 

Other factors that will influence the towel’s softness and absorbency are: type of cotton, whether the manufacturer uses a polyester blend, whether the cotton is a single or double loop, and so on.

 

 

 

Towel Construction

 

Almost as important as a towel's fiber is the yarn's construction – how the yarn is actually made. The result: diverse yarns with unique properties.

 

 

 

- Combed Cotton

 

 

 

As the name implies, combed cotton has literally been "combed" to remove short, uneven fibers and debris resulting in longer, stronger and more lustrous cotton.

 



 

- Ringspun Cotton

 

 

 

Ringspun fibers are tightly twisted together to create a stronger, smoother and finer yarn. This method produces a more refined feel than that of a basic combed cotton yarn.

 



 

- Twist

 

 

 

Twist refers to the number of twists per inch of yarn. The lower the amount of twist in a yarn, the more plush the towel will be. A higher twist adds strength and uniformity to a yarn, resulting in a more durable, substantial feeling towel.

 



 

- Two-ply 

 

 

 

Double the amount of yarn is used to make a very durable, absorbent, dense and substantial feeling towel.

 

 

 

 

 

How to care for your towels

 

 

 

- We recommend that your new towel purchase should be washed before use.

- Please always follow the washing instructions placed on the label of the towel.

- If you see a stray pulled loop on your towel please cut off with a pair of scissors, this will not damage the towel.

- Bathroom detergents and some beauty products such as cleansers contain bleaching agents and may cause permanent discoloration to your towel.

- Please do not dry clean your towels.

 

 

 

 

 

Laundry Advice

 

 

 

Towel Products

 

-   New towel products should always be given a hot wash with detergent before use. This will prevent threads pulling.

 

-  Shake out towels before loading into the washing machine to allow the wash liquor to penetrate.

 

-  Detergents containing optical brightening agents will improve the visual brightness of white towels.

 

-  For coloured towels use a detergent that does not contain any optical brightening agents as this will mask the true shade and diminish the color.

 

- Colored towels should be washed with similar shades and white towels only washed with white. Colored lint contamination will ruin the appearance of towels if wash loads contain notably different colors

 

- Washing in hard water can give a harsh feel to towels.

 

- Fabric conditioner can be used to improve aroma and softness of the towel, however this lubricates the fibres which reduces towel absorbency and can lead to fibre loss.

 

- Do not over dry towels in the tumble dryer. This can lead to a dull, grey appearance.

 

- Do not use towels to clean up bathroom spills or to wipe down after cleaning. Beauty products and bathroom cleaners can discolor or damage the towel leading to holes.

 

 

 

 

 

Polyester Table Linen

 

- Do not mix colors on the first wash. Residual dye/chemicals may be present from manufacture which may cause cross contamination.

 

- Always wash white table linen on its own to prevent dye contamination from other colors 

 

Subsequent washes can be classified according to color e.g. pale shades such as peach and pink can be washed together at lower temperatures (less than 60C).

 

- Wash loads should also be classified according to the degree of soiling.

 

- Do not mix fibre types. Washing and/or drying 100% cotton and polyester/cotton blends with 100% polyester table linen will result in cotton lint attaching to the surface of the polyester fabric giving the appearance of pilling (or “bobbling

 

- Shake out table linen to remove and cutlery, solid food residues and other foreign objects before loading into the washing machine. Items such as knives and pens can damage or permanently stain the fabric.

 

- Detergents containing OBA (Optical Brightening Agents) are only recommended on white goods. This will make a white fabric appear whiter and brighter.

 

- The use of detergents containing OBA can alter the appearance of colored shades giving the impression of color loss. Coloured fabric should ideally be washed in detergents that do not contain OBA.

 

- Residual staining can be removed using oxygen based bleaching agents but these should not be substituted for a good wash process with adequate detergency. Care and attention should be given to the conditions of use.

 

- Chlorine bleach (Sodium Hypo chlorite) can cause permanent color loss and shade changes and should be avoided.

 

- The wash temperature can affect the fabric quality. If polyester is washed at 60C, a cool down stage must be included between the high temperature wash and cold temperature rinsing. The wash liquor temperature should reduce to 50C and a rate   of approximately 4C per minute.

 

- High temperature washing can without a sufficient cool down stage can result in Thermal Shock Creasing. This occurs when hot, soft and pliable polyester fibres are cooled too quickly whilst in a crumpled state. This results in small “broken ice” type   creases on the fabric surface.

 

- For best results polyester table linen should be ironed dry. Always feed the fabric into the ironer whilst damp.

 

- Higher iron bed temperatures (above170C) on modern machinery can cause softening and distortion of polyester if consistently ironed in the same direction. Altering the direction of feed after each wash will minimize this effect.

 

 

 

100% Cotton

 

- New cotton items should be washed before use to remove and loose fibres and remove any residual chemicals from manufacture.

 

 - Shake out table linen to remove and cutlery, solid food residues and other foreign objects before loading into the washing machine. Items such as knives and pens can damage or permanently stain the fabric.

 

-   Always wash white goods on their own to prevent dye contamination from other colors

 

-  Do not mix colors on the first wash. Residual dye/chemicals may be present from manufacture which may cause cross contamination. Classify wash loads according to similar colors for subsequent washes.

 

-  Wash loads should also be classified according to the degree of soiling.

 

-  Detergents containing optical brightening agents will improve the visual brightness of white cotton goods. For colored goods, use a detergent that does not contain any optical brightening agents as this will mask the true          shade and diminish the color, particularly on 100% cotton items. Residual staining can be removed using oxygen based bleaching agents but these should not be substituted for a good wash process with adequatdetergency. Care and attention should be given to the conditions of use.

 

- Stain removal using Chlorine bleach (Sodium Hypo chlorite) will chemically damage and accelerate the weakening of cotton fibres. Over/repeated use will cause sufficient damage to easily tear the cotton. On colored items, Chlorine bleach will cause    permanent color loss/shade change and should be avoided.

 

- Cotton is more resistant to heat damage and white goods can be washed at temperatures up to 90C to remove heavy staining.

 

- Colored items should not be washed at lower temperatures not exceeding 50C to minimize color loss.

 

-Natural starches can be applied to cotton table linen to impart polish and stiffness where required. Starching should take place on the final water based stage of the wash process after the fabric has been cleaned and all wash chemicals      neutralized.

 

-  Ironing of cotton should be done whilst damp and is essential to complete the drying process, remove creasing and improve its aesthetic appeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polyester/Cotton Blends

 

 

 

  • Wash loads should be classified according to colour and soiling level. 
  • White items should be washed separately to prevent cross contamination from colored items. 
  • Do not wash with 100% cotton/100% polyester goods. 
  • Detergents containing optical brightening agents will improve the visual brightness of white polyester/cotton goods.
  • For colored goods, use a detergent that does not contain any optical brightening agents as this will mask the true shade and diminish the color. 
  • Residual staining can be removed using oxygen based bleaching agents but these should not be substituted for a good wash process with adequate detergency. Care and attention should be given to the conditions of use. 
  • Stain removal using Chlorine bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite) will chemically damage and accelerate the weakening of cotton fibres in the blend. Over/repeated use will cause the cotton fibres to degrade leaving a thin, shiny fabric due to the remaining polyester. On colored items, Chlorine bleach will cause permanent colour loss/shade change and should be avoided.
  • The first 4 to 5 minutes of the wash process should be carried out with a temperature below 40C to prevent setting any protein stains.
  • The wash temperature can then be increased to 60C for white items or 70C should the soiling be cooking oil or grease based to encourage emulsification.
  • If polyester/cotton is washed at 60C or above, a cool down stage must be included between the high temperature wash and cold temperature rinsing. The wash liquor temperature should reduce to 50C and a rate of approximately 4C per minute.
  • High temperature washing without a sufficient cool down stage can result in Thermal Shock Creasing. This occurs when hot, soft and pliable polyester fibres are cooled too quickly whilst in a crumpled state. This results in small “broken ice” type creases on the fabric surface.
  • Natural or less commonly synthetic starches can be applied to poly/cotton table linen to impart polish and stiffness where required. Starching should take place on the final water based stage of the wash process after the fabric has been cleaned and all wash chemicals neutralized.
  • Ironing should be done whilst damp to complete the drying process.
  • Higher ironer bed temperatures (above 170C) on modern machinery can cause softening and distortion of polyester if consistently ironed in the same direction. Altering the direction of feed after each wash will minimize this effect if possible.