Source & origin
Common linen / flax (Linum usitatissimum)
Flax is one of the oldest crop plants. It comes from the Linaceae family and is grown for the purpose of making fibres (fibre flax, textiles) and oil (oilseed, linseed, linseed oil). Linen fibres were traditionally used for home textiles before they were suppressed more and more by less expensive cotton.
As a sustainable raw material in a sustainable textile industry, linen has regained importance again for the production of clothing, for which LIVING CRAFTS uses high-quality and GOTS-certified organic linen.
The raw material
The flax or linen fibre is obtained from the stalks of the flax plant, and counts as a bast fibre. The linen fibres form bundles, unlike seed fibres such as cotton, which consist of unconnected single fibres.
They are harvested using special machines that rip the flax out of the ground, together with its roots. This is because reaping the fibres would destroy them. The straw is then laid on the ground and aligned. In the subsequent drying process, the epidermis rips open, which means that micro-organisms can later penetrate the straw. In the retting process, bacteria and fungi dissolve the bond between the fibre bundles and the surrounding tissue. Retting must be interrupted at the right point in time to prevent the fibres from being damaged.
Today, the most predominant retting method is known as dew retting, which is used in around three quarters of the cultivation areas. In this process, the flax straw is left to lie on the fields. The dew moisture makes bacteria and fungi break down the pectins. This procedure is relative eco-friendly, and during the retting process, part of the nutrients go back into the soil.
The straw of the organic linen is subsequently tried once more and is firstly broken, i.e. the woody core is broken up into small pieces. The scutching process then separates these from the flax, leading to long and short flax fibres. The long and short fibres are separated from each other, the flax is pulled and laid parallel, and washed once more. The higher-quality long fibres for textiles are then taken out of the scutching operation, plaited, and taken to spinning mills.
Conditions and certification
Our organic linen comes from controlled organic cultivation, and the flax is cultivated without any use whatsoever of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The processing facilities work in compliance with high safety standards and fair working hours, and pay fair wages to their workers.