Linen - it's not Cotton!!

There seems to be a bit of confusion between linen and cotton - are they the same? where are they from? what are natural fibres? and what's so great about them anyway?? .. 

Natural Fibre, any hairlike raw material directly obtainable from an animal, vegetable, or mineral source and convertible into non-woven fabrics such as felt or paper or, after spinning into yarns, into woven cloth. (enclyopedia brittanica) 

More and more of us are realising the great benefits of natural fibres in the products that we buy from homewares to clothing.  One natural fibre we rave about at Mist Valley Clothing is the fantastic Linen. 'But it crumples!!' Ok yes it does a little - but that is part of its charm and natural beauty. So breath, relax and go for it !! 

So what is Linen? isn't it the same as Cotton?

They are both natural fibres derived from plants but Not the same!

Linen is a textile made from fibres from the flax plant also known as Linseed... Not the flax that is commonly known here in New Zealand... Cotton is a natural fibre from the cotton plant.

What are the benefits of Linen?

Its strong! Awesome hollow, long, strong fibers make linen 30% stronger than cotton. It's a very durable fabric that when looked after well can survive a long time in your wardrobe. Linen may feel a little stiff sometimes at first, it will soften with washing and doesn't stretch with age like cotton can.

It's cool! The loose weave structure of linen allows it to be breathable and cooling allowing air to move freely around the body. It has absorbent and moisture wicking qualities that absorb perspiration quickly and release it into the air making it comfortable to wear in our long hot summers. Linen doesn't stick to the skin like other fabrics i.e. it doesn't make you sweat!

But it also keeps you warm! These fantastic fibres retain body heat and release excess humidity making linen the ideal fabric to wear across all seasons.. Wear it on its own in the hot Summer to maximise its free billowing and cooling effect and in the cooler months simply layer up as necessary.. 

It's Naturally Hypoallergenic.The strong hollow fibres of linen wick moisture away quickly and the fabric dries faster than cotton which means there is no bacterial build up.This natural hypoallergenic quality means sweat is much less likely to break down the linen fibres and as it does in cotton meaning a lot more longevity in a linen garment than a cotton one.

Bye Bye Bugs! Pure linen is naturally insect repelling - yay!

It's Eco-friendly. As we become more and more conscious of how our lifestyle affects our planet we are increasing looking for products that are low impact and sustainable.The flax plant requires very little water to grown and production of linen textile uses low amount of energy. A renewable resource and natural fibre so linen products are naturally biodegradable and recyclable. 

It's Versatile. Linen garments are so easy to wear and make your own, these fantastic flax fibres absorb dyes well, producing deep strong colours that are  complementary to wear. The weight and structure of linen lends it self well to producing garments with clean lines that can give a more contemporary, minimalist appearance making it easier accessorise to show your own personality and style.


 Image by "Trish Steel / CC BY-SA (

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