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April 11, 2018

A simple guide to linen sheets

Europeans have long favoured linen for their sheeting because of its amazing properties. Made of pure European flax, linen is casually elegant with timeless appeal. With subtle texture achieved through garment washing, linen is soft yet durable, softening the more it’s used and washed. Linen is also naturally stain resistant and has the ability to last for years if cared for properly.

You’ll love linen if…

You like a casual, laidback look but the feel of luxury.
Good for either warm or cool sleepers.

Where does the best linen come 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. Producers in Europe must also sign up to the European Flax Charter which guarantees a level of local farming that respects the environment; zero irrigation, zero GMO, zero waste. We love that it fits flawlessly into the cycle of good environmental practices and in turn, our own philosophy.

How is linen made?

In the early days of March in the fields of Normandy and Belgium the first flax seeds are sown, and within 100 days, are over a metre high. One of the great treats for anyone who visits the countryside is the sight of the fields of vivid yellow flowers which in June begin turning to cool blue, creating a welcoming sight when the delicate stems are set in motion by the gentlest breeze.

Once it's ready for harvesting, the plant is uprooted and put through weeks of retting and several other processes to prepare the flax for spinning at the mill. This is the main point of difference for linen that is 100% manufactured in Europe -- some linen is only grown in this region and then exported to India and China to be spun, woven, dyed and washed in local fabric mills.

What’s the difference between cotton & linen sheets?

While cotton and linen share some similarities, they’re 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, requiring some wash and wear to soften. Egyptian cotton is a much finer fibre and is made from the bolls 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 making it much more robust and durable.

IYLA Linen

IYLA linen is made from pure European flax and has been developed specifically for us by a fourth-generation family textile mill located in the Guimaraes region of northern Portugal -- world-renowned for weaving textiles since the 18th century. Our linen has the rare Master of Linen Certification meaning the flax is not only 100% grown, but also 100% manufactured in Europe. With our philosophy formed around the idea that our products and manufacturing processes should cause no harm to the environment or our customers, there was no questioning that we should introduce ethically produced linen to our range of luxury bed sheets.