Irish Linen

In the past year I have started to work with linen and linen mix fabrics.   What I know of  linen is that it is expensive.  But I have learned much more in the past year.  However, what is Irish Linen.  Being half Irish descent and it being the month of St.Patrick I thought I would do some exploratory research.  

Linen from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

Linen from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

Yes linen is expensive.  Irish linen is also quite expensive. But do you know why?  Flax, which also appears in our diet and grocery stores lately, is a strong fibre. Linen comes from the flax fibre, which is stronger than cotton and more durable.  What makes something Irish? Well being made in Ireland.  The majority of "Irish Linen" in the past 200 to 300 years was used for the upper class.  The more yardage used in a garment the wealthier you were.  Seven yards for a shirt! That's quite a lot.  Today a regular man's woven button down shirt consumes about 3 yards.  

the flax plant and seeds photos from  Irish

the flax plant and seeds photos from Irish

Since the 1950's and 60's flax has been imported to Ireland.  Most linen today is custom designed and to carry the "Irish Linen Guild" logo the linen must be spun, woven and designed in Ireland.  The flax usually comes from somewhere in Europe. 

If you come upon some Irish Linen, look for the logo and treat yourself!

Tracey Toole