About 100% French Flax Linen
What is flax linen?
Flax linen is a plant-derived material that originates from flax or linum usitatissimum. Your sheets start life as a cellulose fibre in the stem of the flax plant (also known as a bast fibre) which is harvested before being spun into fabric. This process of recovering a fibre from the inner bark of a plant is similar to how we might extract hemp or rattan.
How is flax linen made?
Manufacturing flax linen is a labour of love; requiring time, attention and the ideal climate conditions to get right. It takes roughly 100 days from sowing the flax seed to harvest alone, and the flax plant is rather picky with where it grows, preferring the cool, damp soils of France, Belgium and the Netherlands (known as the Western Europe flax belt).
Linen is made when the woody bark surrounding the cellulose fibres (the good stuff that goes into your sheets) is decomposed to get to the useful part of the flax plant. It's then squeezed, dried, combed and spun; a process through which the stronger or longer flax fibres–called line or dressed flax–are separated from the weak–called stricks. This separation is important: the dressed flax will produce more luxurious, hardwearing linen—the kind that ensures your Threads will last years. Finally, these dressed flax fibres are spun and dyed to produce linen in all the hues you know and love.
Is linen expensive?
Traditionally, yes. Linen is more costly than cotton because the flax plant from which linen originates demands special care and attention during harvest and—lacking elastic properties—is harder to weave without risk of snapping threads. Add to this the geographical and climate limitations of where flax can grow, and linen production turns into a costly project. Nothing worth having comes easily though and, boasting superior strength and less environmental impact than cotton, linen is the obvious bedding choice.
Now we’ve made this premium fibre available direct-to-consumer, so you can enjoy the luxury of pure linen for a fraction of the price. How you might ask? Our business model is vertical, and we sell exclusively via our website rather than through a range of partners, so we can cut out hidden retail mark-ups and pass the savings directly onto you.
What are the benefits of sleeping in 100% flax linen?
The benefits of sleeping in pure 100% flax linen are countless, but if we had to name a few... Flax linen is the ultimate in year-round comfort, keeping you cool in summer and cosy in winter thanks to its high air permeability which helps your body temperature regulate. So, no more need to swap out your sheets as the seasons change. Plus, linen is incredibly durable, stain-resistant, and ultra-absorbent, meaning your sheets feel dry and fresh for longer. And the best part? Linen only gets better with time; softening and growing more comfortable with each wash and use. So when you invest in high quality linen, you're guaranteeing your softest ever sleep for years to come.
How is linen different to other fabrics?
Linen outperforms traditional manchesters in a number of respects. Boasting incredible tensile strength, it's more durable and hardwearing compared to cotton or wool. In fact, linen is one of the strongest natural fibres there is, approximately 30% thicker and stronger than cotton. Unlike machine woven cotton which can succumb to wear and tear over time, flax linen actually improves with age and benefits from a low maintenance approach to care–yes, that means no ironing or dry cleaning necessary.
What is Bed Threads linen dyed with?
We use eco-friendly dyestuff across our entire range and are OEKO-TEX 100 certified (so, no nasty chemicals in your Threads). When a fabric is awarded a Standard 100 certification it means that it has been tested by OEKO-TEX for harmful substances such as formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, nickel and more, and declared safe for human use. Because we have been officially certified by OEKO-TEX, you can be confident that every single thread, button and fibre in our 100% French Flax Linen and 100% Mongolian Cashmere has been tested for over 100 harmful chemicals and substances.
Where is Bed Threads linen manufactured?
Our signature flax is grown in France by registered farmers and suppliers, and is then turned into sets in China under ethical working conditions.
Is linen sustainable?
Not only is linen one of these most luxurious and stylish fabrics, it's also one of the most eco-friendly. Made from flax plant fibres, this strong material is resilient and can grow in poor soil, using significantly less water during production than cotton or polyester. The entire linen crop is utilised and it is a renewable, biodegradable and recyclable resource (when made with eco-friendly dyes like the ones we use at Bed Threads), meaning it won't rot in landfill. Bed Threads also operates 100% carbon neutral and utilises plastic-free packaging, so you can feel good about your choice every time your head hits the pillow.
What is GSM?
Most of us are familiar with thread counts, but it's a myth that higher thread counts equal superior bedding. Sheets that boast astronomical numbers are actually made up of threads woven together artificially to up their thread count. Linen doesn’t even have a thread count—it is a totally natural fibre, and its rating is measured by grams per square metre, which indicates how dense it is. With a cool GSM of 170, our bedding is light enough to stay breathable during summer, heavy enough to act as an insulator in winter, and thick enough to withstand wear or tear.
Choosing The Right Linen For You
Is linen right for you?
Linen truly is for everyone. Whether you want to elevate your space with its perfectly undone look, improve the quality of your sleep, invest in quality sheets that will last, or reduce the environmental impact of your bedding, linen will tick more than one box for most. Linen's in-built temperature-regulating abilities mean it is the perfect fit for both hot and cool sleepers, plus it's anti-static and anti-bacterial too, making it an ideal choice for anyone with skin sensitivities.
What linen colours should I choose?
Choosing your dream linen colours can be a tough decision–we spend so much time in bed, after all. We suggest thinking about colours you love to wear and those that make regular appearances in your wardrobe or home. Then it's a case of figuring out what could suit your space (consider available natural light and the size of your room) and deciding whether you'd want to mix and match colours. The easiest way to visualise it all is with our Build Your Own Bundle tool–play around with different colour selections and watch your dream bed take shape.
What products do I need for my bed?
Bedding is a personal choice, with some preferring lots of layers and others the bare essentials. A fitted sheet to cover your mattress is a must, and if you want to buy your bedding in a complete package, opt for our original best-selling bedding sets that come with a duvet cover, a fitted sheet and two pillowcases. For those who prefer to sleep without a duvet cover or want a top sheet instead, there's our sheet sets which include a fitted sheet, flat sheet, and two pillowcases. Or, mix and match your dream combination with our 3D Build Your Own Bundle tool which lets you select each item, visualise the final look, and saves you 20% when you complete the bundle.
What To Expect
What do linen sheets feel like?
Buttery soft, luxurious and "feels like a hug" are all phrases that have been used to describe our linen. To the touch, natural flax linen has a weighty, tactile feel that's incredibly cosy and comforting, yet breathable enough to use year-round. If you're new to flax linen you might notice it feels slightly crisp or rigid on first arrival. That's because linen gets better over time, and starts softening upon contact with water. The more you wash and use your linen, the softer and more comfortable it will become.
Do linen sheets shed?
Linen sheets are known to sometimes shed little balls of lint or fluff. This is a completely normal part of the linen fibre's lifecycle–and in fact means your sheets are growing softer and more comfortable by shedding excess fibres. As a rule of thumb, the darker the dye, the more likely shedding will occur. This is because the dyes that are darker can lead to a greater buildup of fibres in the linen. If your Threads do start to shed, don't worry–it should settle within a few washes.
How do I soften linen sheets?
Moisture absorption is key to the unique ability of linen to soften over time. Each time your linen is washed, it becomes softer and more absorbent—no fabric softener necessary. Just be sure to not overload your washing machine so your sheets can soak up as much water as possible, and wash on a cold and gentle cycle using liquid detergent only. You may need to wash your Threads up to three times before starting to feel the buttery soft texture they’re renowned for–but trust us, it’ll be worth it. If you want to speed up this process, try adding half a cup of baking soda to your wash load or soaking your sheets in cool water and baking soda.
Will linen sheets keep me cool/warm?
Linen is comfortable all year round, keeping you cool and summer and warm in winter, so you don't have to swap your sheets as the seasons change. It’s all down to the fibres, which are longer than cotton and therefore create a looser weave within the fabric. Linen's moisture-wicking abilities play a part, too (linen can also absorb up to 20% of its own weight in moisture), wicking away perspiration and effectively regulating your body temperature–great news for anyone who gets really hot or cold at night.
How To Care For Linen
How long will linen last?
Quality linen can last decades with proper care. In fact, in many parts of Europe, it is tradition for families to inherit linen sheets from their parents. That's because while cotton starts to show signs of wear after three to five years, linen is coming into its prime after a couple years of use. The reason it can outlast cotton is due to the cellulose fibers found in flax linen–they're slightly longer and wrapped tighter, which enhances their strength and longevity. Provided your Threads are cared for correctly, there's no reason why they can't be a future heirloom, too.
How do I wash my linen?
Wash your linen before you use it for the first time (and, hopefully, regularly after that) in a cold, gentle cycle using a mild liquid detergent only. Avoid mixing with other colours and don't overload your machine either—the more water your sheets can soak up, the better. Whether washing your linen by hand or by machine, always ensure that it is thoroughly rinsed in plenty of water to remove all traces of soap, detergent and residual soiling.
It's preferable to wash your linen in soft water. If your water is hard and has a high lime content, consider adding a softening agent, particularly when cleaning darker colours.
What detergent should I use?
Wash your linen with mild liquid detergent only, and avoid using detergents which feature colour brighteners as these formulas will weaken the fibres of your bedding and may discolour them. We've rounded up a few of our favourite eco-friendly options here. Also, your bedding will soften naturally over time, so you can skip the fabric softener–in fact, we advise that you avoid softeners entirely as they can contain chemicals that leave residue on the linen once washed.
Will the colours fade/change/transfer?
All our linens arrive pre-washed, so they're true to colour from the very first use and shouldn't transfer to other surfaces. However, we suggest washing your linen before you use it for the first time with like colours to start the softening process. Over time, some gradual fading may occur, especially if your linen is exposed to a lot of direct sunlight or laundered on hot settings. Keep your washes cold and leave to dry in the shade to best preserve their vibrancy.
How do I dry my linen?
It's best to dry your linen as naturally as possible–it's not only good for your bedding, but the environment, too. Hang your linen up to dry away from direct sunlight to avoid potential fading. Tumble-drying is not recommended, but if you must, avoid using a hot setting and overloading the machine. You can also remove your bedding from the line or dryer while it is ever so slightly damp as over-drying linen—especially in the sun—can cause the fabric to feel brittle.
How can I get rid of a stain?
Because linen is highly absorbent, tend to any stains immediately to avoid permanent damage. Launder with plenty of water and wash separately–being careful not to overload the machine so your sheets can soak up as much water as possible. A gentle detergent will work well to remove most stains, and for whites we suggest an oxygen-type bleach instead of a chlorine-based alternative to minimise the risk of discolouration.