Belgian Linen


What is Belgian

Belgian LinenTM is a unique European textile which is woven entirely in Belgium by members of the Masters of Linen® club. It has been prized for thousands of years for the high quality, softness, and durability it offers. It naturally has rich color absorption and is lint-free and hypoallergenic. This is why Belgian LinenTM is widely known as the world’s finest linen available.

Breathing Color combines this remarkable material with our advanced ink receptive coating technology, resulting in the highest-quality inkjet textile available on the market, Belgian LinenTM by Breathing Color.


Growing and Harvesting

Step one: Sowing and Growing

At the beginning of spring the flax farmers prepare to go into the fields again. They follow the changing of the seasons closely and wait patiently until the time is right for sowing.

The soil is tilled by the rotor of the seeder and then pressed using a large roller. The disc creates rows in the soil and an air stream blows the flax seeds into these rows.

The first plants are visible 2 weeks after sowing!

Step Two: Blooming

A flax flower lasts only a single day. By the end of June the fields turn blue for a couple days, after which the flowers disappear.

Linseed: Following the flowering period, the plant develops multiple seed pods. The flaxseed within the capsules dries during the retting process and is used for food, linseed oil and sowing new flax.

Step Three: Pulling

When flax is harvested, it is pulled rather than cut. The customized machines are only used for a few weeks each year.

Valuable Fiber: The flax plants are pulled from the soil roots and all. The valuable fibers extend to the roots of the plant. That is why long stems are preferable as the longest fibers product the finest linen.

After the pulling the fields are covered with green flax. However that soon changes.

Step Four: Retting

Nature transforms the plant to allow the fiber to be extracted. A significant difference is discernible after only 1 week.

The Retting Process: During the retting process the plant is subjected to dew, rain and sunshine. Mico-organisms dissolve the pectins and loosen the fibers. The soil also lays a part in the process. It contributes to the typical beige color of the flax. After some time, the flax is turned to ensure even retting.

Only an expert can determine whether the flax has sufficiently retted.

Step Five: A Good Harvest

For a short time, large flax bales adorn the fields.

The flax is harvested using customized machines. These pick up the retted flax plants and tie them together into large bales.

An 8-acre field would yield a harvest of 203 bales, weighing approximately 300kg (661lbs) each. 60.9 tons of flax is harvested in total.

How is Belgian Linen™ made?

Step one: Processing the Fiber

Scutching and Hackling: The bales of flax are opened and evenly rolled out onto the scutching machines. The seed pods are rippled off by a comb. Gears run at varying speeds further spreading out the flax on the processing lines. Thousands of pins comb the flax until only the purest fibers remain.

The shorter fibers are separated from the longer fibers and then gathered into hackled silvers, the raw material for spinning mills.

Step Two: Spinning the Yarn

Preparation: The hackled silvers are combined and combed to obtain uniform lines.

Spinning Frame: Fibers become yarn - coarse and fine. The line flax is now put through a process in the spinning machines to lengthen into yarn. Once they reach the required thickness, it is wound on a spool.

Winding: The small spools make a large bobbin. The yarn on the spools is wound on a large cone at the top of the machine. The large bobbin is now ready for use in the weaving mill!

Step Three: Weaving a Fabric

Preparation: Each spool/bobbin on yarn is tested and must comply with a strict set of parameters.

Weaving: The rhythm of the looms can be heard day and night as the yarn is woven into a complete fabric. At full speed the rhythm of each loom is different, yet harmonious.

Quality Control: Menders carefully follow the path of the yarn with their needle. The smallest flaws are hand mended. Linen has a natural flax color. The exact color depends on the sun exposure and the influence of the soil during the retting process. Expertise in finishing is therefore essential to achieve consistent results.

Certified Archival

Extensive independent testing by third-party accredited laboratories has been completed on Belgian Linen™ by Breathing Color. This is to ensure that our product meets and exceeds the standards set forth by the Fine Art Trade Guild (FATG) for pH and lightfastness. FATG is an international organization with members from over 26 countries worldwide, and in order to protect the interests of consumers, FATG has established a specific set of standards so that consumers can be confident that the art supplies they use are archival. These standards are governed under Blue Wool Testing.

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