How to pick the perfect linens
From delicate silk covers to wool throws and plush velvet quilts, we love our layers, but most of all we love real linens
What are the advantages of natural linen?
‘The great thing about linen is that it’s breathable, highly absorbent and therefore cool in the summer and warm in the winter,’ says Theresa Tollemache, owner of Volga Linen (volgalinen.co.uk). ‘Not only that, but the more it is used and washed, the softer it becomes.’ Is it eco friendly? As linen isn’t chemically treated, it is naturally hypoallergenic and resists bacteria. It’s durable, recyclable and biodegradable: a great eco choice.
Does linen have a thread count like cotton?
No. Flax fibre is much thicker than cotton, so rather than a thread count, it’s measured by weight – the higher the weight, the thicker the yarn and the heavier the weave. From 160 gsm ( grams per square metre) to 180 gsm is a good weight for bedlinen; anything above that is more suitable for table linen and upholstery.
Where does the best linen come from?
‘European linen is renowned for its superior quality,’ says Inga Lukauskiene, founder of Linen Me ( linenme.com). ‘Lithuania, Belgium and Normandy in France are considered the best climates for flax production. Asian producers often mix flax with synthetic materials or ramie (a less durable fibre made from nettles), which decreases the linen’s quality and overall appearance.’ How do I make my linen last? ‘Hand or machine wash on a cool cycle using mild soaps,’ says Lukauskiene. For a beautifully pressed finish, iron sheets while still slightly damp or if you prefer your linen slightly crumpled, finish in a tumble dryer. Store it in a dry place where air can circulate.