What Color is Linen? Natural Linen Color Explained

What Color is Linen? Natural Linen Color Explained

This manual will assist you in comprehending the origin of the natural linen’s color as well as how it affects the fabric that is produced.

The flax plant, an ancient flowering plant that thrives in the cool, damp climate of Northern Europe, provides the material for linen clothing. Since ancient times, flax has been grown for its fiber, which is used to make rope, linen clothing, and numerous other everyday items.

Is the blue-purple hue of the flax flower indicative of the hue of the finished linen fabric? The color of natural, untreated linen ranges from oatmeal to taupe. It can be sand, grey, beige, ecru, or even beige.

Given that the majority of the linen textiles we purchase are either completely white or come in a variety of colors, it’s a great question. Here’s the lowdown on linen in its unprocessed state.

Further Reading:

What Color is Linen Fabric?

Flax plants are used to make linen fabric. The beige and grey color families are filled with a variety of natural, untreated linen hues. The manner in which the manufacturer harvests and refines the plant affects the shade of natural linen.

Natural linen will range in color from an oatmeal shade to a taupe, though there is some shade variation in linen. Linen that has not been dyed is soft and muted. It’s often referred to as “linen grey” even though the shade is not consistent.

Green, yellow, or brown undertones may be present in natural linen fabric. The undertones determine if the overall color leans more toward grey or brown. After processing, numerous flax harvests are blended by fabric manufacturers. When they create a single yarn out of multiple harvests, they can weave more color-consistent fabrics.

What Color is Linen? Natural Linen Color Explained

What is the Color of Unbleached Linen?

Natural linen and unbleached linen are synonyms. This fabric is made from flax fiber that hasn’t had any color added or subtracted as it’s been processed, spun, and woven.

The only way to get white linen is to bleach it. Bleaching removes the natural color of linen, leaving it white. No such thing as white unbleached linen exists. There will be grey or brown tones in any unbleached linen fabric.

Unbleached is a term that may be used to describe colorful linen. This indicates that the fabric was not bleached before being dyed by the manufacturer. The producer used the natural linen color as a base rather than starting with a white fabric. These materials may appear more earthy than linen that has been bleached and dyed because they retain the natural linen’s undertones.

The fabric will become weaker if you bleach linen at home, especially if you use chlorine bleach that has not been diluted. The lifespan of linen fabric increases with the amount of chemical processing it receives. Whether you bought it already bleached or treated it yourself, unbleached linen will remain in good condition longer than bleached linen.

What Impacts Linen’s Natural Color?

Water has the biggest impact on the color of linen. The amount of moisture will significantly affect everything from the plant’s growth to the processing technique, including the color of the finished fabric. The number of nutrients in the soil, when the plant is harvested, and which parts of the plant are used by the manufacturer all affect the color.

Always purchase a bit more fabric than you think you’ll need for a project because natural linen has a range of colors. Natural linens from various producers or processing organizations can be challenging to match.

What Color is Linen? Natural Linen Color Explained

Growing Conditions

The starting color of the flax plant influences the undertone of the finished fabric. The fabric’s undertone will be greener the more nitrogen the flax plant can access.

The flax plant’s maturity at the time of harvest also affects the color. A ripe plant tends to have a yellow-green undertone. Plants that aren’t quite ripe have more green than ripe plants do and vice versa.

A flax plant’s rate of maturation and ripening is influenced by the nutrients in the soil, light, temperature, and water. Manufacturers typically allow flax to grow as tall as possible to maximize the amount of fiber they can get from each plant since fabric production uses the stalks. Due to the overripe plants, this may result in brown undertones.

Processing Conditions

The processing stage is where natural flax’s color varies the most. The manufacturer retits the plants to extract the fiber from the stalk. There are three main retting techniques, and each one affects fabric color differently.

Dew retting uses very little water, and because the fibers are dark, the finished fabric usually has a grey hue. Increased moisture usage during water retting causes the fibers to lighten, resulting in fabrics that are sandier and more beige. Enzyme retting lightens the fibers the most, bringing out more red and yellow undertones than the other methods.

What the manufacturer uses from the plant is the other processing factor that affects the finished color. Both fiber and straw are present in the stalk. How much yellow is in the finished fabric depends on how much straw the manufacturer removes.

The undertone of the fabric is yellower the more straw that has been left in. The final product will be greyer and pale the less straw there is. Manufacturers typically completely remove flax straw because it is useful for purposes other than textile production.

What Color is Linen? Natural Linen Color Explained

What Color Linen Fabrics Are Available?

Undyed linen is a popular color because of its rustic, organic feel. It’s ideal for linen sheets, summer clothing, sheer curtains, and bath towels. After a few washing, undyed linen will feel incredibly soft and comfortable against your skin because it is also antimicrobial and allergy-free.

You must look for dyed linen, though, if you’re going for a different appearance, such as bright white, darker, moodier gray, or pops of bold color. You can even buy black linen fabric, which is ideal for floaty dresses or tote bags because it won’t show stains.

Since flax fiber of good quality absorbs color well, a wide variety of tones and hues are available. If you want to ensure that the dyes used didn’t harm the flax fiber or that bleach didn’t weaken the fabric’s inherent resilience and strength, make sure to purchase your colored or natural linen from a reputable retailer.

How is Linen Dyed in Various Different Colors?

It has been used for more than a thousand years, linen is a traditional fabric. As a result, several contemporary dyeing techniques are created by fusing new technology with outdated practices.

The list of the most popular techniques for coloring linen is provided below.

  • For instance, linen must first be cleaned to remove any smudges, just like in the past, and then dyed with direct, reactive, and sulfur dye in either a neutral or an alkaline bath.
  • There should be no additional chemical treatments made to the linen fabric before using the direct dye method. Not to mention that this approach guarantees no damage to the flax fibers in the fabric.
  • The natural color of the linen is removed from the fabric using bleach, allowing the linen to shine and have a clear finish.

Conclusion: Natural Linen Color

The natural color of undyed linen is known as ‘linen gray’. However, the color will differ depending on how the flax crop was grown and processed, so this isn’t a consistent tone. Woven linen comes in a variety of natural tones, including ivory, beige, oatmeal, and ecru.

Natural linen will always be in the grey or brown color families if it is untreated, undyed, or unbleached. But linen fabric can be easily dyed in any color you can think of, or it can be simply bleached white.


Is Linen a Beige Color?

Natural Linen is definitely a beige paint color. However, you’ll discover that it’s not as TAN as the warm neutrals from the 1990s or as GOLDEN warm as many of the beige colors from the early 2000s Tuscan trend. One of the more contemporary beige paint colors available is, in fact, Natural Linen.

Is Linen Grey Or Brown?

Grey linen is often used to describe the natural color of linen. ‘ Usually, it’s a combination of light grey and brown, a mixture of most natural tones close to the earth and simplistic life.

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