About Linen and Why It Is Our Fabric Of Choice

There are many different fabric types out there some natural, some synthetic and some a blend of different fabrics. If you do not really know what the differences between natural and synthetic fabrics are we suggest you check out a couple of previous posts - Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics and A Simple Guide to Natural and Synthetic Fabrics. Fabrics in all of their different forms may not see like they are but they are a big deal – as I mentioned before in a past post - the textile industry is the second largest in the world (after the oil industry)! I mean think about that for a sec, it is bigger than consumer goods, bigger than the health care industry and even bigger than the telecommunications industry. Who would have thought?!

Because there are so many different types of fabrics I will be doing a series of posts where I will share tips and facts about the different types of the most commonly used fabrics in our homes and in our closets. A few weeks ago I started this series with cotton and shared a post on Buying High Quality Fabric and 3 Easy Tips to Care for Cotton – go check it out!

Linen Facts

  • Linen is incredibly old - over 8,000 years old. Yes, you read that right – it is believed that linen is likely the oldest natural fabric.
  • The ancient Egyptians used very high quality linen, so high quality that even to this day it has not been able to be replicated.
  • The production of linen requires 25% less water than cotton.
  • Linen is biodegradable and recyclable.
  • The more you wash linen the softer and nicer it becomes.
  • US dollars are made up of 25% linen! The other 75% is cotton.

How to Care for Linen

If linen is properly cared for it can last a lifetime, it is such a durable fabric and it only gets better with time. However, caring for linen can be a little tricky. Here I’ll share a few things I’ve learned along the way around how to treat linen. These are tips that are very much applicable to linen, however, it is always a good idea to read the care instruction label for all of your garments.

Washing Linen | Linen can be either dry cleaned or hand washed. I definitely prefer the latter, however, I do not have the patience to hand wash so what I do is that I put my linen fabrics in the delicate cycle in the washer machine and so far have never had any issues with that method.

Drying | I always recommend to air dry linen. If you must put it in the dryer put it on “fluff air” or “low heat”. Those are the settings on my washing machine but you get the drift.

Ironing | If you have ever tried to iron linen you know that it is tiresome! One thing I have found incredibly useful is to iron linen while it is still damp. This will cut down the amount of time you need to spend ironing and still get great results.

Why We Chose Linen

After hours upon hours doing extensive research on the different types of fabrics we could have used for Ninel Studio products and after my many pros and cons lists everything seemed to point to linen as the best all-around choice. Even though everything pointed to linen as the best choice I was still hesitant to go with it at first. My one hesitation with Linen was the price when compared to cotton and cotton blends – but again - after all of the research we had done I really gained a good understanding of the laborious process it is to go from the flax seed to the final state of linen. Understanding and appreciating that concept allowed me to come to terms with the higher price point. Another very important aspect of my research was resistance certain fabrics had to dyes.  I had to keep in mind that I was not just going to use the textiles as they were to create the pillows I was going to hand dye the fabric in very small batches and then use the dyed fabrics to create the pillows. I tested dyes on cotton, cotton-polyester blends, cotton-linen blend and 100% linen and pure linen was by far the best to work with. 

The Launch!

I am really happy to report that after almost 2 years in the making I am only a week away from finally launching the first Ninel Studio collection – The Salisbury! Stay tuned for more info coming soon!

What has your experience with linen been? Ever had a mishap? I have!

Buying High Quality Fabric & 3 Easy Tips to Care for Cotton

Cotton is by far the most used fabric around the world. It is affordable, it is comfortable and it is relatively easy to care for. Take your home for example; I am sure you will find cotton almost everywhere – curtains, bed sheets, towels, pillows, clothing and the list goes on. When the idea of Ninel Studio first came around I did A LOT of research on fabrics – I read articles upon articles, I watched many YouTube videos, I watched documentaries and so on. After going through so much research I finally began to pay attention to an industry that as consumers we tend to overlook and take for granted.

Since then, which was about two years ago, I have become a big believer in buying quality products and caring for them properly. This will not only save you money in the long term but you will help create just a little less pollution in the world among other downsides the textile industry has. I wrote a post a several weeks ago – Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics – where I discussed the differences between natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics and their pros and cons. For a couple of years now I have tried to steer away from synthetic fabrics and opt for natural fabrics whenever I can. I have come to realize of the negative impact synthetic fibers can have on our eco-system but also on our bodies and in our homes.

However, I have learned that high quality fabric does come with a higher price tag, which I do not always welcome but at least I know that there is a reason for it. Now that I have a better understanding of the textile industry I understand I understand the reason behind the higher price tag and in some cases those reasons are deep. So deep that I can write an entire blog series on the negative effects the textile industry has on humans and our eco system. With that said, when we invest in high quality products we need to take good and proper care of them so that they last as long as they can and we do not need to re-purchase the same items over and over again throughout our lifetimes.

So, I am going share the things I do to care for my cotton garments so that they can last as long as possible. Like so many other things, there are okay ways to do things and there a great ways to do things. I hope you can take these easy tips and apply them next time you need to care for any cotton garments around your home.


Wash your cotton in cold water to reduce the amount of shrinkage that can possibly happen. Increasing the water temperature can also increase the amount of shrinkage that can happen. However, cotton is a strong enough fabric that could easily withstand warm (even hot) water - just know that some shrinkage can happen at an increased temperature of water.


Some fabrics are very sensitive to heat from an iron, but not cotton! Cotton can withstand a scorching hot iron and it will not easily ruin the fabric. Now, this does not mean you can leave your iron on a piece of cotton unattended! Please do not EVER do that. But it is also good to know that high heat from an iron will not ruin your cotton fabrics.


I think we can all agree that line drying is the most environmentally friendly alternative, however, if time is a concern, it can take a while for the fabric to fully dry. The best way to dry cotton is to line drying it and if you have the space in your home to lay out fabric and the time to wait for the fabric to dry, go for it! If not, I would suggest you dry it on the low heat setting on your dryer. The reason to avoid too much heat on cotton when drying it goes back to idea of minimizing the amount of shrinkage cotton can have under too much heat.


In our blog post a few weeks ago, Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics, we looked at the differences between them and discussed their pros and cons. This week we are going to go into detail and look at how natural and synthetic fibers are made along with their characteristics.

In our About page we talk about our process and the materials we use for our pillows. A lot of research and experimentation happened as we were deciding which fabric to use for our pillows. We decided on linen and as you read the below you will see why!


Linen comes from the flax plant (yes, we eat this!). The use of linen goes way back to the Grecian, Egyptian and Roman civilizations which make it the oldest domestically produced fabric.  Items made of linen are valued for their coolness and freshness (especially in hot climates). This is why you tend to see linen clothing pop up in clothing stores during the summer time. With that point in mind, you might also notice that items made of linen are pricier. There is a good reason for this, linen is derived from the flax seed and it requires a lot of manual work to get from the flax seed to the luxurious feel of the linen fabric. Another couple of pros for linen are that it does a good job at resisting pilling and fading and it is the best fabric to use with dyes.

Cotton is by far one of the most used fabrics in the textile industry and understandably so. It comes from the cotton plant which makes is a seed fiber. You will find this plant in the tropical areas of the Americas, Africa and Asia. Cotton is durable and affordable which is why it is the most popular fiber used for clothing and home furnishings.  

Wool comes from the fleece of sheep. The creation of wool goes through a several step process – the first step is to have the sheep sheared which generally happens once a year during the spring time. Once the fair has been collected it is sent to be grated and sorted. As you can see creating wool is quite complex, due to that, wool is considered a luxury fabric. Some advantages to wool are that it is sturdy and durable. You are likely to see wool being worn in cooler weather because the fiber holds natural air pockets which create a layer of warmth and insulation.  wool and wool blends offer good resistance to pilling, fading, wrinkling, and soil.

Silk comes from the cocoon of a silk worm. There are two main types of silk – cultivated and wild silk. Cultivated silk comes from silk worms that have been raised in a controlled environment.  Wild silk (as the term suggests) comes from silk worms that exist in the wild. Like all other natural fabrics, silk also goes through a process to get it to the final stage. Silk goes through a process called “degumming” which removes a sticky substance named sericin. As you may already know, silk is a delicate and luxurious fabric which translates to their higher price tag.    


Nylon is made from petroleum and it is rarely used alone. Meaning that it is almost always blended with other fibers when used in clothing or other items (think carpets, luggage). Nylon is very resilient and lightweight, it doesn’t readily soil or wrinkle, but it does tend to fade and pill.

Polyester comes from a combination of coal, water, the petroleum. And like nylon it is rarely used alone and often blended with natural fabrics to increase its durability and minimize its maintenance. Polyester can be found in clothing, upholstery, and insulation.

Rayon has been developed as an imitation to silk, linen, and cotton through a regeneration of natural materials. Rayon is durable and has a silky texture to it; however, it may wrinkle easily. Rayon is greatly found in clothing and many times blended with either natural or synthetic fabrics.

Spandex (Lycra): Spandex thread is lighter and more durable than conventional elastic threads. Spandex has the ability to return to the original shape after stretching faster than other types of fabrics. It is usually mixed with cotton or polyester and it is very comfortable to wear (think leggings and yoga pants).

At Ninel Studio we strive to create beautifully hand crafted pillows that are both luxurious and durable and linen fit that bill to the T. On the personal end, there are many reasons to pick items whether its clothing or home furnishings that are made of natural fabrics instead of synthetic fabrics. Making the switch will not happen overnight but small steps over time will make a big change in the long term.

Do you have a favorite type of natural fabric and know of any additional advantages to that specific fabric?


I find that people overlook how prominent fabric is in our everyday lives (at least I have in the past!). Fabric is the cornerstone in so many everyday items such as, clothes, bed sheets, curtains, towels, rugs, pillows – and the list goes on. Here at Ninel Studio we put a great emphasis on the types of fabrics we use – after much research on this topic we have decided on 100% Linen. This is an area that has evolved from the very early stages of planning and will continue to evolve as we think about where and how fabrics are sourced and how we can contribute to an environmentally friendly society.


Today, I’ll go over the very basics of fabrics and what the usage of them means from an environmental standpoint.

Types of Fabrics

There are two main types of fabrics:

  • Natural
  • Synthetic

Natural fabrics include cotton, wool, linen and silk. Synthetic fabrics are man-made and include rayon, polyester, spandex, nylon.  

Pros and Cons

As with anything in life there are pros and cons to natural and synthetic fabrics. I have listed just a few points for each but do invite you to do some research and learn more about this long-lived debate.

Natural Fabrics


  • Made from natural ingredients like plants or animal hairs
  • They are breathable
  • They are renewable and biodegradable


  • If natural fibers are not properly cared for (take a cotton t-shirt, for example) they can break down over time
  • Natural fibers usually carry a higher price tag (for good reason!)

Synthetic Fabrics


  • They are usually very affordable
  • They are more durable than natural fibers


  • Chemicals are used in the manufacturing process
  • They do not hold dye very well which means that they are sprayed with very harmful chemicals to hold the dyes

What difference does it all make?

From an environmental stand point natural fabrics are more sustainable than synthetic fibers. For example, synthetic fibers require the use of chemicals during the manufacturing process. This, as you can imagine, causes health and environmental problems to the people working in these manufacturing plants and the land on and around them.

Over the last couple of years I have become more aware and conscious of the food I eat (where it comes from, how it is made) and while I have made a lot of improvements on my diet there are still improvements to be made. I have also made significant changes in the products I use on my skin – body wash, lotion, shampoo and conditioner. So it was only natural that I would begin to think about my biggest organ, my skin!  It was not until a few months ago that I really started to pay more attention to the fabrics of the clothes in my closet and other household items and how they could possibly affect my long term health. Did you know that the textile industry is the second largest in the world (the oil industry is by far the largest), therefore, the buying decisions we make today will have long lasting effects in humanity and our environment.

I know that this is not an easy change to make; however, I am committed to at the very least be aware of what I am purchasing and will find ways to incorporate changes in my buying habits going forward. 

I hope you found this post useful and informational. In an upcoming post I’ll share some detailed information on the different types of fabrics that are available. Stay tuned!

Have you thought of the fabrics in your home and in your closet? Can you think of any other pros and cons to natural and synthetic fibers?