From seed to fabric: See how linen is pulled, dew-retted, bundled, scutched, heckled, spun, and woven in this excellent video from the Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Fashioned From Nature’ exhibition, showing until January 27, 2019. From the video notes:
Linen is the original sustainable fibre – when grown in its ideal geographical zone, the cultivation of flax produces no waste. All parts of the flax plant are used: the long and short fibres and seeds are made into textiles, paper, varnish, oil, animal fodder and bio-materials.
After the plants have been pulled (harvested), the root remnants fertilise and clean the soil, thereby improving the productivity of soil for 6 to 7 years. Growing flax requires no irrigation, no fertilisers and no herbicides and pesticides, and therefore does not pollute rivers or groundwater. Flax even retains 3.7 tons of CO2 per hectare per year.
Ideal geographical locations are primarily located in the European Union, which currently grows 70% of all flax. Countries like China and Canada require less sustainable methods to yield crops.