How to Make Linen Thread From a Flax Plant


Linen is a fabric woven from flax plants. Linen was originally the staple fabric of Ireland, due to its high durability and comfort. Historically, families would grow their own flax from seeds, harvest it, form the thread, weave it into fabric and form the fabric into their clothes. While most linen is now produced in factories, it can still be made at home using the traditional method.

Things You'll Need

  • Flax stems
  • Water trough
  • Wooden mallet
  • Hackling combs
  • Spinning wheel
  • Bobbins
  • Spread the flax stems out onto a sunny dry surface. Leave them to dry for two weeks.

  • Fill the water trough with water and set the flax stems into the water. The stems should ret for 10 days. Retting is the process of soaking the flax stems in water to loosen the individual threads.

  • Spread the flax stems out again onto a sunny spot and leave them to dry out for three weeks.

  • Scutch the stems by beating them with a wooden mallet. Scutching is the process of pounding the stems to break up the stiff fibers. The stems will separate into tangled fibers.

  • Comb the fibers straight with hackling combs. Hackling is the process of combing the fibers with various thicknesses of combs into soft, straight and workable fibers. Begin with the widest toothed comb and end with the finest toothed.

  • Spin the fibers into yarn on a spinning wheel.

  • Wind the spun yarn onto bobbins.

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  • Photo Credit linen image by Silver Bromide from
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