How does flax become fabric?

The arrival of large amounts of Scottish people during the Plantation of Ulster helped contribute to the huge growth of the linen industry in Ireland from the 17th to the 19th century. The Ulster-Scots descendants of these original settlers, tended to grow their own flax that was then spun and woven into fabric in their homes and cottages dotted across Ulster.

The process of growing the flax and turning it into linen could be long and backbreaking work that involved most members of an Ulster-Scots family. Daughters were taught by their mothers from an early age how to spin while sons were shown how to weave and set up the looms by their fathers. Even the younger children in the family had a job - winding the yarn onto bobbins.

Different stages of flax processing
After the flax is harvested it goes through many processes to become yarn

Watch the video below to find out how the flax grown in the fields of Ulster was turned into high quality linen.

Discover more about the processes Ulster-Scots families and communities went through to produce linen during the 17th and 18th Centuries.