Linen vs Muslin: 10 Differences Between Muslin and Linen

Finding the right fabric for your next successful sewing project can be difficult. There are so many differences to choose between. Natural fabrics are not doing anyone any favors as they can be as different as night and day. The good thing about different natural fabrics is that they are usually all-natural.

The main difference between linen and muslin is that linen comes from the flax plant while muslin comes from the cotton plant. Then linen can be woven in different ways while muslin is made with a plain weave style. Despite their differences, they are both good fabrics to work with.

To learn more about these differences, just continue to read our article. It comes with the facts about both fabrics and lets you know why they are different. Take a few moments and see those differences and possible uses for both fabrics.

Difference Between Muslin and Linen

We have created this quick comparison chart. You get to see almost all the differences between the 2 fabrics very quickly and remain on schedule at the same time.

Category Muslin Linen
Origin The cotton plant The flax plant
Years of existence Thousands of years Thousands of years
Weave style Plain weave Woven or knitted in different ways
Texture Usually soft and smooth A little coarse but gets softer when washed
Breathability Good Good
Sewing difficulty Easy to sew with Easy to sew with
Durability Can be very durable Very durable
Cleaning care Can wrinkle and shrink Can wrinkle and shrink
Manufacture Easier to make than linen Very laborious to make this fabric
Cost Can be cheap depending on quality Can be expensive depending on quality

Muslin vs Linen for Embroidery


In this category, the fabric you use will depend on the type of look you are going for. Linen is great for a rustic or elegant look when you want to add a unique look to your windows or walls. This material is easy to sew with no matter which weight it comes in.

Muslin has a wide variety of fabric styles that work really well for embroidery. Picking the style is going to be harder than deciding which design you want to create. It is also very versatile making it perfect for many different ways of doing hand embroidery.

The biggest factor you will encounter and have to decide between is their cost. Linen is generally the more expensive of the two fabrics and if you can spend the extra dollars, then you may want to get linen. That material is supposed to be stronger than cotton so it should last you a long time.

Both materials need to be washed in cold water and both need pre-shrinking before you start your project. It is safe to say that no matter which material you choose to use, you should not be disappointed in your results or how easy they were to work with.

The look is going to be the most important aspect when you are done so choose the right fabric that works best in your home decor scheme.

Special Characteristics of Muslin Fabric


Every fabric has its unique properties that make them great for specific environments and purposes. Muslin may be made from cotton but it has a few different uses than regular cotton has. Here are some of the special characteristics that make muslin stand out from other cotton materials:

  • 1. Climate - muslin has not lost its popularity in the Middle East. It has been a great fabric to use for hundreds if not thousands of years in that region of the world. That is because it is better suited for warmer climates.
  • 2. Breathability - muslin is a looser weave, especially looser than cheesecloth, which makes its breathing ability superior to other fabrics, including regular cotton and linen.
  • 3. Content - this material can come in medium and heavy weights but it is generally found in the lightweight category of fabrics. The good thing about muslin content is that it is 100% cotton almost all of the time. The cotton fibers are not usually blended with anything else although it can be.
  • 4. Texture - muslin fabric is found in rough and coarse versions but the texture that is most pop soft and smooth versionular is. That nice feel makes this material great for baby blankets as well as some non-winter garments.
  • 5. Uses - while muslin can be used for clothing, you may find it used more in backdrops for photographers, as a quilting backing or foundation piecing, warm blankets, and curtains.

The Many Uses of Linen


Linen has a wide variety of uses that helps it compete with muslin fabrics. Depending on its weight linen can be used for different projects around the home:

  • Lightweight material - some of the top uses would be having the fabric made into a summer blouse, a handkerchief as well as window sheers.
  • Light to medium weight - men’s suits are a good use for this material as are bedding, draperies, and tablecloths. If the lightweight linen is blended with cotton then it is good for quilting as well.
  • Heavyweight - this tougher material is best for upholstery materials and for making pillows.

And one fun fact about linen-- it is blended with cotton to make American dollar bills.

Some Final Words

Linen is a very durable fabric and tougher than cotton. That factor alone will make linen stronger than muslin material. But if you want softness right from the beginning then you should opt for muslin material. It is softer than linen to begin with and feels good next to the skin.

Also, muslin should be a lot cheaper to buy than linen fabric but linen may have that more sophisticated element that makes everything look better.

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