Difference Wiki

Linen vs. Calico: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on November 7, 2023
Linen is a textile made from flax fibers, while calico is a plain-woven cotton fabric that is often unbleached and not fully processed.

Key Differences

Linen is known for its strength, smoothness, and lustrous finish, making it a luxury fabric for clothing and home textiles. Calico, by contrast, is a more affordable, coarse fabric that's frequently used for items like bags and toiles.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023
The production of linen is labor-intensive, involving the cultivation of flax plants and a lengthy process to extract the fibers. Calico is simpler to produce, derived from cotton plants, and is generally a rougher fabric.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023
Linen tends to wrinkle easily due to its low elasticity but offers excellent coolness and freshness in hot weather. Calico is often sturdier and holds prints well, making it popular for patterned designs and crafts.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023
Historically, linen was a symbol of purity and wealth, utilized in ancient civilizations like Egypt. Calico originated in India and was once a precious commodity in the international trade market.
Sara Rehman
Nov 07, 2023
Environmentally, linen is often praised for being biodegradable and having a lower water footprint compared to cotton, from which calico is made, which is water-intensive.
Janet White
Nov 07, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Material Source

Flax fibers
Cotton fibers
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Texture

Smooth and crisp
Coarse and unrefined
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Production Complexity

Labor-intensive
Less labor-intensive
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Common Uses

Luxury apparel, home textiles
Crafts, mock-ups, casual apparel
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Historical Significance

Associated with luxury and purity
Valued in trade, especially from India
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023
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Linen and Calico Definitions

Linen

A textile made from the fibers of the flax plant.
The linen curtains added a touch of elegance to the room.
Huma Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Calico

Fabric made from cotton with a small, repeated print.
Her dress was made of a delicate floral calico.
Harlon Moss
Nov 07, 2023

Linen

Fabric woven from linen fibers, characterized by its cool feel.
She preferred linen tablecloths for their natural look.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 07, 2023

Calico

Inexpensive, versatile fabric used for making toiles.
The designer created a mock-up of the dress in calico before using the final fabric.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 07, 2023

Linen

Strong, lightweight fabric, especially used in the past for making clothes and bedding.
The antique linen sheets were passed down through generations.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Calico

The term used in the 16th to 18th centuries to refer to printed cotton cloth from India.
The merchants traded spices for calico in the ports of the Orient.
Harlon Moss
Nov 07, 2023

Linen

Thread or yarn spun from flax used in the making of linen textiles.
The tailor recommended using linen thread for the suit for durability.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Calico

A plain-woven cotton fabric, often not fully processed or dyed.
The craft store had rolls of colorful calico for quilting.
Huma Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Linen

Garments or other items made from linen fabric.
His linen suit was perfect for the summer wedding.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Calico

Cotton cloth that can be plain or printed and is used for a wide range of purposes.
They used bright calico banners for the festival decorations.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 07, 2023

Linen

Thread made from fibers of the flax plant.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 10, 2023

Calico

A tightly woven cotton cloth having a repeating, often floral design.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 10, 2023

Linen

Cloth woven from this thread.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 10, 2023

Calico

Chiefly British A plain white cotton cloth, heavier than muslin.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 10, 2023

Linen

Also linens Articles or garments, such as sheets, tablecloths, or underwear, formerly made of linen and now usually made of other fabrics, especially cotton.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 10, 2023

FAQs

What is calico?

Calico is a plain-woven, unbleached cotton fabric, sometimes printed with simple designs.
Huma Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Is linen more expensive than calico?

Yes, linen typically costs more due to its complex production process.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Can both linen and calico be dyed?

Yes, both can be dyed, but linen holds color with a subtle sheen, whereas calico is often left natural or printed.
Sara Rehman
Nov 07, 2023

What is linen fabric?

Linen is a natural fabric made from flax fibers, known for its durability and coolness.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

How do you care for linen garments?

Linen should be washed gently and may require ironing due to its tendency to wrinkle.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

What makes linen a luxury fabric?

Its natural luster, feel, and the labor-intensive process of its production make it a luxury fabric.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

How are linen and calico different in use?

Linen is often used for high-quality clothing and home textiles, while calico is used for crafts and casual wear.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Why choose linen over calico?

Choose linen for a luxurious, lightweight feel and calico for a more economical, sturdy option.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Can calico be used for upholstery?

It can be, but it's not as durable as other upholstery fabrics.
Sara Rehman
Nov 07, 2023

How is linen produced?

Linen is produced by harvesting, drying, and then separating the flax fibers, which are then spun and woven.
Harlon Moss
Nov 07, 2023

Why is calico popular in crafting?

Its affordability and ease of use make it popular for crafting and sewing practice.
Harlon Moss
Nov 07, 2023

Is linen comfortable for summer?

Yes, linen is highly breathable and an excellent choice for hot weather.
Janet White
Nov 07, 2023

Is linen biodegradable?

Yes, linen is fully biodegradable.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 07, 2023

Does linen blend well with other fabrics?

Yes, linen can be blended with fabrics like cotton and silk to combine properties.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Are linen and calico sustainable fabrics?

Linen is highly sustainable, while calico's sustainability depends on the cotton farming practices.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Is calico suitable for making formal wear?

Generally, no. Calico is more suited for casual wear, crafts, and pattern drafting.
Harlon Moss
Nov 07, 2023

Do linen and calico shrink?

Yes, both can shrink, with linen being more prone to it if not pre-washed.
Sara Rehman
Nov 07, 2023

What’s the origin of calico?

Calico originated in India and was a significant item in trade.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

What are the benefits of calico?

Calico is affordable, durable, and versatile, suitable for a variety of projects.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 07, 2023

Can I machine wash calico?

Yes, calico can generally be machine washed, but check the fabric care label.
Janet White
Nov 07, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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