Unsoftened and untreated linen fabric is relatively stiff and therefore it is not recommended to use it when sewing clothes and bed linen. The linen fabric becomes softer over time. After some use and a few washes with the right washing programme, the fabric will be softer.
In the case of fabric softened at the factory, the advantage is that the fabric does not shrink significantly after washing. Shrinking may be up to 10 % in the case of unprocessed linen fabric. 4-7 % for already softened linen fabric and 2-3 % for stone-washed/enzymed linen fabric.