Q. Are antique linens fragile? How long will they last?
R. Linen is one of the most durable fabrics that exists, and all of our pieces were made at a time when family linens were expected to last generations. You will most likely be able to pass these on to the next generation.
Q. As you are selling antique linens, how do I know that they aren’t damaged?
R. All of our merchandise is in very good to excellent to flawless condition. If there are any flaws, we detail these in both our written and visual descriptions.
Q. Are your linens clean?
R. Yes, everything we sell is washed in all natural products at very high temperature and ironed before being shipped. Only in very particular cases, for example an antique document of a fragile lace, might an item not be washed but this would be only for reasons of preservation and specified in the description.
Q. When I imagine sleeping on a linen sheet, I think it might be rough. Are your sheets comfortable and soft to the touch?
R. Linen is a remarkably versatile fabric which comes in a great variety of textures. At Fleur d’Andeol most of our sheets are loomed of very fine grades of linen. The finest grades of linen (“fil de lin”) are remarkably soft and silky to the touch, but not slippery like satin. Our “dove grey” linen is a very fine grade of linen as well, not quite as silky to the touch as fil de lin but extremely soft and very comfortable too. Some prefer linen sheets that are more rustic and that have a slightly textured weave - we occasionally will feature these as well. We also sell sheets in linen/cotton blends (“métis”) and our blends only contain the finest grades of linen. We take pains to describe all of these varieties carefully so our clients can make a wise and precise choice. In general, all linen will continue to get softer with use. Many people who have tried linen sheets claim that they have a much more peaceful and sound sleep in linen than in cotton.
Q. Should I be concerned about allergies or other unhealthy reactions?
R. No, quite the opposite. Most of commercial grade sheets produced today are fabricated using many chemicals. These same sheets are then washed and softened with chemical products. Even if the quantity of these chemical products is minimal, considering the amount of time in a lifetime that one spends in bed, the effects can be significant. As our linens are all natural and were created using no chemical processes or additives, they are extremely healthy. Also, due to its tremendous heartiness and durability, linen can be washed at very hot temperatures using no harsh chemical detergents. The high temperatures are very effective at thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the fabric.
Linen is extremely durable and can be washed at very high temperatures in any washing machine. This will assure perfectly clean as well as disinfected bedding and table linens. Also, washing at high temperatures will reduce the need for harsh (for your skin!) chemical detergents. We strongly advise never to use bleach on linen, or any fabrics for that matter, as it not only gives an artificially white color but deteriorates the fibers of the textiles. If your linens are embroidered, putting them in a nylon mesh bag before washing is the easiest way to ensure that the embroidery doesn’t suffer wear or damage in the machine.
Drying your linens on a line in fresh air and sunshine is of course ideal! But if you don’t have the time or a clothesline, a clothes dryer will also work perfectly well. In this case, what we suggest is to dry the linens until damp but not fully dry. Then a quick once over with the iron will give the surface a lovely, silky finish.
Important: Always iron embroidery on the back side of the linen and preferably with a soft layer underneath like a terrycloth towel! This will not only ensure that the embroidery is not damaged, but will also give to it the maximum relief. Make sure to check that the bottom of your iron is clean before starting. A slightly damp linen will iron quickly and with ease. When ironing damask tablecloths or napkins, the side of the damask that you iron will affect how the damask appears. If you iron on the top side, there will be more of a silky sheen, and if you iron on the bottom side, there will be less of a sheen but more of a relief to the pattern. We suggest you try both methods as it’s really a matter of personal preference.