Q. Are antique linens fragile? How long will they last?
R: Linen is one of the most durable fabrics that exist, and the linens we feature were made at a time when family linens were expected to last generations. With proper care, you will 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. Our merchandise is offered in very good to excellent to flawless condition. If there are any defects, 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 a very high temperature and ironed before being shipped. In only very select instances, e.g., for preservation purposes of an antique document, might an item not be washed but this would be clearly specified in the description.
Q. When I imagine sleeping in linen sheets, I think they might be course. Are your sheets comfortable and soft to the touch?
R. Linen is a remarkably versatile fabric, and it comes in a great variety of textures. At Fleur d'Andeol most of our sheets are loomed of the most refined linen. The finest grades of linen ("fil de lin") are soft and silken to the touch, but not slippery like satin. Some prefer linen sheets that have a slightly textured weave and we occasionally feature these as well. We also sell sheets in linen/cotton blends ("métis") and our blends contain as well only the finest grades of linen. We take pains to describe these nuances so that our clients can make wise and informed choices. Generally speaking, all linen will become more soft and supple with use. Many who have gotten accustomed to sleeping in linen sheets claim that they enjoy a much more peaceful and sound sleep than in sheets made of cotton.
Q. Should I be concerned about allergies or other unhealthy reactions?
R. No, quite the contrary! Most commercial grade sheets produced today are manufactured using a variety of chemical additives. 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 extremely high temperatures which is not only effective at thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the fabric, but also eliminates any need to use harsh chemicals.
Linen is extremely durable and can be washed at the highest temperature setting in your 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 your linens as it not only yellows the fabric but is very harsh on the fabric and will destroy the integrity of the linen fibers. For whiter whites, you can safely opt for an oxy whitener, and sunshine will also do wonders for linens hung out to dry! If your linens are embroidered, putting them in a large nylon mesh bag before washing is the simplest means to ensure that the embroidery doesn't suffer wear or damage in the machine. These can easily be found in bed linen shops.
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 only until damp but not fully dry. The dry heat of an electric dryer can weaken the linen fibers, but as linen dries remarkably quickly, if you remover them while still damp, a quick once over with the iron will finish the job while giving a lovely, silky finish to the surface.
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 allow you to achieve 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, the surface will tend more toward a matte finish however the damask motif will show greater separation. We suggest you try both methods as it's really a matter of personal preference.
Using starch when ironing will add a silky and crisp finish to your linens, and it can also increase their durability, thus extending their life. However, if your linens are stored for months at time in an armoire or a linen closet, avoid the use of starch as, with time, the fibers along the linen folds can crack from rigidity. Also, although moths do NOT attack linen, they love feeding on starch… and leaving starched linens for long periods of time in a closet will risk moth damage.