People love linen—and they have questions! Here are some of the queries we often field when talking with customers. (Your question’s not here? Shoot us an email. We’d love to help.)
Caring for Willow Ship table linens (see below for other products):
How should I wash my new table linens?
We recommend machine washing cold and gentle tumble dry or line dry. The linen base fabric is strong and can withstand harsher treatment, but the printing and overall appearance of the linens will last longer with delicate care.
Do I have to iron them?
Totally up to your personal preference, whether you like a crisp look or something soft and casual. Often simply smoothing and folding the napkins while warm from the dryer is plenty. If you choose to iron, we recommend a hot iron with steam, on the reverse side of the printing. (NB: Don’t linger too long on the edge stitching: it’s nylon and could melt with over-heating. See below for info on the serged edge.)
How permanent is the printing?
We use a professional-grade fabric printing ink, which is treated for permanence. That said, like all printed textiles, a degree of fading and ageing of the printing should be expected with normal wash and wear.
Not all of my napkins look 100% the same. Is this normal?
Yes! All of our items are one-of-a-kind, block-printed by hand, so slight variances may occur in placement and ink coverage. We feel this “wabi-sabi” character contributes to our line’s overall uniqueness and beauty.
Anything I need to know about the serged edge?
Our table linens are sewn with a nylon-thread serged edge. Rarely, slight unravelling may occur at the corners, and the thread can be re-sealed with a (brief!) touch of flame. A lighter or kitchen torch works great.
How should I care for non-tabletop items?
We recommend unfastening the buttons (if applicable), turning the cover inside out, and washing gently with cold water. Especially if your style contains the coconut button closure, we suggest air drying flat. You may then steam iron on the reverse of printing for a fresh, crisp look.
The base fabrics are prewashed/preshrunk prior to our printing and sewing processes. You may choose to prewash the yardage prior to starting your sewing projects, but it may not be necessary. For long-term care of your sewn item, we recommend a cold wash and gentle tumble or line dry.
To maintain the crisp structure of the zipper pouches, we recommend spot cleaning only.
We recommend a cold wash and gentle tumble or line dry. A hot steam iron on the non-printed side will bring back a crisp shape.
Throws & Scarves
We recommend a cold wash and gentle tumble or line dry. Ironing with steam (on the reverse of printing) is up to you — we think a slightly rumpled look is cool and casual.
Totes & Project Bags
We recommend either spot cleaning or a cold wash and gentle tumble or line dry. If you wish to iron the bag into crisp shape again, a hot steam iron on the reverse of printing works great. Just turn the bag inside out and press.
Spot clean only, if necessary.
Why do you use linen for everything?
We love the character and beautiful earthiness of linen, and it combines naturally with our abstract design motifs. Most people know linen as a garment: it’s cooling (but also nice in Winter under a sweater), It's naturally anti-bacterial, anti-static, and was beloved by ancient Egyptians. And, as a napkin or tea towel, linen is strong and hard to beat for longevity. But, did you know that linen, which comes from the flax plant, is more sustainable to grow? Flax requires far less water and basically no fertilizer interventions, compared to other crops like cotton. Plus, the entire plant can be used (edible flax seeds, etc) and any unused portion can be composted. No wonder flax and linen have been part of human fiber culture for, literally, millennia. We're excited to continue learning about the efforts to revive the Oregon flax industry; we're keeping our fingers crossed for someday using local linen for Willow Ship goods.
What is block printing?
It's a special, labor-intensive printing process that yields a unique impression every time. After designing the motifs and cutting out my designs, I carefully apply custom-mixed, non-toxic, water-based, permanent fabric ink to my printing plates for each and every impression. Then I press the design into 100% linen fabric, repeating the process for additional color layers or repeat patterns. No two impressions are identical, rendering each Willow Ship item totally unique. My fabric pigments contain a slight sparkle in the formula, which looks beautiful against natural linen.
Are the products Made in America?
Yes, as much as currently possible. Aside from our base fabric, which we currently source from long-standing flax mills in Europe (hoping to source Oregon flax linen someday!), our inks are purchased from a US-based company, we work with a Portland-based, woman-owned sewing house, and we obviously handle the design and printing very close to home! (i.e., in our SE Portland studio.) All together, this ratio of sourcing allows us to say with pride that our products are US-made.
If I order a napkin set this year, will it be exactly the same as napkins I bought last year?
Not necessarily. We hand-mix batches of inks to our own specifications, so there could be some variance between batches. We also tend to tweak colors from season to season, so if you’re thinking you’ll eventually want 12 dinner napkins, best to get them all at once.
Why don’t you sell entire pillows (i.e., cover + insert)?
We’ve found that the shipping costs are drastically higher when shipping an insert with the cover. We feel it’s more economical and environmentally-friendly to sell covers and customers can then use the locally-obtained insert of their choice (down, alternative, etc). Many of our customers already have inserts on hand and simply want a new cover to swap in for a fresh look. Inserts can be purchased at your local sewing/craft store or online. We size our pillow covers for 18” inserts.
I see an item is out of stock. What if I need it now?
Let us steer you to our wonderful wholesale stockists; they frequently have a different product mix on hand. Just email us and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.
Do you offer custom work?
Sometimes, if it seems like a good fit! Typically, this would be a custom colorway for an existing style that we produce. Minimum custom order quantity of 12 units or sets (identical). Please email us your thoughts! firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you offer wholesale terms?
Yes! We’d love to learn about your shop. Please be in touch for the latest line sheet by emailing email@example.com
Do you sell to the trade?
Yes, please email to inquire: firstname.lastname@example.org