Sometimes, actually most of the time, it is the little things that make our day happy, like stepping out of the shower and wrapping yourself in a rich, thick towel; getting into a bed with fine, smooth sheets welcoming you after a busy day or setting your table at night or on holidays with linens that, for some reason, turns ‘eating’ into ‘dining’.
Now is not only a good time to take stock of your linen closet, but to think of giving good linens and towels as gifts for the holidays or for the new bride on the horizon. A word (or two) of advice. Buy wisely. Sheets and towels should only be bought once in a long while. There are tons of linen companies out there. Go to any big box store and you’ll find collections galore very reasonably priced. However, if you are constantly replacing them, you are probably buying an inferior quality, sacrificing comfort and wasting your money. When you buy quality linens you end up saving money over the long run as they will last that much longer and besides, you will enjoy them so much more on a daily basis. This is part of living well and you don’t have to be rich to do it. You just have to buy smart.
We had the pleasure of visiting the Matouk factory in Fall River, Massachusetts to see how linens, bedding and towels are made.
Matouk is one of the finer linen houses best known for their quality, custom work and fine craftsmanship. An American based company in Rhode Island, this family business is run by its third generation, George Matouk, whose grandfather and founder, John Matouk, came to the United States from Damascus via Italy where he learned the fine arts of linen and lace production. After immigrating to New York, they moved their facilities to southern New England, the birthplace of American textile production which still, to this day, boasts of a community of skilled craftspeople.
Besides their classic designs, Matouk teamed up with Lulu deKwiatkowsk – Lulu DK to create Matouk’s Lulu DK Line, which is fun, fresh, fanciful and simply beautiful. See the video below about Lulu and her design philosophies and you’ll see why she and Matouk make such a perfect match.
The factory in Fall River has been recently renovated to accommodate the growing business. The skilled workers hand cut and measure every tablecloth, place mat, towel, pillow sham and sheet made from finely woven cottons and Cairo & Egyptian Terry toweling that is shipped in from Europe arriving in large bolts. The intricate quilting, blankets and tablecloths are created here, every edge and monogram done meticulously by hand utilizing methods that have been passed down over the years from worker to worker. State of the art custom quilting machines sit next to vintage Singer Sewing Machines that still are the only machines able to produce some of the fine workmanship for which Matouk is known.
The highest quality sheets are made of Egyptian cotton. Usually the higher the number, the finer the quality, but if you go too high, let’s say to a 1000 count, you are dealing with a more fragile cotton fiber. Prime count is between 300 to 600 for luxury and wear.
When you hear cotton sateen, percale and combed cotton it refers to the weave of the cotton.
– A cotton sateen created a soft shiny and luxurious sheet and is a more delicate weave.
– Percale is 100% cotton which is combed producing a tight, soft, durable and wrinkle resistant sheet.
– Combed Cotton removes many of the impurities resulting in a smooth and soft sheet.
– Linen, when woven correctly for sheets produces a lovely, luxurious shirt weight bedding.
We are big advocates of line drying sheets- they come out just about pressed and do not have to go through the rigors of the dryer. If that is not a possibility in your life, dry them on a low heat and if needed, give them a quick press. Read more in our Laundry Lessons and Ironing Shirts.
You can look at buying sheets, towels and linens as investing in your quality of life. Buy one set of sheets at at time, give a set of pillowcases for a Christmas gift or place mats and napkins for 4 place settings. Add to it over time. These are definitely not cheap, but once you sample Matouk, you will never go back.
The Matouk Factory
Even though the new high tech machines are in place, the company cafeteria the envy of any restaurant and the offices beautiful, the factory still produces in the traditional, proven methods that make Matouk one of the best linen companies in the world.