To find the most authentic Italian linens and Italian linen items at reasonable prices without the fear of being duped can be a real challenge for most people. Just to find a place without going to Italy that sells genuine top quality Italian linen can be difficult. Or, you can become one of the millions of savvy internet shoppers who know how to take advantage of all the information out there to get you to the best stores. So what’s the best way to succeed in your quest? Discussed below are 5 ideas to help you succeed at finding the best quality Italian Linens and Italian Linen Items at the best prices:
1. Look for highest grade cotton and linen used for your favorite kitchen, bath, bed and dining linen. It is all about the fibers – if they are short, stubby, and brittle fibers – manufacturers may be able to weave them into threads, but once that thread hits the washer and dryer it is going fall apart. Note how the lint balls in the washer and the layers of lint in your dryer filter that is all coming off of whatever you wash. Not even the term Egyptian cotton will guarantee you high quality. It is a variety of cotton. There is good and bad Egyptian cotton. It is all about the specific plant and the growing conditions. The best cotton is a long strong and fluffy fiber. This is crucial because the fibers will determine the durability, feel, and look of the fabric that will last a long time, wash after wash. Yes, we are talking years and decades compared to cheap imitation imports that lose their original luster in a few washes. If you buy the fine quality Italian linens you actually save money by not having to buy the alternate cheap imports again and again.
2. Find out what kind of dye has been used, how deep and clear it and fast it is and how it is set. The best quality linens use fast vegetable dyes that are permanent and do not fade even after many washes. Some of these colors can actually withstand bleach as well if they are set properly using high temperature steam. Since beauty of the patterns is so dependent on neat and crisp printing, there is no substitute for the finest Italian linen fabrics.
3. You should also know about the printing process on your favorite Italian linen. Is it machine-printed or hand-stamped with hand-carved-woodblocks? What kind of wood does the maker use is also important to know (Pear wood is the best!). For example hand wood block printing with fast vegetable dyes is considered the best and most permanent printing technique. The reason is that by putting the dye on a woodblock and then pounding that woodblock on top of fabric the maker is able to force the dye deep into the fabric which will actually make it look as if it were embroidered. The skill of the maker is also vital since getting an even color on the woodblock and then getting all of the stamps to have the same depth of color without smears and smudges takes years of practice to achieve the kind of mastery expected from the finest Italian linen makers. Therefore, it is important to know how they are making their linens as much as what materials they are using to be able to determine the value of the product.
4. Research and learn about well known lines of traditional Italian linen such as the famous Bertozzi linens from a the Romagna region in Italy or the perhaps more widely known Tuscan linens (Busatti is perhaps most famous and then there are less well known makers such as Giulianna Ricami who still offer fantastic designs and quality). Obviously, taste varies from customer to customer and makers have their particular style, design, and colors. Fortunately, the more traditional makers do products that have stood the test of time and have helped make Italy probably the top maker of fabric in the world (the French use a lot of Italian fabrics in their work!). Note in this business big is not better! Origin, quality, artistry and tradition make for the finest quality Italian linens – not mass production, fancy ads and clever branding!
5. Unfortunately, high quality Italian linens are not available in every local market. However, you can use the internet to find the best Italian Linen Stores on the web. Use all the previous 4 tips to identify the online store that meets all these criteria. If they are carrying authentic linens from these well recognized lines such as woodblock linens by Bertozzi and traditional Tuscan linens by Giuliana Ricami. It is also better to go with direct importers since they eliminate the middle man which leads to a better price quality ratio. Obviously, a direct importer, selling on the internet, has less operating costs compared to traditional malls or neighborhood stores. Therefore, they can pass on the savings to their customers. Item to item they will be less expensive than a big time retailer in a fancy shopping mall or a boutique. Plus if they are out of state you typically are not charged sales tax which can cover the cost of shipping. Furthermore, online shopping has become so much more secure with customer reviews and comments about the stores freely available.