We live an active lifestyle with large, furry dogs - our feet on the couch, sand on the floor and dogs in our laps. Our stuff gets dirty and takes a beating. It's used and loved until the colors fade, textures soften and threads are worn out. Nothing would make us happier than for you to do the same with the Willywaw products that you purchase, so here are a few tips to keep your handprinted items looking good for as long as possible.
Our fabrics are hand printed with water-based, textile pigment inks. We use natural fibers; linen, hemp, cotton and other cellulose fibers like rayon and bamboo. With the exception of the heavy tote canvas, all of our fabrics are pre-washed and shrunk before printing. This helps the ink to bind to the fibers, removes any sizing and gives it a wonderful hand.
To maintain good wash fastness, please wash separately with cold water on delicate and tumble or line dry. DO NOT use bleach, Oxiclean or any bleach like products. Iron if desired. Over time, some loss of color is expected and will be more apparent on fabrics that have a heavy tooth (rough surface) such as the hemp canvas. But don't worry. We love the vintage appeal of old textiles with the colors knocked down and yarns broken in. We'd say they get better with age.
Our totes are printed with same water-based textile inks as our fabrics. We use heavy weight army duck, chosen for it's smooth surface and stiff hand. We often get asked about washing the totes and our best answer is to let it get dirty and wear it out! If you launder (wash and tumble dry) the tote it will get limp and look sad. The canvas is not pre-shrunk nor is the cotton webbing. Both may shrink, soften and loose all of it's character and stiffness. We have several totes that we have laundered, as a last ditch effort because they were past their prime and well, filthy. They are now gentle and have mellowed with age and we still keep them around and use them because we have a lot of love for old things. You can try spot cleaning as well but note that you may rub off the pigment with too much scrubbing.
My preference for pillow inserts is "synthetic down". I know, it sounds a bit silly, but really, the inserts I use are high quality, 100% polyester with a silky feel. They're hypoallergenic, soft, light and fluffy with the "feel" of down. They don't clump and wash beautifully, reviving their shape and loft.
I've never been a fan of feather/down pillows. Aside from the cost, and you'll be paying a fortune for 100% down, feathers tend to poke through the fabric and have a "crunchy" and unpleasant sound. I also can't help but think about the poor duck or goose that had it's feathers plucked out. There's only three methods for doing so - post mortem, live plucking (cruel!), or gathering (sounds better but isn't really).
Our t-shirts from Comfort Colors are 100% cotton and pre-shrunk. We currently use plastisol ink - do not iron - it will melt! Wash like colors together - darks in cold water and whites in warm, tumble dry.
If you've purchased a limited edition serigraph or watercolor, we highly recommend using UV protected, conservation glass when framing. Be mindful of where you place the artwork. Moist environments (ie. bathrooms without good ventilation) or in direct sunlight will be harmful and environmental factors can devalue the work and your investment.