Size Guide - Click here for the Interactive Size Guide


Listed below are a selection of Frequently Asked Questions:


Thomas Ferguson's Online Retail Shop

General Linen

Irish linen

History

Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen

Thomas Ferguson Products

General Table linen

Bed Linen

Wholesale Store

Can I get fabric swatches?


Yes, swatches may be obtained for most fabric/designs. An option for ordering a swatch is found on relevant product pages (temporarily unavailable online). Unfortunately because filling an order for swatches involves many of the same steps required to fill a normal product order, we do have to make a small charge for swatches. This charge (up tp £10 max.) will be refunded on request if you subsequently make a single purchase in excess of £100.

Swatches of linen double damask and linen damask are available.


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How Long Does It Take To Get A Custom Item?


If your request is for a custom sized damask tablecloth with a cross-bordered/framed design which must be specially designed and woven, etc. Normally it will take 14-18 working weeks; if we have the design in our archive. Thomas Ferguson has a very great number of special sizes in the design archive, although they may not be offered in our standard range.

If we have to originate a new design or size it may take a further 3-6 weeks, i.e. 19-20 working weeks in total. However, this depends on sight of your artwork, and our work loads in the design department at the time.

Please ask if we have the design in our archive.

If we do have that design in our archive, and have woven it before there will be no extra charge for the special item. If we do have it in our archive but have never woven the size you require before there is a small design and administration charge to cover costs.

Design of New Size & Waiting to get loom time: 2 weeks (4-7 weeks if it is a new design or size which must be originated from scratch)

Weaving a batch size suitable for bleaching and finishing: 2-3 weeks

Bleaching, Dyeing and Finishing: 5-8 weeks

inspection/cutting/sewing/pressing/packing: 1-2 weeks

If your request is for a tablecloth, bedlinen, church linens, etc. cut and made from plain or all over design fabric which we hold in stock, unless it is a large order, we will dispatch in our normal delivery period, as stated in our delivery information. However, often we can dispatch quicker within approximately 2 weeks.

Ours is a craft weaving process and quality is paramount. We always try to ensure our customers long wait is made worthwhile, and please remember designs which must be originated mean your cloth is completely unique, and has never been made before.

Design department time is generally charged per hour. The better the quality artwork supplied, generally the quicker the job, and the lower the cost. As it requires very much less time trying to interpret the design; editing time, and getting customer approval.


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How Long Will It Take To Get A Standard Product from the online shop?


If the item is in stock we will endeavour to dispatch as soon as possible. Normally within 3-10 days, depending on the time of the year and volume of work. If items are required to be fast tracked for a special gift or occasion we will always do our best to help. This may sometimes require a small extra charge. Please contact us with details.

We do not use the cheapest means to ship your goods as these have proved to be very unreliable in the past. People often require linens to arrive as a gift for a wedding, or a tablecloth for a special event. It cannot be late, lost or damaged, and we use tried and tested methods of shipping, which work best from our area, and which limit these unwanted problems.

In our delivery information we state delivery will normally take place within 28 days from receipt of your order. This is in part to allow for periods of annual closure, or very busy periods. These normally occur:

  • Easter - One Week
  • July - Two Weeks
  • September - One Week
  • Christmas - Two Weeks

We usually try to be faster than this, and outside the closedown periods listed we usually are much quicker. If we are out of stock in any particular item we will contact you to see if you wish to cancel or wait.

Sometimes we need to ask for patience. Thomas Ferguson is a small craft weaver, and on occasions we may be lucky enough to get a glut of orders which may fill up our capacity in cutting or sewing, etc.

Please be assured despite how it might appear at times we are always trying our best for our customers.


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What Is The Thomas Ferguson Returns Policy?


Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen is committed to providing you with total satisfaction. You may cancel your purchase of goods by notifying Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen in writing within fourteen days of receiving the goods.

Your notification stating that you wish to cancel may be given either:

  • By post to the address shown on our contact page, marked for the attention of the internet sales or
  • By fax to fax number + 44 (0)28 406 22453 marked for the attention of Internet sales, or
  • By e-mail to Enquiries

You must then return the goods to Fergusons at your own expense. Note that if you fail to take reasonable care of the goods or soil or launder them Fergusons reserves the right not to accept their return. Fergusons will refund the full purchase price to you within 30 days of the receipt of your notice of cancellation.


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Please Explain Thomas Ferguson Shipping Costs?


Thomas Ferguson only charges shipping at cost.

These costs include the actual transportation costs, and the labour and material costs of transit packing.

Due to previous bad experiences Thomas Ferguson does not use the absolute cheapest method. Ferguson products are quite costly luxury goods, often purchased as gifts, and we must do our best to ensure reliable, on time delivery for our customers. We use the method we feel gives best all round value, even though it may cost extra.

All our carriers shipping costs are charged by weight. There is an initial delivery charge, then incremental increases based on weight. Therefore, you usually get better shipping value, per unit weight, the heavier your order. Obviously the further away you are, or if you live in a remote part of the world, the more the shippers charge.

On the whole Fergusons use shipping methods where delivery must be signed for. This allows a degree of tracking, compensation for loss, and usually provides a quicker more reliable service. The aim of all our couriers is to deliver to all but the most remote parts of the world in no more than 5-6 days. Delivery within Europe is usually no more than 3 days, and within the British Isles even quicker is aimed for.

Generally the methods used are:

UK- under 2kg Royal Mail Signed For

Elsewhere- under 2kg Royal Mail International Signed For

UK- Over 2kg DPD & IFS Courier UK

TNT Next day if requested (UK only)

Ireland (ROI & North)- over 2kg Fastways or DPD

Rest of the World- over 2kg Fedex

If you require a next day service this can be provided to some areas on request. This is charged at cost, where available.


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Tell us what items are packaged suitably for use as gifts?


In most cases the packaging is stated in the explanatory text which accompanies all products. If it is absent at this stage it is definitely stated at the shopping basket stage.

Thomas Ferguson, on the whole, has the following types of packaging:

  1. Luxury Gift Box (used mainly for damask table linen)
  2. Natural Kraft Box (used mainly for natural linens)
  3. Standard Box (used for bed linen other table linen)
  4. Polybag (same presentation as in box, minus box)
  5. Handkerchief Pack (small presentation pack)
  6. Other Items Pack (basic presentation for own use, not really suitable for gift)
  7. Loose or Shrinkwrapped (most basic presentation strictly for own use, not as gift. Used on more basic items)

All of the Thomas Ferguson fine linen damasks are supplied in luxury gift boxes. Natural (ecru) fine linens are supplied in natural kraft paper covered boxes which are in keeping with their natural finish.

Virtually all the rest of the Thomas Ferguson main table linen section in the online shop are supplied in gift boxes. The only exception are Etamine and Daisy Design table runners, which are supplied in a gift polybag presentation.

All Fergusons main section bedlinen is supplied in presentation boxes.

Handkerchiefs are generally supplied in packaging suitable for gifts.

The Gifts And Accessories supplied in boxes are suitable for gifts. Those in packs or polybags may be okay, but repackaging is recommended.

Tea Towels are quite basically packed, and again may be okay for gift packaging, but an upgrade is recommended.

Special Offers are definitely not packed as gifts. They are sold in basic packaging to keep the price down, as they are on the whole aimed at own use. Some of the handkerchief offers, or others where it is obvious from the image are of course suitably packaged for use as third party gifts.


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Will the shipper ask for my EIN (Federal Employer Identification Number)


U.S. customers may be asked to supply their E I N number by the shipping company, i.e. :, (Fedex). Your purchase will be held at U.S. customs for release, failure to supply this number may mean the items will be returned to Thomas Ferguson's, the supplier, and cause inconvenience for yourselves and a return shipping charge. 5 days are allowed before items are returned.

This is not a Thomas Ferguson requirement and should only be requested by US shipping companies. We believe it is for US tax reasons and also to do with the U.S. Patriot Act.


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Is the Thomas Ferguson online shop secure?


Thomas Ferguson appreciates customers concerns about security and does not cut corners by trying to handle credit card transactions ourselves. We use the services of experts. If you order through the online retail shop Thomas Fergusons do not hold customers credit card details.

All Thomas Ferguson online shop transactions are handled by Secure Trading. SecureTrading is the UK's leading independent Internet payment service provider.

Secure Trading systems are at physically secure locations, and use high levels of encryption to ensure the safety of your transaction information. Thomas Ferguson does not receive your credit card information, this is handled by Secure Trading.

When you get to the checkout stage of the Thomas Ferguson online shop if you look up at the URL of this page you will notice that it begins with https://. This means that it is on a Secure Server and all transactions that take place are encrypted between your browser and the server. Nobody is able to obtain your credit card details nor other information.

At the checkout stage you can pay with Visa, Switch, Mastercard, Solo or Delta.


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What do I do if I think I've duplicated my order?


Thomas Ferguson's internet payment service provider is Secure Trading. Secure Trading's system detects possible duplicates if all the data is identical, and suspends and does not settle both orders (only one is processed). This happens even if your duplicate order is intentional.

If your duplicate order is intentional please inform us so that we can have this default overridden.

Even though this safety feature is in place, it does no harm to inform us if you think you have duplicated an order.


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Online Shop Packaging Terms Explained


Thomas Ferguson uses various packaging options and your choice can depend on whether you want it as a gift for a friend or relation, or you want it for yourself.

As a general rule if the same item is offered in various packaging options, the lower the cost, the more basic and minimal the packaging. 

Box: suitable as a presentation gift

Polybag: suitable as a more basic gift pack

Shrink-wrapped: very basic packaging just to protect item from  soiling. Suitable for own use.

Retail Fold:a basic packaging method used for napkins and placemats. Suitable for own use.


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Is the Thomas Ferguson online wholesale store secure


All Thomas Ferguson online wholesale store transactions are handled by Secure Trading. SecureTrading is the UK's leading independent Internet payment service provider.

Secure Trading systems are at physically secure locations, and use high levels of encryption to ensure the safety of your transaction information. Thomas Ferguson does not recieve your credit card information, this is handled by Secure Trading.

When you get to the checkout stage of the Thomas Ferguson online wholesale store if you look up at the URL of this page you will notice that it begins with https://. This means that it is on a Secure Server and all transactions that take place are encrypted between your browser and the server. Nobody is able to obtain your credit card details nor other information.

At the checkout stage you can pay with Visa, Switch, Mastercard, Solo or Delta.


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I paid for shipping; why pay more on delivery?


You have paid for the price of the linens and for shipping to your delivery address, but any customers outside the EU have not been charged the 20% government Value Added Tax (VAT) all European Union customers must pay.

Instead they must pay the taxes or customs duties their own countries might levy on imported goods which are free from taxes. This varies from country to country. This is not a Thomas Ferguson related charge, but is internal to your own country.

These tax charges are usually passed on by Fedex or whatever other shipping company that has been used.


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Can I get my tablecloth pressed and ready to use?


Thomas Ferguson does not usually supply their linens pressed and ready to use, because it is creased by folding it to fit in the gift box, or pack. Usually only the presentation face of the linen is smoothed.

However, a few customers, from time to time, do ask for the tablecloths to be supplied ironed and ready to use. If this is required it can be done for most, but not all, tablecloths by contacting our sales team.

A pressed/ironed tablecloth is supplied rolled on a tube. It will not be in any gift boxes or packs. It is really only suitable for your own use. Depending on the size this will approximately cost an extra £12.50 (US $20).

 


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Why will the shop not accept my credit card?


If you are having trouble making a credit card payment in the Thomas Ferguson online shop, and you know there is no problems with your credit card, the problem is most likely with your own provider.

If you are making an overseas payment and this is not usual for you to do with your card your provider will most likely reject the payment thinking it may be fraudulent.

All that is usually required is a quick telephone call to your credit card provider to warn them that you are making an overseas payment and that it is genuine.

All Thomas Ferguson online shop transactions are handled by Secure Trading. SecureTrading is the UK's leading independent Internet payment service provider.

Secure Trading systems are at physically secure locations, and use high levels of encryption to ensure the safety of your transaction information. Thomas Ferguson does not receive your credit card information, this is handled by Secure Trading.



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What is Linen?


Linen is a yarn or fabric made from the cultivated flax plant, named 'Linum usitatissimum'. It is a cellulosic plant fibre, or bast fibre, and it forms the fibrous bundles in the inner bark of the stems of the plant. The plant is an annual that grows to a height of about a metre and the fibres run the entire length of the stem and help hold it upright.

The fibre strands are normally released from the cellular and woody stem tissue by a process known as retting (controlled rotting). In Ireland this was traditionally done in water, rivers, ponds or retting dams.

The original flax to be used for its fibre was the wild, Linum angustifolium. This is not grown commercially, and is found in southwestern Europe, including Britain, to the Mediterranean, Madeira and the Canaries. It is considered by some experts to be a distinct species in its own right and the parent of Linum usitatissimum, the cultivated flax.


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What is Linen Union?


Linen is a fabric produced with a mixture of flax linen and cotton, it has a cotton warp and linen weft.


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What is Irish linen?


For a good definition click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_linen

Also, for a video story, please click here.


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Why should I buy Irish Linen?


For some of the reasons why you should buy Irish linen please click here.

For a 360 degree view of Thomas Fergusons factory gift shop please click here. Fergusons sell a wide range of linens, including bargain end of line, over makes and discontinued linens.


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Tell me about the history of Irish linen?


http://www.fergusonsirishlinen.com/aboutLinen/?ID=2


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How best do I look after my Irish linen?


For general information on the care of Irish linen please click here.

Customers in North America might try the following resource. Please click here.


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How long will Irish linen last?


Irish linen is made from the natural flax fibre. One of nature's strongest vegetable fibres, it was used as the fibre of choice for the sails of the great clipper ships. It gets stronger when wet so is ideal to resist the rigours of the laundering process.

We are often asked how long Irish linen will last, but time is not the best measure of the value you are getting from your linens. A better and more accurate measure is the number of times it can be used, and the number of subsequent launderings before it wears out. When compared to the usage you would get from similar fabrics made from other natural fibres.

Linen fabrics can last for thousands of years if they are not used. As can be seen from funerary fabrics, and Mummy wrappings, found in ancient tombs.

In use linens are subject to repeated tension, abrasion, snags, burning and scorching. As well as chemical damage and the abrasive forces of the laundering process. Also, natural fibres may rub against harsh synthetic fibres in the washing machine drum. Bleach should never be used as a cleansing agent as it will severely weaken the fibres, and significantly reduce the life of the product.

A linen damask tablecloth may last several hundred uses, and launderings. If this is used on a few special occasions per year under normal domestic conditions the tablecloth may last generations. However, the same cloth under hotel conditions where it is used every other day may only last one or two years.

It is a similar principle for bed linen, but it is normally a lighter weight cloth, and it undergoes much more rigours in use as it must carry the weight and abrasive forces of a person lying on it. The bottom sheet is subject to much more wear than the top sheet, and the weight of the person, the fibres used in their sleeping attire, the softness/hardness of the mattress, whether or not harsh synthetic fibres are used in the mattress ticking etc. must be taken into consideration. If the ticking is a harsh, clammy, synthetic it is often best to put a natural fibre mattress protector between it and your expensive Irish linen sheet, to protect it from abrasion. Ferguson's normally supply two top sheets in a boxed set of sheets. This allows the bottom sheet to be rotated, and increase its life span.

Bearing these points in mind what we can say, generally speaking, is in the absence of bleach Irish linen should last several hundred normal domestic laundering processes, and it will outlast other weaker natural vegetable fibres such as cotton.

Ferguson's only use fabric constructions that have been tried and tested for many years. We do not change these weaves because we know from experience these fabrics give a good performance. We only buy the best quality yarns from which to weave our fabrics, and only use the best bleachers and finishers. So that  there should be minimal variation in the quality of our products from one year to the next.

Also, if there is a problem with a batch of fabric it would not be long before we knew as there would be multiple feedback.


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Are there any promotional films about Irish Linen?


A number of promotional films were made by the Irish Linen Guild mainly in the 1940's, 50's and 60's.

The most well known of these is probably The Wee Blue Blossom (1944), Directed by John Alderson.

Others include:

  • Irish Symphony (1952)
  • Irish and Elegant (1957)
  • To Last a Lifetime (1961)
  • Looking in on Irish Linen (1968)

If you wish to use any of these films they belong to the Irish Linen Guild, and they should be contacted.


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Who was Thomas Ferguson?


Read about history of irish linen


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Where Can I Get Historic Information About Irish Linen or Irish Linen Companies?


Thomas Ferguson may be able to help with some historic information relating to Irish linen and old Irish linen companies, or antique linens. However, this is not really our area of expertise. Likewise, The Irish Linen Guild may be able to help in a limited way, but it's function is really promoting modern Irish linen companies.

For valuations of antique linens it is probably best to contact a local auction house, or antique shop. For historic information on old companies, or linens a good point of contact is the Irish Linen Museum, in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.

For an historic tour of Edenderry village, please click here.


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Where might I buy OBA free detergent for my Thomas Ferguson linens?


As many of our customers know you should avoid detergents which contain Optical Brightening Agents (O.B.A.) as they will cause colours to alter slightly, every wash, and will detract from the appearance of the subtle white linen damask pattern. O.B.A. is particularly rious to natural unbleached linens, and may well change it's natural ecru colour to white over time. OBA free detergent is not easy to find in most stores, for one option for UK customers click here. North American customers might try here.


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How do I find Ferguson's Irish Linen premises?


Please see our listing on Google Maps, click here, and look for Fergusons Irish linen, Banbridge.


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Wholesale Customers


The main purpose of offering wholesale prices is to enable third parties to trade in Thomas Ferguson's Irish linen.

Thomas Ferguson Irish Linens is pleased to offer wholesale prices to trade customers who manufacture or sell linens, or to hotels, restaurants or laundries who use linen in significant quantities as part of their business.

We do not generally offer wholesale prices to businesses in unrelated trades who wish to buy small quantities for gifts, or for their own use. Simply being in business does not qualify a customer for wholesale prices. If in doubt please discuss with our sales staff.

Thomas Ferguson will offer discounts to business customers, from unrelated businesses, who wish to purchase significant quantities of linens for one-off promotions or gifts.

If you wish to set up a wholesale account please visit our contact our sales staff direct.


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Why should I take a tour of the Ferguson factory?


This is a unique opportunity to see the only factory still weaving Irish linen damask. A living example of Irish heritage.

Your group will have its own guide who will explain all the stages of Irish linen weaving. You will see Irish linen being woven on the loom, and taken through every stage to it leaves the factory. You will be free to ask as many questions as you can in the 30-40 minute tour.

Afterwards there will be the opportunity to look and and handle various examples of our craft; and purchase some if you wish.

 If you cannot come to the factory and take a real tour, please see our film.


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Does Thomas Ferguson have any other designs?


Thomas Ferguson Irish linen has nearly 200 damask tablecloth designs. Most of these are from our 19th and 20th century archives and have not yet been put in a format to weave on a modern loom. Many have not been woven for many years.

If you want a very unique tablecloth or napkin woven from these archive designs please email for details. There will be an extra charge for design work.

Please see an album of our archived designs by clicking here.

 

 

 


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Does Thomas Ferguson supply ecclesiastical linen


Yes, Thomas Ferguson for many years has supplied ecclesiastical/liturgical linen fabrics, or we can alternatively supply made up and embroidered items such as altar cloths, purificators, corporals, lavabo towels, palls, credence cloths, etc.

For further information please contact our sales team.


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Does Thomas Ferguson sell apparel fabrics?


Whilst a number of the fabrics Thomas Ferguson have in their range can be used for apparel this is not their main market.

Thomas Ferguson mainly focus on luxury household textiles made from linen.

Thomas Ferguson works very closely with another company called John England (Banbridge) Ltd. John England can provide a wide range of apparel fabrics woven from 100% linen and also blends of linen with wool and other fibres. These are available in a number of colours from stock, and special dye runs can also be supplied for quite low minumums.

John England also supplies a range of coloured fabrics for curtains and upholstery.

We strongly recommend that any customers looking for fabrics of these type contact the John England sales team. To contact John England sales please click here.

 

 


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Is flax (linen) difficult to weave?


Even though flax has a high tensile strength the weaving effeciency for flax is very low. Few other fibres are as difficult to weave as flax. It is said the effeciency of flax is 20% lower than that for cotton weaving.

To weave flax it is important the ambient conditions are best suited. The weaving area should be air conditioned so that the relative humidity is at least 75% (21 degrees centigrade), anything lower reduces weaving effeciency.

It is also important to keep the dust produced from the yarns rubbing against each other and the machinery to a minimum. This can reduce weaving effeciency and reduce the quality of the fabric.


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Do Ferguson's supply hotels and restaurants?


Most hotels and restaurants come to Thomas Ferguson because they want quality bespoke items, and they want the facility of being able to get small top-ups.

Ferguson's can weave linens with your own design or company logo, or use standard products and embroider a logo on them. Special dye runs can also be done for relatively short batches, and widths can be woven up to 3 metres wide.

Some hotels take just kitchen towels or glass cloths with their name on the centre stripe, others take custom tablecloths or napkins, or huckaback towels for guest or bidet towels. Irish linen bed linen can also be supplied to custom sizes.

Many of our customers realize the advantage of being able to use the Irish linen brand in their marketing as it is another thing to set them apart from the norm. Other just want European, or UK made products.

 


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Will Irish Linen Shrink when laundered?


The simple answer is yes. It is a natural product made from natural fibres and will shrink in the wash. If the after wash dimensions are important to you the fabric can be pre-shrunk or  over-sized to reasonably well allow for shrinkage. The majority of Thomas Ferguson standard items do not allow for shrinkage. So if in doubt please ask.

Some of Thomas Fergusons plain linens have a  Controlled Compressive Shrinkage procedure applied to them ( SANFORIZED ). If you require these fabrics to be used please ask sales.

For more information on shrinkage and sizing please click here.


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Do Ferguson's still make their own products?


Thomas Ferguson is involved in the design, weaving, cutting, stitching and packaging of finished articles. Over 95% of all items sold are made, or have work done on them, in our premises, and 100% of all our damask linens.

A few items such as our Ref.009 range of table linen we can no longer get made in Ireland, because of the complex hand stitching, so this is designed by us and made overseas.

However, to keep control of the quality, and because of the very small batch sizes and bespoke nature of our business we very much try to keep as much of the production under our control as possible.

We run tours to show members of the public how Irish linen is woven, you are welcome to come and see, or you can take a virtual tour.


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What are corded handkerchiefs or bordered handkerchiefs?


Men's and, to a lesser degree, ladies' handkerchiefs, are produced with a border running round the four sides. The border may be composed of cords or tapes or a combination of both. Cords are made up of a heavy 3-ply cotton which stands out from the ground linen yarns. Tapes are made up of a 2-ply cotton with 3-ply binders at either side to define them.

When bordered linen handkerchiefs are bleached in the piece, we have an all-white cloth, but the Cords and Tapes, made from heavier yarn than the ground linen yarns, stand out in relief.

by S. C. LUTTON


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What is Linen Damask?


Linen damask is a figured fabric made from one warp and one weft in which, generally, warp-satin and weft-sateen weaves interchange. Twill or binding weaves are sometimes introduced.

Pure Linen Damask is the name given to products woven from pure flax yarns in a special manner so that subtle patterns are visible even in an all white cloth, woven from all white yarns. This process requires threads to be woven in contrasting directions, which creates a pattern that is visible when viewed at certain angles. Across large surfaces, damask fabrics are most extraordinary, as shifting light sources continually reveal new designs to the eye in hide and seek fashion.

Thomas Ferguson's often large complex designs are produced on looms with Jacquard attachments to give even more control of the warp and weft yarns during weaving.


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What is the difference between Linen Damask and Linen Double Damask?


Double damask is a fabric from another era. To maximise the production benefits of modern weaving looms a higher warp thread count is normally used than weft thread count. This allows more cloth, of a given weight, to be produced for less weft picks.

Double damask is different from ordinary damask in that it has a lower warp thread count than weft thread count; this allows a dense high thread count fabric to be produced, as the weft yarns are beat up tight in the fabric. However, it is a much more expensive way of weaving because it takes longer to weave a given length of fabric. Also, to allow this dense packing of yarn a looser twill weave is used than in ordinary damask.

Apart from the higher thread count there are certain designs which are exclusive to double damask, because the higher number of yarns allows finer definition and some designs, such as Fine Scroll, because of its fine detail require the high thread count of double damask to bring out the best in it.

So to summarise the differences, double damask uses finer more high quality weft yarn, it has a higher weight per unit area, it has more weft picks than warp ends per inch, it is a different weave, it is a more expensive weaving process because you get less fabric per hour because of the extra picks, and often the loom has to be run slower to avoid damaging the yarns because of the tight beat up. On top of this its designs can be more intricate because of the higher definition allowed with the greater thread count. It will also last longer as the finer higher quality yarns allow more launderings, and hence a longer life.

In the past when there were many Irish linen companies, and there was over-capacity of production in the industry. Some unscrupulous weavers, in order to use the name double damask, produced a lower quality fabric by lowering the thread count. They wished to use the name, because a proper well made double damask was associated with quality, and could achieve a premium price in the market.

As stated earlier, to allow the dense packing of yarn, a looser twill weave is used when weaving double damask than in ordinary damask. This requires a high thread count to stabilise the fabric. With a low thread count this was not the case.

These poorly made fabrics were sub standard, and normal damask was in many instances a better buy. This forced the hand of the Irish Linen Guild and they brought in a minimum thread count for double damask.

Those days are long gone, and today, Thomas Ferguson double damasks are most defintely a high quality, premium product, woven from superior quality yarns to normal damask. Giving a higher definition design capability, a longer life. Most of all an overall higher quality product, a best in the world, that will be another small thing to surround yourself with that will help enrich your general quality of life.

"My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky"
 William Wordsworth


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Do my linens need to be dry cleaned?


Thomas Ferguson's linen does not need to be dry cleaned. All Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen can be easily cared for at home.


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What is the widest fabric which Thomas Ferguson can weave?


Thomas Ferguson can weave Linen Damask fabric up to approx. 3m (117 inches) wide. Plain linen is also available in a similar maximum width. There is almost no limit to the length which can be woven.


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Do you supply sizes other than those listed?


Yes, this is what Thomas Ferguson specialise in, we are pleased to offer custom sizes in many of our collections.

For further information or to order a custom size, please contact us and we will be happy to help you.

Please note that custom items are not returnable unless defective, and as they are often designed, woven, finished and made up from scratch they can take 12-14 weeks to complete. Custom sizes which are made up from standard fabric will take only a few weeks, and can be fast tracked in a shorter period if required, at a small extra charge.


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What is a Cross Bordered/Framed Design Tablecloth?


Proper damask tablecloths come in a number of standard sizes. A good tablecloth will have damask pattern specially designed to fit each standard size. They will have a plain border, and a square, rectangular, circular or oval (D-End) outer pattern, and an inner pattern running around all four sides. If there is one flaw in one of these tablecloths during weaving or making-up the whole item is lost, so they are very costly to produce.

Cheaper tablecloths can be cut from plain, or damask fabric with an all over design, or with the two pattern bands running the whole length of the fabric (no cross bands). The tablecloth of the required size does not have to be designed, but can be simply cut to size from the fabric bolt. This tablecloth is less costly to produce because if there is a small fault on the fabric, that small strip can simply be cut off, wasting maybe only a few centimetres.


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What is a D-End Tablecloth?


Tablecloths although sometimes referred to as oval in shape, are usually not. They should strictly be referred to as D-ended. The middle part of each tablecloth has straight sides, and only the ends are semi-circular, or D-ended, to fit a table of the same shape.


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What Size Of Tablecloth Do I Require To Fit My Table?


Thomas Ferguson stock sizes fit standard size tables. If you require a custom size tablecloth please contact us. We will be pleased to help.

As a rule of thumb, 30cm (12 inches) should be allowed for drape at each side and end, meaning that a tablecloth should ideally be 60cm (24 inches) wider and longer than the corresponding table. To help with the calculation please see the Thomas Ferguson Tablecloth Size Calculator.

This calculator does not take natural shrinkage into account. This can be ignored on smaller tablecloths, but on large tablecloths, where shrinkage can be significant, a washed size cloth should be asked for, i.e. this is manufactured and supplied oversized to allow for shrinkage.

If you require a different overhanging/drape length on your tablecloth, maybe down to the ground, this will need to be calculated separately. The size calculator does not allow for this.


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Why Bother With A Tablecloth?


This article which was pointed out to us in the Massachusetts publication, South Coast Today. Probably sums it up with the use of irony.

"

Thanksgiving is time of year when everyone should bother

Why use a tablecloth when it's sure to get stains on it? A plastic cover only requires wiping. Why use real napkins, when they would only need to be washed and ironed afterwards? Paper can be thrown away. Why use the silver, when it would have to be polished first? There's enough of the everyday stuff if the children use the picnic things. Why use the good china, when it probably shouldn't go in the dishwasher and will have to be done by hand? With paper plates, you don't even have to scrape off the garbage. Why use the good glasses, when someone is bound to break one? With plastic glasses, no one has to be nervous. Why get flowers for the table, when they're so expensive and they don't last? Nobody notices, anyway. Why set the table at all, when things can be put out buffet-style for people to take what they want? That way, you don't have to serve them and they can fight among themselves over the drumsticks. Why use platters, when it would just mean getting something else dirty? Today's pots are made to go from the oven to the table. Why plan on having everyone sit down together, when they always wander in at different times and get up from the table whenever they feel like it? They would probably prefer watching television during dinner to making conversation, anyway. Why dress up, when jeans and running clothes are more comfortable? It's only going to be family and friends. Ah, yes. Welcome to the contemporary Thanksgiving dinner, where the theme of the day is: Why bother? This is a rather serious revision of the old theme, which Miss Manners recalls as having to do with giving thanks for bounty and the ability to share it with honored guests. It also happens to wipe out the purpose of ceremony as a special occasion where the spiritual meaning is symbolically expressed in aesthetic terms. Mind you, Miss Manners is not indifferent to the fact that it takes work and money to put on a festive dinner. She wouldn't dream of wondering why the holiday trash is filled with cans and cartons, or whether the hosts have personally crushed cranberries into jellied oblivion. And she is aware that gracious celebrations are often put on by people whose only collection of silver is kept in their change purses. It's not the dry goods; it's the attitude. No, wait. Miss Manners doesn't quite mean that. It's the dry goods, too. Let's not have any of that nonsense along the lines of "What's the difference how I dish out the food as long as I have a good heart?" What she means is that hospitality is about taking whatever trouble you can, and putting out the best of what you have, whatever it is. Deciding that the best household possessions are too good to be used for the same people family and friends who sent them as wedding presents in the first place is not what she would call the proper spirit. Thus, it is the concept of hospitality, much more than the silver, that has become tarnished and ugly. Hosts have adopted the cynical approach of asking what's in it for them. Admittedly encouraged in this by guests who won't do their share who won't show up when asked, dress for the occasion, stay through the meal, or make themselves charming to others they refuse to put themselves out for a bunch of ingrates. The result is that there will be a lot of hosts and guests assembling for the holidays with the determination to do as little as possible to put themselves out for one another. Miss Manners wonders why they bother."

From:http://www.s-t.com/daily/11-96/11-17-96/e11ad018.htm


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How do I set a table properly?


Taking advice from the Emily Post Institute which states that setting a table is not as difficult as it seems. There are three occasions described:

  1. Basic Everyday Place Setting
  2. Informal Place Setting
  3. Formal Place Setting

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How accurate a size do I need to quote for my tablecloth?


All Thomas Ferguson linens are quoted to a size tolerance of +/- 3% (not including shrinkage), as is stated on account holders order acknowledgements.

Weaving linen is a craft art and is not a precision science such as engineering with metal. Exact sizes are not easily achievable, nor are they normally necessary, so Ferguson's do not usually go to the extra costs of producing near precise sizes unless the customer makes a clear and specific request, in writing, for a very special purpose. Under certain circumstances they can be achieved, to a reasonable level of precision, at an extra cost.

It must also be remembered that fabrics made from natural fibres such as linen shrink after laundering. This is stated on the label and can be in the order of 4 to 5% in the width and 7 to 8% in the length. However, with most items other than very long tablecloths this is not too significant, and can to an extent be disregarded by allowing a reasonable all round of 30-45cm (12-18"), on top of the table top dimensions. For long cloths please ask Ferguson's.

All items can be produced oversized to allow for shrinkage. So sizes quoted are after wash dimensions. This is done by request only.

You can use the Ferguson interactive size guide to help choose a tablecloth size, for your table. This will direct you to the nearest standard size which is normally in stock, however specials, or custom sizes can be made on request.

It is much more cost effective for customers to accept the nearest standard size than to request a special custom cloth be designed and woven.


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I do not understand what size of sheet I require for my bed?


For further help on sheets and pillowcases and their sizes.A good explanation is found in Wikipidia, and in about.com.

Beds come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Most countries have a standard set of four sizes of mattresses. While the Double size appears to be standard among English speaking countries, based on the imperial measurement of 4ft 6in by 6ft 3in, the sizes for other bed types tend to vary. The European sizes differ; they are based on the metric system.

The sizes in the UK, other than the Double, vary compared to the U.S. sizes, being generally smaller. The U.S. Queen corresponds to UK King and King to Super King. The European or continental basic sizes are similar to the UK but have a set length of 2 metres. The denominations Queen, King and Super King are not used in continental Europe, and Double refers to 140cm or any higher width. Instead of these US/UK denominations, the bed width is given in centimeters.

With flat sheets the size should be at least 24" (61cm) wider and longer than the mattress. If you own an extra-deep mattress, be aware of the extra allowance required. Choose the largest sizes available so there will be an adequate length to tuck in at least 12" (31cm) underneath the end of the bed. In some cases it may be necessary to purchase the next size up (a queen flat sheet for a double bed, etc.), in order to cover the deeper mattress.

For fitted sheets Fergusons make these individually for each customer. You will need to supply the mattress width, length and depth.

Pillowcases should be at least 4" (10cm) longer than the pillow. For more on pillows and the sizes click here.


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What does the count of bed linen mean?


Thread count generally applies to woven fabrics. It is the number of weft yarns (picks) in a specified length of fabric plus the number of warp yarns (ends) in a specified width of the fabric. Warp and weft strands are counted as single units, regardless of the number of yarn plies.

In the case of bed linen consumers have often been misled by claims of thread counts. Its definition has at times been corrupted to mean the number of threads, both vertical and horizontal, multiplied by their respective number of single yarns in a plied yarn in a one-inch square of fabric. This meant a fabric made from two ply yarns was described as 800 count, when it should have correctly been labelled 400 count.

Thread count is a simple measure of the quality of the fabric and it refers to its coarseness or fineness. Whilst this may be a consideration, there are other important features to consider when measuring comfort, quality, and value: the type of fibre, the reaction obtained from the sense of touch of the fabric, and the nature of the finishing process.

Often people try to measure the quality of linen sheets by trying to compare the thread counts of linen with the more familiar cotton bed linen counts. However, to compare the thread count of one with the other is not to compare like with like. The count can only really be used to compare cotton sheeting with cotton sheeting and vice versa.

Flax linen is generally regarded as one of the finest qualities of bed linen you can buy, cool crisp linen bed sheets are prized above all others for their enhanced properties and their naturalness, purity, smoothness, durability and beauty, and they are considered by many to be the healthiest material for sleeping. Made from the fibre of the flax plant, linen has by its nature a lower thread count than cotton percale as the threads are thicker and more loosely woven. Also, as the yarn is rarely used in the plied form there is less confusion as to whether it is the true thread count or not. When new, linen has a slightly 'slubby' appearance, but the more it is washed the softer and more luminous it becomes. So it improves with age and use. Linen is more expensive than cotton, as it requires many more process to take it to the fabric stage, but with normal domestic use it is very long lasting and once you've experienced sleeping in linen, nothing else is quite the same.

Thomas Ferguson bed linen technical details are as follows:

Superior Range (Ref.No.12):  22 ends/cm (44 linen lea NeL) x 22 picks/cm (44 linen lea NeL)

Premier Range (Ref. No.13): 29.5 ends/cm (55 linen lea NeL) x 26.3 picks/cm (66 linen lea NeL)

Premier Deluxe Range (Ref. No.16): 30 ends/cm (74 linen lea NeL) x 28 picks/cm (74 linen lea NeL)


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Is Ferguson's bed linen eco friendly?


This is quite well explained by Otto Furniture.

"Hemp and flax, in stark comparison with cotton, grow like weeds without little if any help from potentially dangerous chemicals, need a fraction of the water, are waste-free crops (producing, for instance, seeds, oils and a fibrous pulp that is used for bank notes) and actually enhance soil rather than depleting it.
And what is more, linen is luxuriantly cooling and although it tends to be considerably more expensive and time-consuming than cotton, the initial outlay and upkeep are more than repaid by decades of pleasurable use. Isn't ironing the new baking, anyway?"


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Drop Shipping Service


Thomas Ferguson provide a drop ship shipping service to wholesale customers who place orders via the Thomas Ferguson online wholesale facility .

To find out more please contact our sales staff, or register for the online wholesale facility.


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Will Fergusons carry sufficient stock for my shop?


Thomas Ferguson has a very wide product range and cannot carry stock in every item. Fergusons does try to carry some stock of all the items listed in the standard wholesale price list, or on the online shop.

Ferguson's usually tries to carry sufficient stock of each of the items in the price list to last 3 months. This is based on historical sales. However, sometimes sales of a particular item, or a range of items, takes off and we are caught short. Fergusons is a small business and we rely on our retailers, and distributors also carrying some buffer stock so that the end the end user can always buy Ferguson's linens.

If you wish always to have stock available it is definitely best to try to plan and place forward orders and then call them off over the year. These can then be woven early and made up ready for you to call off when you wish.


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Can I get better prices by buying online?


The prices on all online purchases are discounted. This is to incentivize customers to use this means of ordering. The prices in the online wholesale store cannot be used if a customer wishes to telephone or fax their order. In this case prices should be taken from the latest Thomas Ferguson printed price list, which is available on request.


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How do I get wholesale prices?


To get Thomas Ferguson linens at wholesale prices you must register on the wholesale part of our site. Or speak to a member of the sales team.

The main purpose of offering wholesale prices is to enable third party companies to trade in Thomas Ferguson's Irish linen.

Thomas Ferguson Irish Linens is pleased to offer wholesale prices to trade customers who manufacture or sell linens, or to hotels, restaurants or laundries who use linen in significant quantities as part of their business.

We do not generally offer wholesale prices to businesses in unrelated trades who wish to buy small quantities for gifts, or for their own use. Simply being in business does not qualify a customer for wholesale prices.

Thomas Ferguson will offer discounts to business customers, from unrelated businesses, who wish to purchase significant quantities of linens for one-off promotions or gifts.


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How does your drop shipping facility work?


Drop shipping is becoming increasingly popular with online retailers and suppliers. Thomas Ferguson's online wholesale store is now offering our wholesale customers the option to use a drop shipping facility alongside the standard shipping method. This new process is really very simple to use.

Drop shipping enables retailers to sell Thomas Ferguson linens without having to hold large quantities of stock. You sell the product to the customer at a retail price which you decide. Once your customer has placed the order with you, you then place the order with the Ferguson online wholesale website, in the normal way, at a wholesale price. At the shopping basket stage, you add the new shipping address for your customer, and choose the shipping option. Ferguson's then send the product straight to your customer. This saves any further effort on your part, and also saves one extra shipping cost, from you to your customer. You invoice your own customer, and you keep the difference between wholesale and retail prices for your efforts.

Due to initial set up costs for the account we do ask that the first order is at least £300 (US $500 or €400). There is no limit after that. However, we would remind customers that the shipping costs can be disproportionately high on small or low value orders.

Thomas Ferguson's will not solicit your customer for sales thereafter.

If you have any queries regarding our drop shipping facility please do not hesitate to contact us.


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What is the minimum wholesale order size?


If you qualify as a wholesale customer.

The minimum wholesale order size is:

Thomas Ferguson range:    £300 (US $500)

            Brownlow range:    £150 (US $250)

There is free packing and delivery within the UK and Ireland for orders over £1,000 in value.

There are no minimum orders on the Thomas Ferguson online wholesale store for repeat business. However to open an account an initial order of £300 ($500) must be paced to demonstrate a degree of commitment


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© Thomas Ferguson & Co Ltd.
www.fergusonsirishlinen.com | Registered in N.I. No. R713 | VAT No. GB 251785447
Address: 54 Scarva Road, Banbridge, Co. Down, Northern Ireland BT32 3QD
Tel: +44 (0) 28 4062 3491 | Fax: +44 (0) 28 4062 2453 | Web Design Northern Ireland by ITS

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