Organic cotton is produced without the use of harmful chemicals. Thus, it is far better for both the environment and the people who cultivate it. Furthermore, organic cotton is softer, and far more durable than non-organic cotton and, natural anti-baterial properties of organic cotton means it resists mildew. We feel this justifies the slightly higher price of organic cotton products and are committed to providing our customers organic options.
Not only do handmade product preserve traditional handicrafts which would otherwise die out in many places, but they are typically of higher quality than mass-produced goods. They are made with love and great attention to detail which is evident in the final product. Each handmade product is slightly unique which we love!
When putting together our first collection of pestemals, we visited a large number of producers, most of whom made their products on machines. We brought each item home, washed it a few times, used it, and sought feedback. The difference between the handwoven pestemals and the machine made pestemals was incredible – there was simply no comparison in the touch and quality of the product. We have taken this experience and translated it into our other products as we have grown by seeking out the best artisan-producers we can find when developing new products.
Many of our products are designed and made in the Bay Area. Our playmats are printed and sewn in San Francisco. Our shibori napkins dyed, cut and sewn in Oakland; our other napkins are made from hand-loomed Turkish textiles and cut and sewn in Oakland. And, our Hmong textile table runners and pillows are made from vintage Hmong textiles sourced from Thailand and cut and sewn in the Bay Area.
Yep, we are parents too and would never sell you a product as unpractical as playmat that is not machine washable. We designed our playmat to be non-toxic, eco-friendly, organic and practical. As such, we recommend that it be machine washed and tumbled dry on low/medium heat. It will get softer and more supple with each wash. Like a favorite pair of jeans, as your playmat is broken in, it obtains a somewhat "vintage" look and feel.
Yes, we have found pestemals to be more absorbent than terry cloth towels. Furthermore, our pestemals are handwoven from 100% organic cotton which grows more absorbent with each wash. Traditional cotton is treated with chemicals to “break it in” which reduces its absorbency. Organic cotton must be naturally “broken in” with time, use, and washing. Once broken in (after 3-4 washes), it is far softer and more absorbent than traditional cotton.
Most of our full-sized pestemal (e.g. not kid's towels or tea towels) are approximately the same size. The exact size of each towel varies slightly depending on the loom it was woven on; however, they are all woven to be large bath sheets or beach towels. You won't find any skimpy towels around here!
The primary differences between collections has to do with the following:
We are certain that you will not be disappointed in the quality of any of our towel collections.
Yes, they are incredibly soft. Made from high quality, organic cotton, our pestemals grow softer with each wash. Because they are made of organic cotton, they require no fabric softener to retain their softness; it is inhaerent in the fabric.
All our pestemals are handwoven using traditional techiniques in Turkey. Each pestemal takes from 1/4 to 2 days to weave. It is a labor-intensive process which results in very high-quality products.
The possibilities are endless. We use ours as bath, beach, and pool towels; throws; baby blankets; travel blankets; picnic blankets; shawls; tablecloths; even shower curtains. Simply because we suggest one of our collections be used as a beach towel, bath towel, or baby blanket, does not mean they cannot (or should not) be used for other purposes. If you have a question about how our products can be used, don’t hesitate to contact us – we are very familiar with each of our collections.
In addition to being made from organic cotton, pestemals are much lighter weight than terrycloth towels and thus dry much more quickly and on a lower temperature setting in the dryer. Although it depends on your individual dryer, a full load of pestemals will dry in 30 minutes on low heat in our home dryer.
Many countries have a centuries old tradition of hand-loomed multi-use textiles. Pestemal, pestamel and peshtemal are different spellings for the textiles that have been traditionally loomed for use as hamman towels in the communal Turkish baths. Foutas are similar to Turkish towels in their design and weave but are traditionally made in Tunisia and other parts of Northern Africa. While some people use the terms pestemal, fouta, and Turkish towel interchangeably for flat-woven towels, they are differentiated by their weave and country of origin.
Unfortunately, we are not set up for in person order pick ups. However, our shipping is very affordable: flat rate shipping is $5 for orders under $80 and free for orders of $80+. Local orders ship USPS priority mail and typically arrive within a day or two. If you need your order quickly, please make a note in the Order Notes during checkout and we will make every effort to get it shipped in a jiffy. Also, a handful of wonderful local merchants carry our products (primarily playmats) - you can find our list of retailers here. We recommend that you call ahead to make sure the item you are looking for is in stock.