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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to FAQs about Lara Threads & our African print home goods and accessories

  • What is the difference between the lined and unlined pillow covers?
    The unlined covers are beautifully handcrafted using only the ankara fabric as-is while the lined covers are interfaced on the interior with a cotton lining to add some weight to the fabric. The interfacing color is white, which means the wrong side of the lined cover will be white. An unlined cover is perfect for everyday living. I have been using throw pillows made with plain African print ankara fabric in my home for several years and they still look great. A lined cover may be preferable for spaces where there will be more frequent handling of the decorative pillows or if you simply want the fabric to be more substantial. You can't go wrong with either option!
  • How long will it be before you ship my order?
    Since all pillow covers are made-to-order and because this entire enterprise is a one-woman show, please allow up to 7 business days for pillow covers and 2 business days for accessories from the date of your order for dispatch. Please allow extra time for transit depending on the shipping rate you select at checkout. I invite you to review my shipping policy here.
  • Do you ship internationally?
    Yes! I ship worldwide. Please review my shipping policy here.
  • What are your shipping rates?
    You will be able to select your preferred shipping speed (standard or priority) during checkout after which shipping rate for your order will be automatically calculated. I ship most packages via USPS but I may use FedEx, UPS, or DHL as needed.
  • Can I expedite my pillow cover order?
    Unfortunately, because this is a one-woman business, it is difficult for me to expedite pillow covers orders. However, I could consider such requests on a case-by-case basis, so please email me if you would like to expedite your decorative pillow cover order.
  • Do you sell inserts?
    No, I do not sell inserts. You may purchase inserts from various brick-and-mortar or online stores. I love the look of pillows filled with down/feather inserts and would recommend these over polyfill inserts. Also, down/feather inserts are much easier to manuever into the covers because they compress nicely, then fill back up and hold their shape.
  • Can you make me a pillow cover if I send my own fabric?
    No, I do not make pillows from customers’ fabric.
  • If I like one of your fabric designs, can you make a different style of pillow?
    No, I do not make custom style pillows at this time.
  • Can you make a lanyard in a different length?
    Please contact me if you are looking for a different lanyard length. Requests for custom lanyards will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Can I return or exchange an item?
    First, thank you for your purchase and I am sorry to hear that you are considering returning any item(s). Because this is a one-woman business and because of my made-to-order model, I only accept returns or exchanges of accessories, not on decorative pillow covers, due to cost and time constraints. Please review my full return policy.
  • What if I don’t receive my order?
    All items are entrusted to a verified shipper and each order has a unique tracking number. Having said that, sometimes the unforeseen might happen. In the rare case that an item is lost in transit, meaning that it has not been delivered after allowing sufficient time, please get in touch me and I will send a replacement at no cost if I have enough fabric to make the replacement item. If do not have enough fabric to remake the lost item, I will fix the problem to your satisfaction. Please note that packages that have been marked delivered by the carrier will not be replaced or refunded.
  • How do I cancel an order?
    Please contact me within 2 business days of when your pillow cover order is confirmed to cancel. After 2 business days, the order cannot be cancelled. For an accessory order, please contact me within 24 hours of confirmation of your order or before your order ships, whichever is earlier, because I dispatch accessories relatively quickly. For more information, please read my Terms & Conditions.
  • How do I know the correct size pillow cover to order?
    If you already have a pillow insert that you wish to reuse, measure its length and width with a flexible tape measure from seam to seam in the middle of the insert. Please resist the urge to estimate the size by eye! If using feather-down inserts, I recommend using the insert size listed on the product page. If using polyfill insert, which tend to be firmer, I recommend using an insert size that is up to two inches smaller than the cover. For the insert listed as "fits 20" x 20", use a 20" x 20" down-feather insert. For the insert listed as "fits 20" x 20", use an 18" x 18" polyfill insert.
  • Can you make pillow cover sizes other than the ones listed?
    No, I only offer the sizes listed.
  • Since the cover will be smaller than the insert, what is the best way to get the insert into the cover?
    Fold your insert down the middle (it will be a bit clumsy), put the folded insert into the pillow cover, then gently guide the corners of the insert to fit into the corners of the pillow cover. Once the four corners are in place, push in the insert so that there's enough room to close the zipper. Once the zipper is closed, fluff and smooth the pillow to its full glory.
  • How do I wash ankara fabric?
    It is best to not wash ankara fabric often. If cleaning is necessary, spot clean or machine wash in cold water on gentle cycle, and line dry. It is possible that there will be a small amount of color leakage while washing, so wash separately or with like colors. All fabric I use is preshrunk, so you should not see significant shrinkage after washing.
  • What is Ankara?
    Also called African wax fabric, Ankara is 100% cotton fabric that is popular throughout Africa, particularly in West Africa and East Africa (where it is called Kitenge). Ankara is used to make clothing, accessories, home decor, furnishing, and a whole lot more. The way the fabric is made–waxprinting–results in intricate, often repeating, and not-quite-perfect designs, which, along with vibrant colors, give ankara fabric its characteristic look and allure. Oh, and yes, the capital of Turkey is Ankara. There's no relation. Same word, different meaning.
  • Why is Ankara also sometimes referred to as Dutch wax fabric?
    Good question. It’s time for a history lesson and a reasonable perspectiveon why ankara or kitenge or African wax fabric or Dutch wax fabric is now uniquely associated with Africa regardless of what the fabric is called or its place of origin or manufacture. TL;DR - in the mid 1800s, a Dutch businessperson took the wax printing idea from Indonesia, mass produced the fabric in The Netherlands, and imported it to Ghana. The fabric became massively popular across Africa and was transformed into a textile that is now uniquely African and embraced worldwide.
  • In what ways do you practice sustainability?
    First, I reduce fabric waste by using as much of the material left over from making pillow covers as I can to make smaller accessories. This is why I have only a limited number of accessories in stock—because I make them only when extra fabric becomes available. Second, I protect all items for transit by using packaging made from recycled materials that are lightweight and can be recycled or reused. I do all of this without sacrificing the quality of the products I offer or the enjoyment of receiving anything you buy at Lara Threads. If you are wondering, "why did you pick plastic?," that's a fair question. I did lots of research to better understand the facts and the nuance surrounding purported eco-friendly materials and came to the conclusion that the packaging choices I have made are the most appropriate options, for now, for Lara Threads. My aim is to not "greenwash" or make a choice that sounds great because it's popular. This NPR segment presents some food-for-thought regarding the paper vs. plastic question. How does this impact your experience shopping with me? It means a low shipping cost and assurance that your beautiful product stays dry and protected while it's on its way to you. It also means you can take some comfort knowing that you are playing a small part in helping to preserve this Blue Marble!
  • How do I recycle the materials used for packaging my order?
    Thanks for making the decision to recycle. Paper can be recycled in your normal recycling stream. All plastic packaging products I use are made from recycled materials and can be recycled in your normal recycling stream if your area accepts plastic film (a lot of places do not). Otherwise, please drop off the plastic material at a store plastic film recycling bin.
  • Where are you located?
    In the beautiful city of Boston!
  • I have another question not listed here. How do I contact you?
    You may use the contact form here, send an email, or find me on Instagram, Facebook,orTwitter.
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