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The Story of Our Tissues: Finding the Best Handkerchief

The Story of Our Tissues: Finding the Best Handkerchief

You are reading the second part of the story. To read the beginning, click here.

It's the moment of truth.

It's time to look at the results and today I'm gonna tell you something that I've never said before about the results of my tests: they weren't so unanimous.

JUNE 10, 2018

As of mid-June, I'm looking at the results: some prefer the fabric with the pink star, others the purple triangle, others the red square... the light gray is fine but a bit too thick, and its color is meh. One thing is certain, the dark gray is the least liked.

Personally, from the beginning, I didn't like the fabric with the pink star too much because I found it too silky, although it improved after a few washes. My favorite of the bunch is the purple triangle, in terms of the fabric feel, but I find that it rolls up a bit too much for my taste. The red square is even worse in terms of rolling. Even when I cut it, it rolled on my cutting table.

After a more detailed analysis of the results, I go back to the two favorite fabrics of all, namely the bamboo/cotton/spandex (purple triangle) and the bamboo/spandex (pink star). Between the two, the pink star still has a slight advantage. And for me, in terms of price per meter and ease of cutting, it's significantly better.

JUNE 12, 2018

Despite all this, it's been two days that I've been racking my brain because I don't know what to do with these results... And something is really bothering me. I'm still troubled because I couldn't have all my testers try the handkerchiefs that I loved so much – those superb tissues that I had tested myself for several months – all because of a damn "out of stock" issue!

I go back to the website where I bought my fabrics, and suddenly, it's back in stock! I have a flash at the same time... I search in my workshop and find a leftover of the bamboo/cotton fabric that I had bought in September! I have just enough fabric left to cut a few squares to send to my testers. So, I ask them to test the bamboo/cotton of my dreams and to compare it specifically with the pink star.

JUNE 29, 2018

The result: 50/50. FLUSH. TIED.

This day marked a major turning point for Bateau Bateau. Was I going to go for the pink star (the bamboo/spandex) or the bamboo/cotton.

I then decide to ask a very good friend which one she prefers = bamboo/spandex.

I decide to ask my husband which one he prefers = bamboo/cotton.

Re-tie. Arrrrrr!

So I'm making a list of pros and cons.

FOR bamboo/cotton

It's soft. Slightly thicker than bamboo/spandex, so it has good absorbency. It doesn't seep through when you blow your nose. Made from natural and organic fibers. Comforting (yup, fabric can be comforting).

FOR bamboo/spandex

It's soft. The edges remain nice, even without overlocking.

AGAINST bamboo/cotton

Slight risk of edges fraying without overlocking.

AGAINST bamboo/spandex

It's thinner, with a risk of wet fingers when blowing your nose. The edges roll a bit. It contains spandex.

It was still a difficult decision, and from that moment on, I embraced it at full speed for life because having two types of fabrics would have been intense to manage in terms of production and on the labels, but especially on the offering, which would have been confusing and hard to explain.

In the end, I leaned more towards the argument of natural fibers because, for the environment, cotton is still better than spandex.

{By the way, for those who don't know, spandex is elastane, also called Lycra, a synthetic fiber based on plastic.}

There is also less risk of irritation (for sensitive skin), especially since in this case, we put it directly on our face! Finally, in terms of comfort, the slight extra thickness of bamboo/cotton also makes all the difference. It's really more enjoyable.


As for the overlock all around, I once again made a very important decision, and I once again took full responsibility for it. Although my testers were leaning towards overlocking each tissue, I ultimately decided to opt for a seamless finish for 3 reasons:

It's more eco-friendly

Overlocking each of the tissues would result in additional kilometers of thread per year! More material, so we add another environmental impact during production.

It's more economical

Overlocking each of the handkerchiefs also requires labor (preferably local!). The handkerchiefs would have easily been double the price (40$+ for 12), and with the complete set, it would have been a significant deterrent to purchase.

It's more beautiful

And finally, because I like the square look; the tissue paper look we're all accustomed to. In public, we don't look like we're blowing our noses in fabric.

Originally, it's not a fabric that's supposed to fray; it has never happened to me personally, nor for the vast majority of my customers.

Maaaany months later, I learned that fraying can be very pronounced in certain washing machines (HE top-loaders without an agitator). I always advise cutting the threads and continuing to use them. It normally doesn't fray more.

In short, seamless is the gamble I took.


The tests took a long time but it was worth it! THE dream fabric has been found.

As you can see, I had some big choices to make when choosing the perfect fabric. Yes, I wanted something comfortable, but the most important thing for me was also that my tissues fit my values, and that they reflected my image. I followed my instinct and my heart. From the very beginning, it was this fabric that thrilled me and that I loved with all my heart, really.

So, I order the first 10 meters with the intention of bringing my idea to the market. I genuinely believe that everyone will love them as much as I do, and that I can help people take a little extra step for the planet by offering them a comfortable and super easy-to-use choice in their daily lives.

AUGUST 22, 2018

The Boaty handkerchiefs are almost ready to see the light of day. Summer goes by. I receive my soft fabric. In August, a customer from Nova Scotia writes to ask if my handkerchiefs are out.

She had seen that I was planning to launch my big idea on the market and was ready to order one right away, with almost blind trust in the product, even before seeing it in person, touching it, experiencing it, even before reading a review.

I started working on the project to finalize my complete kit. Reviewing every little detail of the box, pattern, and seams. Validating the size of the basket, its pattern, and seams. In short, making the product complete and perfect... so that my kits can then officially come to life.

The first kits were personalized because I sewed each one by hand at home. So, she could choose her fabrics.

“The basket at the top is mine as an example,” I told her.

The lady didn't even know the basket existed, and was confused when I talked about the basket and the box. In the end, I was going to sew it and put it in its kit, automatically, because without that, it wasn't a Boaty Hankit. My testers had noticed that it was missing! They all asked for a basket for their used tissues. My first client was finally very happy with it too.

AUGUST 23, 2018

I prewash my first 10 meters of tissue fabric at the laundromat, cut 12 handkerchiefs, and sew the complete set: it was the first kit of 12 soft reusable tissues that came to life in North America.



On the picture: the first complete Boaty kit ever created!

The “ketching” was triggered on Etsy on August 27 at 3:29 a.m.


When I say it's the first complete kit ever created, it's really the truth because I didn't even have a complete kit myself, but an IKEA box at home to contain my tissues.

boat boxboat

Well… At least I had a basket!

It's because after all my fabric tests, I have way too many to fit in a box of 12! So I had to find an XL solution.

That's when I decided to create a box of 24 tissues.

Boxes of 24 were released on Etsy on November 2, 2018.

Only the pouch left to create! I already have demand during the fall, and I will tell you their story in a future article.


So this is the whole story of our tissues and their kits, in full transparency.

If one day the market is flooded with soft bamboo/cotton tissues, cut simply and without overlocking to resemble disposable tissues, I simply hope that we will remember Bateau bateau/Boaty was the first to have put them up for sale on the planet.

It took an exhaustive process, but above all, a sincere and deep love for a fiber that was evidently destined to become a tissue. 🙂

By M.eve

I enjoy questioning and informing myself, and write! It's through this blog that I take the time to speak to you transparently about my business or share what I learn or observe regarding environmental topics that concern us all.


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