How To Buy The Right Duvet and Pillow

Luxury Goose Down Duvets and Pillows

Duvets have come a long way since their introduction as a cheap sack filled with feathers, this was brought out as a cheaper alternative to blankets.

They were of a very low quality and the feathers unwashed and very greasy, not a luxury item at all!

(History buffs: Here’s a great summary of duvet history by The Independent newspaper).

Thankfully things have improved dramatically over the years with today’s modern duvets benefiting from high thread count percale cotton cambric covers, up to 300 count in some luxury products and ultra hygienic and anti-allergy fillings.

The modern duvet measurements

Many factors make up the modern style of duvet in terms of how they are made and sold, the better quality duvets are very advanced and are of a more technical affair than most would have thought possible in such a simple design. Many terms spring to mind such as:

Tog ratings

are a simple but effective way of measuring the thermal properties of the filling, mainly used in Europe as the main way of deciding which heat/cooling setting you need.

The lower the tog rating, the cooler the duvets, the higher the setting such a 15 TOG, the warmer you will be. The American test of this is:

Fill Power

This ingenious test measures how lofty the down is, the lighter and cleaner the down the better the fill power rating. If the down rises quickly this will result in a high rating but if the down is less likely to rise due to impurities the lower the fill power rating will be.

Fill Power Testing

This measurement is a good way of selecting a good quality pure down duvet, 600 to 800 will guarantee you a perfect, light duvet and that is equally as good at keeping you snug as keeping you cool in summer, the better the down the lighter it is – simple.

If money was no object, then you should opt for the very best pure down duvets.

This is because they offer both the best in terms of down and quality cotton covers, but what about the mechanics of a duvet. Have you considered?

Cassette Construction

This is how the down is held in place, the duvet is sectioned out in square cells ranging from 12 to 18 inches depending on the size of the area.

The filling is then piped into the cell using a very small hole in middle. The hole being so small as the down cannot escape, the better quality the cassette construction the longer the duvet will last, another important feature only found on the better models is:

Baffle walls

Are very much like large internal sails which help redistribute the filling back into the center of the cell when you move ensuring that the down is not pushed into the corners of the cell leaving the middle feeling flat and empty. Moving onto the filling:

The modern duvet filling measurements

Pure Down:

This is the Rolls Royce of duvets, look out for a high fill power rating here. No feathers or impurities ensure that the filling is very soft, white, light and extremely efficient at both warming and cooling. The effect of pure down means that you can have less bulk than other filling which means the duvet is a lot lighter, this is ideal for the elderly.

Goose Feather and Down:

This is great for those who want the benefits of a natural product without the price tag. This is a mix of high quality down and soft fluffy feathers. Ensure that you pick a duvet here that has had the quills removed, the cheaper variants with have some hard quills still in place which can come through the cotton fabric. The mix percentage is normally 15% down and 85% feathers. They are still a much better option than synthetic duvets as the filling is still excellent at regulating the body’s temperature.

Synthetic Duvets

Euroquilt Dacron Comforel Anti Allergy Duvets and Pillows

These duvets are at the cheaper end of the market although some quality micro downs filling act just like down but with the added benefit of being 100% anti allergy in terms of duvet mites etc.

Great for children as they wash and dry much better than the natural duvets.

Although not as good at releasing trapped air as a down quilt, they are excellent in the winter months as they trap most of the body’s heat keeping you snug when you need it most.

Most of our luxury range of duvets, mattress toppers, mattress protectors and pillows have quality high thread count cotton covers on them.

Don’t forget when purchasing your new duvet, protect it with a good quality duvet cover, it will stop it getting dirty and will ensure less trips to the dry cleaners and that it will last for 10 years or more.

Which is better, synthetic or natural fillings?

The best quality filling is pure down, this is generally softer, lighter and better at regulating the body’s natural temperature.

Fill Power plays an important part when choosing the right down, this simple test shows how light, clean and breathable the contents are, the higher the rating the better quality the down.

Goose down and duck down work very much the same except that the goose down is generally cleaner and less greasy than duck down and is more resilient to breaking up and going clumpy and hard overtime.

Die Zudecke Canadian Goose Down Duvets

Look out for brand names such as Canadian, Siberian, Polish or Hungarian as these branded downs normally produce a high quality product along with very good fill power ratings of 550 and over, the best are around the 650 to 850 range.

If cost is a factor when looking for a natural duvet you can always opt for a more reasonable goose feather and down option, this is a great way of getting on the natural ladder as the same benefits can be had from this selection.

Although generally heavier a good quality blended feather and down quilt can be just as effective as a lesser quality 100% Down version. The overall benefits of pure down duvets are that they keep you just as cool in summer as they do warm in winter.

Synthetic duvets

Synthetic duvets are normally classed as a budget option but more and more quality options are available with superb anti allergy fillings that are aimed directly at children and people that suffer with allergies like the house dust mite.

‘Micro fibre’ or ‘micro down’ is the brand name for most down like fillings, synthetic quilts are great at keeping you warm but not as good as a natural duvet at releasing trapped warm air, this is not ideal when you get hot at night and need a duvet that is breathable with temperature regulation in mind.

What tog rating is best for me?

Well this has a number if significant implications, if you get hot at night then you will probably be much better off with a natural filling preferably the more down the better or at least 90% pure as the more feather content the heavier it will be and less effective at rising and releasing the trapped hot air.

Unfortunately synthetic downs are made in spiral or balls of fibre that do not and cannot rise when they get warm and do not offer nearly enough protection from overheating.

TOG Rating Scale

Once you have decided on the filling the next thing is how warm is your bedroom, if the answer is cold then you can opt for a higher tog rating like 13.5 tog, bearing in mind that you will need a higher rating with synthetic and goose down quilts than down.

If you leave the central heating on low at night or your bedroom is generally warm then you can opt for a thinner and lighter duvet, more like a 9 tog or even a 7 tog going down to a 4.5 summer weight duvet in the warmer months.

With the overall selection getting harder to get right the All Seasons option is great value as you get all the seasons covered in two handy duvets, a 3 or 4.5 tog for summer a 9 or 10.5 tog for Autumn and Spring and the two combined for those harsh winter months.

The thread count

All of our products at Bedlinen Direct have excellent cotton cambric covers that are woven to a very high standard with a minimum of 233 threads per square inch or more commonly known as 233 count.

The reason for the quality is that cotton is the preferred material for bed linen and is very effective at wicking away moisture from the body which helps you maintain that perfect sleeping temperature all night long as becoming too warm at night will make you restless which will make you move around more breaking that all important sleeping pattern.

Also the high thread count cotton is designed to be mite proof keeping these house dust mites at bay and keep the filling of you duvet in place – inside!

Both natural and synthetic downs are good for machine washing, just follow the wash care labels and if you have a machine big enough you will have no problems.

Dry cleaning is sometimes very expensive and not always recommended for cleaning quilts as the process can dry the filling out rendering it brittle and useless.

The best policy for your investment is to buy a good quality duvet cover and change it regularly in order to protect the duvet from the elements leaving you to just give it a good shake once a week.

Getting the right pillow

Luxury Pillows

How important is it to have a good quality pillow, we always see adverts for posture control and how you need to have the perfect spine alignment.

Well this all starts at the top, if your head is not supported at the correct height or you pillow is tired and lumpy then you are not going to get the sleep you need no matter what you do with the mattress, the bedding or the duvet.

Pillows are not just for supporting you while you are reading that best novel or watching your favourite TV station, they are for allowing you to dose off into an undisturbed sleep.

Pillows range in all sizes and fillings, the better quality the pillow the more support and posture control it will offer.

Pure down pillows are the most expensive but will offer you most comfort in terms of a soft layer to rest your head upon, generously filled and wrapped up in pure cotton cambric casings, look out for Siberian and Canadian goose down pillows for those who want the best but if you want to try a pure down pillow without the added cost try our luxury pillow selection.

Premier Class 1 Siberian Goose Down Pillows

If it is a firm pillow you want without too much loft, premium goose feather and down pillows are much better, the goose feathers compact more than down and offer a firmer platform to rest your tired head.

Mixed with up to 20% down which helps give the pillow more softness than goose feathers alone.

Children and sufferers may want to take advantage of the benefits offered by micrdown pillows, our range of Comfysoft micro down pillows have been specifically engineered with an anti-allergy filling and wrapped up in high quality 233 count cotton cambric covers.

New technologies have seen the latest trend of down surround pillows from Nimbus and Surreydown, ingenious pillows that have a soft layer of down on the inside surrounded by a firmer collar of goose feathers that act as a support for your neck whilst allowing the head to rest softly on the centre layer of down.

For example our Die Zudecke Duvets and Pillows are made to the highest standard of German engineering and quality where every detail is scrutinised to the highest degree to ensure a perfect quality product is produced.

Exacting quality assurance and manufacturing procedures in their first class production facilities results in the best duvets and pillows you can buy, found in the very best department stores in the UK and across Europe Die Zudecke really are a brand name that you can rely on and trust.

Our premier ranges of Canadian and Hungarian duvets are the epitome of sheer indulgence and comfort. They only use the highest grade of down and feathers in the manufacturing process, encased in super soft and extremely robust cotton cases. Stitching and detailing is where the quality really matters and this is shown in every part of their exquisite product range.

Die Zudecke Hungarian White Goosedown Duvets and Pillows

Made in small numbers to ensure that you get that hand built quality feel, the amount of awards placed on their technical and manufacturing process is unparalleled.

Strict government legislation in Germany controls the whole manufacturing process, environmental and eco friendly processes are at the heart of the companies polices, buying a Die Zudecke Duvet or Pillow guarantees the highest levels of protection for the environment.

Harvesting of the down and feathers is equally as important, natural habitats and good quality feeds are integral to the long term future sustainability of the company and its partners.

No harmful chemicals and bleaches are used in the cleaning of the down, only water and mild detergents are used to clean and protect the fillings.

NOMITE

All Die Zudecke Duvets and Pillows confirm to the NOMITE brand several factors are considered to ensure conformity but you can be rest assured that no duvet mites can penetrate the inside of the product.

NOMITE trust in the properties of a natural filled duvet and believe that everyone deserves to have a perfect night’s sleep every night.

They are campaigning hard to raise awareness of the fact that dust allergy sufferers are not affected by a natural duvet as most people believe. The NOMITE mark is there to reassure these allergy sufferers and prove to them that they too, deserve the best.

Oeko Tex

Die Zudecke and Oeko Texare both ethical companies that are concerned with the human ecological safety of textiles through every stage of production from the raw material to the finished article.

Products carrying the OekoTex 100 standard label have been tested by independent test institutes throughout the world for harmful substances which may not be human friendly.

It is guaranteed that every product showing this label is 100% Eco friendly for both the consumer and the environment.

Daunasan and Downafresh

These are brands of the Association of the European Bed feather and Bedding Industries. They emphasis that the filling material conforms to European Standard EN 12935.

Companies displaying these brands are required to have their feather and down production tested regularly by independent hygiene laboratories and the processing of their filling material documented.

Bedlinen, Bed Linen and Bedding

Luxury Sheridan Bedding Sets

The termĀ  bedding is a generalised word covering the whole spectrum of products relating to the bed or more precisely, the linen cupboard.

When we think of bedding we normally think of either fitted sheets, flat sheets and duvet covers but this also can refer to other bedding items such as valances, bedspreads, duvets, pillows and pillowcases to name but a few…..the list is endless.

Other important factors associated with bedding is the type and quality of the fabric used to create the product, natural fibres such as cotton and silk are more well known and used but other man-made speciality linens such as polyester and Coolmax offer good levels of comfort and softness but will outlast other materials such as microfiber.

The most popular luxury bedding fabric has to be cotton or high derivatives such as Egyptian cotton and Pima cotton, these exceptionally strong and robust fibres can be woven to extremely high thread counts making them a premium product and only used for the very best premium branded bedding.

Thread Count

Warp and Weft Thread Count

Thread count is very important when selecting a good range of bedding, this refers to the warp and weft of the fabric criss-crossing each other in a one inch square grid, this construction is then counted and the amount of time the fabric overlaps each other is deemed to be its thread count.

Some bedding manufacturers twist the yarns to produce ‘two ply’ yarns which can then be counted as twice the amount of thread count, in effect doubling it.

This is very popular with the very high thread counts which are over a 600 thread count plus, this method not only strengthens the fabric but stops the delicate yarns from twisting and snapping thereby reducing the effects of shrinkage and pilling which destroys the overall look of the finished bedding fabric.

Other terminology that is widely understood when used in the making of bedding is the term ‘Percale’.

This is often thought to be a type of construction or weave when is it really referring to a minimum thread count of 180 threads per square inch, any fabrics with a construction more than this will be deemed to be a percale fabric, this is the same for cotton and poly-cotton bedding materials.

Egyptian Cotton Sateen Sheets and Duvet Covers

Sateen is another term that refers to the way that the fabric is woven and constructed.

Most cotton bedding is woven to higher thread counts than the minimum percale weave resulting in a sateen finish, this is a shiny effect that makes the bedding look rich and lustrous and shimmery in different light conditions. This sateen effect will be present in most fabrics that have a thread count of 300 and above.

Modern bed linen trends move at a very fast pace, colours and fabrics account for the majority of the changes but more and more duvet covers now have adornments such as taffetta, sequins, pin tuck hem and many, many more.

Complete bed linen sets

A complete bed linen set may consist of

  • a fitted bottom sheet,
  • a flat top sheet,
  • pillowcases either plain hem or the modern oxford style,
  • duvet or quilt cover which has mainly dispensed of the traditional blanket.

The main reason for the disappearance of the humble blanket was mainly due to weight and hygiene reasons.

MONSOON Bedding and Duvet Covers

In the past bedlinen items such as a duvet cover were mainly a thing for the wealthy, the Egyptians used to adorn their cotton sheets with valuable items such as gold and silver paints.

Today this same type of adornments is achieved at a much more cost effective price using modern dyeing techniques and printing duvets with high gloss and resolution colours and graphics enhances the overall look in the bedroom.

With the bed now becoming the main focal point in the bedroom, matching the bedding with the walls and the curtains is now reversed with more and more pastel paints being applied to walls, the bedding has had to add that extra splash of colour.

Bed linen and colours

This is clearly the cheaper and much quicker option than repainting the walls every time you need a change, what could be easier than just going out to buy a new duvet cover or bed throws.

Cotton Blankets and Cotton Bedspreads

As more and more emphasis is made to fashion the bedroom has had to come to terms with changing trends, recent trends were often just plain white and ivory duvet covers with a brightly covered bed sash or blanket at the bottom.

This was first introduced in top class hotels with patrons wanting to emulate this feature in their own homes.

Although the pastel duvet cover still accounts for nearly 75% of all the colours sold, more and more brightly coloured sheets like cerise pink and fuchsia greens are now being purchased.

The hotel market has educated their customers to the real benefits of the cool crisp sleeping qualities of the finer bed linens.

More and higher quality bed linen of 400 thread count and over is now being sold. One of our best selling premium ranges is the Sheridan 1200 Count Millennia Stripe Bedlinen range, this is a technological marvel in terms of being a very high thread count cotton percale that is wonderful to sleep under, soft super cool and crisp-what more could you ask for!

Peter Reed Satin Cord Bed Linen

Hotel quality sheets start at the entry level 200 count ranging up to the more luxurious 1000 count sheets, they are normally plain in style but more and more are now stocking duvet covers that have a self stripe in them, this is a great way of making a white or ivory colour much more attractive to the eye and makes the surface look much more rich in texture.

Bedlinen is a term referred to the complete collection of fitted sheets, flat sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers, they are then made to several sizes.

In the UK the standard bedlinen sizes are Single, Double, King and Super king, the lesser known options are the 4FT fitted sheets and the latest large Emperor sheet sizes.

Most fabrics used in the bedding industry are made woven using a ‘THREAD COUNT’ usually the higher this number refers to, the better quality the fabric is. This term refers to the numbers of threads both vertical and horizontal in a one square inch of fabric in both cotton and polycotton.

Percale

Nimbus Percale Duvet Covers

Percale sheets are perceived to be of a much higher quality than standard fabrics as the term ‘PERCALE’ refers to an industry minimum of 180 threads per square inch.

Advances in technology now allow for much finer yarns allowing manufacturers to produce percale fabrics with thread counts in excess of 1200.

All of the very best quality polycotton and Egyptian Cotton Bedlinen are both Mercerised and Sanforised to ensure that the linen is of sound durability and will last for many years without shrinking, creasing and more importantly pilling.

The growing importance of thread count

Thread Count is now becoming more and more important when making that all important decision to purchase a new set of bedlinen.

Standard ranges in polycotton sheets start at the entry level weave of 150 threads per square inch going up to a 200 count percale weave, most polyester and cotton mixes will not go above this level of thread count as polyester is not deemed to be a luxury linen and is mainly purchased for its non iron and easy care properties.

This is ideal for children’s beds as the fabric is hard wearing and very easy to wash and also ideal for the elderly and infirm who cannot spend the time ironing

Belledorm Egyptian-Cotton-Coloured-Pillowcases

large pieces of cloth. More cottons are woven to a minimum 200 threads per square inch while luxury brands of cotton like Egyptian Cotton and Pima Cotton which benefit from long staple fibres are used to weave the more complex 400, 600 and 1000 count fabrics.

Like all good bedding ranges colour is very important, most deep dyed options like black, brown and grey etc have been reserved mainly for polyester fabrics as cotton is very hard to dye and due to the cost was mainly only dyed pastel shades such as white and ivory.

Polyester being excellent at colouring made deep dyeing blended fabrics much more cost effective, now more and more deep dyes are being found in luxury cotton sheets as the demand for fashion as found its way into the bedroom.

Buying bed linen online

Bed linen is what we do! That’s why we’re called bedlinendirect.co.uk but we also offer a full advisory service so if you are not sure which of the many choices might be right for you do not hesitate to call or email us.

Bedding Wash Care Instructions

These are the bedding wash care instructions for the most common types of bedlinen. Scroll down to the bottom of this article for a guide to washing symbols and their meanings.

Percale Poly Cotton Bedding

Percale poly/cotton includes 50% man made polyester fabric it is resistant to shrinkage during laundry.

Bedding is manufactured within normal standards for normal washing conditions.
Harsh detergents are not recommended.

Poly cotton is resistant to deep creasing, use a cool down cycle on tumble dryers and remove linens once dry, fold and lay flat, iron whilst still damp.

View our range of Percale Poly Cotton Bed Linen

Egyptian Cotton Bedding

Because cotton is a natural fabric all sizes are approximate and cotton will naturally shrink slightly during its first laundering cycle.

Typically our 100% Cotton and bed Linens should be washed at 40 degrees.

If tumble drying we recommend a low heat with cooling down period but remove linens while still damp and iron dry to remove creasing.

Hanging the linens to dry naturally will also remove creases. Avoid harsh detergents and wash separately from other fabrics.

NON IRON Polycotton Bedding

Wash at 40 degrees. Poly cotton is naturally resistant to deep creasing, however try to use a cool down cycle on tumble dryers and remove linens once complete, then fold and lay flat whilst fabric is still damp.

Ironing may be required to remove all creases. Harsh detergents are not recommended.

These recommendations cover our non iron polycotton bedding ranges.

Quilted Mattress Protectors

Wash at 40 degrees. The polypropylene material can be washed and tumble dried on a low heat.

Our range of quilted mattress protectors.

Flannelette Bedding

Our flannelette bedding is a high quality and thick brushed cotton material. Being natural fibre, cotton bedding will naturally shrink slightly during its first laundering cycle.

We recommend that harsh detergents are avoided and cottons are washed separately from other fabrics. To avoid deep creasing of cottons use a cool down cycle on tumble dryers and remove linens once complete, then fold and lay flat. Iron whilst fabric is still damp.

Washing and Ironing Symbols