Bedding Basics:

Everything You Need to Know From Understanding Options to Shopping For Your New Linens
 
When it comes to bedding linens, there are a few basic options to layer on your bed: quilts, comforters, bedspreads and duvets.  Many people are uncertain about the differences between all these bedding choices.  With some basic bedding research, you’ll be shopping for new linens like a pro in no time.
 
THE OPTIONS
 
Quilts -- a covering that sandwiches a thick layer of padding or batting material between two layers of cloth, stitched together on all four sides and frequently the stitching continues throughout the center to a form a detailed pattern.  Often, older quilts, or new quilts created to look old, have a patchwork pattern of multiple pieces of fabric that have been combined to created an artful covering.  Think back to images of quilting bees.  Handmade quilts have been thought of as family heirlooms for generations because of the love and craftsmanship used to create them.
 
Comforters -- think thick luxurious, fluffy piles of fabric filled warm fibers of cotton, silk, or down.  Most often comforters are available in white, but also come numerous other colors and designs.  Comforters do not need to have additional coverings over them.
 
Conventional comforters are filled with a synthetic polyester material, while others  are with down feathers. A silk-filled comforter is stuffed with numerous layers of silk fiber. These fibers are kept in place by squares on the comforter, sometimes called box stitching or the hand-tying method. Hand ties or "hand tacking" is a traditional Chinese method to keep the longer finer silk fibers in place.
 
 
Bedspreads -- a pre-filled bed cover with stuffing to be used as a decorative bedding. There’s much debate about whether to sleep directly  under bedspreads or fold them and put them aside for the night, while sleeping under a blanket.  That’s left up to personal preference; however, bedspreads do not require a duvet cover.
 
Duvets -- a duvet is a comforter that is filled with down feathers. The duvet is usually white, beige or off-white. It should be placed in a duvet cover. It can be made of down or poly-fill.
 
A duvet cover encases a comforter - like a slip-on decorator. Many comforters are not decorated and usually people buy one of these. Imagine the comforter as a big flat pillow and the duvet cover as a big pillowcase.  Adding a duvet cover will extend the life of your comforter.
 
SHOPPING FOR BED LINENS
 
A comforter’s fill power refers to how fluffy and puffy it is; it’s measuring the space one ounce of down occupies in cubic inches.   A higher fill power means the down comforter will last longer. When shopping for a comforter, look for thread count -- select at least 300-count per square inch, or you'll find the feathers leaking out.
 
Comforters Weight
A comforter can be made warmer in two ways: fill power and weight. Clearly, the aim is to get the maximum warmth, at the lightest weight. To get this, you would choose a higher fill power number. Feathers are a great deal less warm than high grade down. Once you have selected the fill power, then add weight for extra warmth.
 
How are Comforters Fill Power tested?
One ounce of down is placed in a cylinder and stirred. The loft is measured in cubic inches. The sample is compressed. The down is left alone to “rest” for 24 hours. After the resting period, the down is re-measured. The down remains undisturbed and should regain its original loft within 72 hours.
 
A good quality comforter can last for 10 years with good care.
Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:01 AM
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