Duvets: silk, bamboo and wool.
I’ve written two columns on down duvets. (Duvets 101 and Down) which are still valid today with respect to how fill is measured, the advantages of down, pricing, cleaning… all that good stuff.
But in the last few years, other fillers have become more available which are giving down a real run for the money in comparison to warmth and loft.
So, it’s time for some new info. In case, like me, you found yourself looking at a wall of duvets and didn’t know what was up with bamboo, silk or wool.
I’m not going to go into synthetics. That’s an entirely different column. Maybe next month.
A bit about the stitching of the duvets. Most duvets we have are stitched through from the top to the bottom, in both directions, across the duvet. You know this is where you first see that fill is clumping and lumping up in one corner of the ‘square’. A better way is with ‘baffle’ construction. In cross section they look like this:
The advantage of baffles is that there are no areas of high compression, i.e., lack of insulation, where the stitching lines are. Baffle duvets will look fluffier, and will stay fluffier longer.
Putting a cover on a duvet used to require two people, be a wrestling match, and in the end, the cover shifted all over, anyway. We, in the soft furnishings industry, got around this by sewing long ties into the four inside corners to tie the duvet and cover together, or installing snaps on the duvet and cover. Most quality duvets have loops or ties in the corners now, as do the better quality covers. ( Many duvet cover makers are also now installing zippers from half way down one side, across the bottom and half-way up the other side) . And please, don’t forget to use natural fiber covers.
Also, just a reminder to stay away from man-made covers on the duvets themselves. They may substantially negate the wicking and cooling properties of the fill.
Bamboo is harvested by cutting off the plant above ground, which enables the plant to regenerate. Fairly eco-friendly. It’s vegan, helps neutralize bad odors, it is resistant to dust mites and mildew, is machine wash and dry ( yay!!!) and It wicks moisture away from the body.
Bamboo fill in duvets creates many ‘pockets’, like down does, but bamboo has an unexplainable property of regulating the below temperature close to the above temperature. Meaning you will sleep at a temperature closer to the room temperature than a heavy down or synthetic duvet, which tend to trap heat under themselves. It has microbial qualities which inhibit fungal growth… no kidding. Read about that here.
Wool: will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. You won’t get a big loft as with down, but you will get superb warmth. Check for washability. Wool is known to retain a fair bit of warmth even when wet, so it follows that if it wicks moisture off the body, you shouldn’t loose heat control. The moisture it does wick off evaporated quickly, too.
Silk: is also a natural moisture wick, and is also mildew and mold resistant. It can be machine wash and dry, make sure you check the label. Silk is very light-weight and it doesn’t conduct heat or static. Best for mid-range heated rooms, silk duvets drape around the body easily, providing good snuggle- sense.
So there you go. Sleep well!