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Snuggle up to Down! (Posted On: Sunday, January 07, 2007)

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Winter’s coming, it’s inevitable. It may be a little late this year but we know we’re soon going to be getting those very cold nights when we’d love to just snuggle under a thick warm duvet. I first used one many years ago in Germany, back in the days when they hadn’t hit many Canadian stores yet. So, being a seamstress I saw an opportunity. The company I used way back then for my source of down is still the same one I do today,, a world leader in down processing and attains to the highest quality standards. Other things have changed such as the style of down proof fabric that I use. I’d like to give you some guidelines in choosing a quality product that will give you years of warmth and comfort.

The style: When I first started producing them I used a design the Harrowsmith magazine put out. It was called channel and that’s basically what it was, long channels. Many people found that the down would shift along the channels leaving cold areas. So what I’ve been producing for the last decade or so is the baffled box. This is individual squared sections with inner walls (baffles) that keep the down where it needs to be, and at the same time there are no spots where the top of the duvet fabric meets the bottom, ensuring that you always have a layer of insulation, no cold spots.

The fabric: Thread count and country of origin are very important factors to consider. Germany produces some of the very best ticking you’ll ever find. And the higher the thread counts the better. I import my fabric directly from a mill in Germany and the thread count is 351 threads per inch. As well, each metre weighs a mere 79 grams, or roughly 2 ½ ounces per square yard. Extremely lightweight fabric that will allow the down to expand and again give you all the insulation you deserve.

The down: I feel this is the most important feature of your duvet because it determines how much warmth you’ll receive from your duvet. It’s not the down that keeps you warm, but the air getting trapped giving you the insulation factor against cold. Friends of mine took their duvet that I’d made to the Adirondacks for camping in below freezing weather. When they woke up in the morning there was frost on the top of the duvet but they were toasty warm because their body heat was trapped under the duvet. The higher the down content, and the larger the down clusters are, the better insulation you’ll get. My Hutterite down is 93% down and one ounce fills between 800 and 850 cubic inches, R93 for you builders out there. It would insulate an attic very nicely but also cost a small fortune.

Care and cleaning: With your duvet it’s best to think in terms of maintenance rather than cleaning. First of all, keep it covered, and what I find works really well is using a top sheet under the duvet so that you don’t need to wash the cover as often. But what’s crucial is getting the duvet outside for regular airings. Since duvets are so good at absorbing moisture, they need to be freshened, and the best way to do this is with good old sunshine, wind, and dry air. So in other words, a damp day would not be the best day to put your duvet outside. What I do is hang it out my upstairs window, or get it out on the line. They can be washed if absolutely needed, but you would use an oversize washer from the Laundromat that doesn’t have the center agitator that could pull too hard on stitching. And it needs to be thoroughly dried on a warm, not hot setting.

So to sum up, you can spend varying amounts on a duvet, but just be sure that your supplier knows their product and can give you good advice on what weight and style would be best for your personal needs. A good duvet should last a very long time. For more info please check out my site, or call Phyllis at 705-428-3199.


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