Our buyers guide to Bed Linen
There are few things better in life than sleeping in luxuriously soft bed linen. It’s an affordable luxury that can transform your day-to-day life and ensure you get the very best night’s sleep. Follow our bed linen guide and be inspired!
What is a thread count?
Good quality bed linen is supplied with a thread count. Woven fabric is made up of a warp thread (running vertically) and a weft thread (horizontally). The ‘thread count’ is used to describe the number of these threads per square inch. The general rule is that the higher the thread count, the more superior the quality of your bed linen.
Which fabric is suitable for you?
- Cotton. It’s not surprising that cotton is the most important non-food commodity in the world. Hairs from the tropical cotton plant are spun into yarn, then cloth. It’s low maintenance, versatile and affordable.
- Cotton Percale. This is a variation on the regular cotton where the cotton yarn is given a combed treatment. This gives the bed linen a lovely smooth finish and with a thread count of over 180, it has a high quality feel about it.
- Linen. Linen is made from yarn made out of fibres from the flax plant. It is a heavier, stronger fibre than cotton, creating a fabric that is smoother and with a very unique drape. It is an excellent conductor of heat and does not retain any moisture - these qualities make linen both snug and really comfortable to sleep in.
- Cotton & Linen. Linen is a luxury yarn.To keep bed linen affordable, a combination of linen and cotton brings the qualities of both yarns together.
- Cotton Sateen. This is a weaving technique that is slightly more expensive to weaving classic cotton cloth. This different process produces a bed linen that is incredibly soft to handle and has a fabulous sheen.
- Chambray. Often referred to as ‘yarn dye’, chambray is made up of a warp and weft thread of different colours. This weaving technique gives a smart, sophisticated look to plain cotton bed linen.
- Silk. Originating from China, silk fabric is made from the continuous fibre the silk caterpillar makes to cocoon itself during its transformation into a moth. In the manufacturing process, fibres from several cocoons are twisted together to make a yarn of suitable thickness for weaving. The complicated process it goes through commands a high price tag, but its superb dyeing qualities make it a true luxury fabric that needs care and attention to keep it looking good.
All in the detail
Our designs are based on age-old techniques for creating pattern and colour.
Prints in focus
The traditional hand-carved printing block method has developed into a screen printing process whereby the dyes pass through a silk mesh onto the fabric. An infinite number of colours can be applied together with complicated images of photographic quality.
Beautifully crafted embroidery
Whilst machines now create embroidery effects, some of our designs are created on a sewing machine by one of our dedicated embroiderers. Once the embroidery is complete, the fabric is cut to size, so we still manage to make it a very individual process.
The Jacquard loom was invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801 and is still widelyused today. The weaving process creates subtle patterns, with the same colourthread used throughout.
Understanding pillow case names
50cm x 75cm - This rectangular shape is the most common style of pillowcase and has no detail around the edge.
50cm x 75cm - This is the same size as a housewife pillowcase, but features a frilled border known as an Oxford edge.
50cm x 90cm .This can have a Housewife or Oxford edge but is slightly longer to fit the larger size beds such as King or Super King so you don’t have a gap in-between your pillows.
65cm x 65cm - This is ideal as a pillowcase for a back pillow set against the headboard and can have a Housewife or Oxford edge.
Top tips by Molly Freshwater, Bed linen designer for Feather & Black
The quick way to…fill a duvet cover with a duvet
Turn your duvet cover inside out and get hold of the two top corners of the duvet cover from the inside. Still holding the corners, get hold of the top two corners of the duvet and shake the cover down the length of the duvet and fasten to close.
The clever way to…dress a guest bed
Layer up the bed with a top sheet followed by the duvet. When your guests go, slip off and launder the top, under sheet and pillowcases, leaving the duvet cover still nice and clean for the next guest.
The stylish way to…create the 'all white' bed
A bed dressed in white creates a calm, tranquil retreat. Add interest and texture by choosing a variety of fabrics and textures to dress the bed with –so a velvet bedspread, linen bed linen and a mohair throw would make a luxurious, tactile combination.
The savvy way to…bright white bed linen
It’s best to save this task for a sunny summer day. Wash your bed linen in a good detergent. Take out immediately and hang on the washing line. As well as making whites whiter, sunlight has the ability to remove stains on other whites such as tablecloths and shirts.
The simple way to… care for your bed linen
Use a special linen softener in the machine which will make your sheets smell amazing and feel really soft. To go one step further, take your bed linen to the dry cleaners to be professionally washed. It will come back beautifully wrapped and ironed and looking as good as new.
The smart way to… arrange pillows
Start with a pair of large square Continental pillows standing up against the headboard. These make the bed look impressive when you are not sleeping in it, and make it so comfortable when you want to sit up and read. Follow this with two size pillows for sleeping on, and the finishing touch? One, two or even three scatter cushions, square or oblong.
The designer touch to…make a bed blissful
A mattress cover keeps a mattress in pristine condition and is especially helpful if allergies are a problem. Add to this a topper (it’s like a thin duvet which fits snugly to the mattress) and bedtime will be absolute bliss.
The savvy way to…encourage a good night's sleep
Have a bath to relax, then take a cup of herbal tea (camomile is particularly effective). Write down your ‘to do’ list to empty your thoughts of anything pressing, and then turn off the light. Make your bed the most comfortable place in your house – if it feels like luxury you will look forward to it very night.
The natty way to…scent the bedroom
Buy a bottle of lavender ironing spray and decant a small amount into an inexpensive pump dispenser. Spritz your bed linen as you make the bed, refreshing the scent as and when you need.
The only way to…start the weekend
Put some fresh bed linen on your bed on a Friday and slip into it after a relaxing hot bath. There is no better way to start the weekend than by waking up in fresh sheets and having a relaxed breakfast in bed.