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 below and prepare to be totally inspired!

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.

Our designs are based on age-old techniques for creating pattern and colour. 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.

Understanding pillow case names

Standard Housewife - 50cm x 75cm - This rectangular shape is the most common style of pillowcase and has no detail around the edge.

Standard Oxford - 50cm x 75cm - This is the same size as a housewife pillowcase, but features a frilled border known as an Oxford edge. 

Super King - 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.

Continental - 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.

Caring for your bed linen

  • Machine wash your bed linen; we recommend a forty or sixty degree setting
  • Use a good softener to ensure the quality of your bed linen is maintained over time. 
  • Move your duvet cover every now and then if your bed is positioned near a window. Over-exposer to direct sunlight could affect designs that are dyed or heavily printed.
  • Don't tumble dry your bed linen too often as it could cause shrinkage and eventually, the process will shorten the life of the item. Tumble drying also leaves natural fibres very crumpled which means lots of ironing if you like a fresh finish. Instead, take the item out of the tumble dryer while still damp, and hang it out to dry naturally.
  • Don't be tempted to compromise on quality. There is no substitute for fine quality fabrics and natural materials are a must in the bedroom.

Top tips from 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 guest 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 bed linen 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 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.