Whether you call it a quilt, doona or duvet, this is an important part of your bedding to consider, and not just in the winter months! When buying a quilt you need to think about what suits you in terms of warmth, weight, upkeep and other considerations such as allergies or asthma. Here is a brief rundown of what you need to keep in mind when buying a quilt and what options might best suit your needs.
Quilts are measured in GSM (weight measured by grams per square metre). Generally, the heavier the quilt (higher GSM), the warmer it is.
Sometimes people like to rate warmth of quilts by ‘blanket warmth’ – the equivalent number of wool blankets that would give the same level of warmth. Blanket warmth uses a scale from one to four, one being cool and four being very warm, however the problem is the warmth of a wool blanket is completely subjective since there are so many types of wool blankets! Blanket Warmth ratings should always be used as a guide only.
Loft refers to the thickness of the filling inside the quilt. Loft will vary depending on the type of filling and because of this does not necessarily refer to the warmth of a quilt, however a quilt that keeps its loft over its lifetime is considered important in terms of quality and durability.
Quilt filling materials
Most quilts come with a cotton or cotton blend cover but as our mothers used to tell us, it’s what’s inside that counts. Here is a list of the types of quilt fillings along with their varying qualities and benefits.
Wool is a fantastic option for someone who prefers a natural fibre filling for their quilt. While most people associate wool products with winter and warmth, wool quilts are very breathable and are great at regulating body temperature so if you’re after a year long quilt or if you’re a warm sleeper this could be a good choice. Allergy sufferers and asthmatics should be aware that wool is not naturally hypoallergenic, however many companies now treat their wool to offer hypoallergenic qualities so you should check the individual product. Wool quilts are usually dry clean only but again, some companies are treating their wool to become washing machine friendly so check the individual product.
Microfibre is a great option as a quilt filling for people who want something they can throw in to the washing machine at home. Microfibre is also super fast drying which is perfect for washing but also for sweaty sleepers. If you like the luxurious soft feel of down quilts but not the hefty price tag attached, a Microfibre quilt may be a great alternative for you as this fabric offers a similar level of softness and warmth. Microfibre is also a good option for allergy sufferers as it is hypoallergenic.
Wool Blend Quilts
A wool blend quilt is usually made of 50% wool and 50% polyester fibre, which is perfect for people who love the warmth of wool but who want a lighter quilt. A wool blend quilt is also great for busy people as they are machine washable as opposed to 100% wool quilts that usually need to be dry cleaned.
Dacron is a trademarked brand of Polyester fibre filling, marketed for its special ‘hollofil’ technology. Dacron quilts are light and fluffy with a filling that is resistant to flattening making it warmer and more durable. Like all polyester quilts, these are washing machine friendly and hypoallergenic for peace of mind.
Feather & Down Quilts
On a duck or a goose, feathers are the protective outer layer and down is the soft, fluffy feathers with no quills underneath. In a quilt, you may notice there’s a blend of feathers and down used as filling. The higher the percentage of down used in the quilt the softer, lighter and warmer the quilt will be. Feather & Down quilts are super warm because they trap in your body heat, just as if you were a duck! You may notice that the filling may move around so it is recommended that you give your quilt a good shake every now and then to maintain loft and freshness.
Polyester quilts are filled with a polyester fibre filling, making them great value, washing machine friendly and durable. They are usually a lighter style of quilt. Polyester quilts are also a good option for allergy sufferers, in contrast to natural fibre quilts such as feather and wool.
Because cotton is naturally light and breathable, a cotton filled quilt is a great choice if you’re after a lighter quilt for the warmer months or if you tend to run hot when you sleep. Cotton filled quilts are usually washing machine friendly as well as durable for a longer life.