Save my Sferra so I won't Frette! (Duvet cover durability)
November 8, 2021 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Years ago, a client said "we're changing our linen suppliers" and gave me a stash of new, very high-quality European duvet covers and fitted sheets. They aren't holding up well.

The covers didn't have buttons or ties, so I sewed ribbons at the top corners to secure the duvet, and that seems to have put strain on the cover fabric. Miss Kitty also likes to knead (I do keep her claws clipped), and I patched those tiny holes as they appeared with iron-on fusing. THAT also seemed to put stress on the fabric, and I got long vertical tears next to the areas that are patched. I don't use bleach, dry only until damp, and don't wash any other fabrics with the sheets and duvet covers. Feet aren't rough ... most damage is toward the top of the bedding.

Now I'm down to my last two packages. Since life is unlikely to hand me a nice supply of thousand-dollar bedding again, how can I best maintain these remaining new items in good condition? And possibly mend the ones that are torn? Bonus if there's a way to secure the duvet inside that doesn't strain the exterior fabric. Thanks!
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
I mean...maybe they were changing suppliers because these ones just don't hold up well? I'd totally give up and just enjoy them for as long as they last, and also not bother trying to secure the duvet inside. You can shake it out every few days if you're really having a duvet dislocation problem, but we mostly use duvet covers without bothering to secure the duvet inside and it's fine.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:19 PM on November 8, 2021 [10 favorites]

we mostly use duvet covers without bothering to secure the duvet inside and it's fine

So do we. As a bonus, the regular shaking that's needed to keep the corners in the corners fluffs the duvet up and makes it nicer to sleep under.
posted by flabdablet at 2:54 PM on November 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

As a Scandinavian who has grown up with eiderdown duvets and accompanying linen, I am a bit confused by your question. I have bed linen that is a lot older than me, and it is fine (though some of the covers are a bit too short, because back in the day the duvets were shorter) It is a thing here to buy antique bed linen and I have a lot. During my life, we have had cats and dogs and though I do not personally approve of animals in bed, none of my parents or grandparents had scruples in that regard (and I didn't either when I was a kid).
I wash my linen at 60 C, and I only very rarely run it through the drier. If I can, I air dry it. I have never met a hole, but if I did, I would patch it with a piece of old linen that had been washed hundreds of times to prevent shrinkage. I do that with my nightgowns that get torn when I move about in my sleep.
Every morning, I shake and air my duvet. My gran hung hers out of the window which led to continuous tick attacks, so I just hang it over a chair inside with the window open.
Duvets have a limited life span. Some can be washed and dried, others can be dry cleaned by specialists, but they can't really last more than 20-25 years. To be honest, my double eiderdown duvet is older, and I am pretending not to know because a new one is so expensive.
posted by mumimor at 3:57 PM on November 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

very high-quality

But they are not high quality, as you have discovered. High thread count only equals quality if the threads are fine and long. Short fine threads wear and tear easily.
posted by Thella at 4:45 PM on November 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback! Maybe I'm unrealistic as to how long they should last? They are a dream to sleep on, and I've alternated two duvet covers for ... maybe seven years? I do wash them at least once a week because I don't use a top sheet. (My down comforter is cleaned twice a year and has held up for almost a decade.) Like mumimor, I have vintage pillowcases that are probably close to my age.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 4:59 PM on November 8, 2021

I wonder what kind of fabric it is made of?
Does it say on the package you still have? Perhaps it is not 100 percent cotton, but some blend?

Like mumimor i am a bit puzzled by the question, as what you describe definitely does not sound to me like quality expensive European bed linen, which would be 100 percent highgrade pure Cotton (sometimes labeled egyptian Cotton).

I still use 100 percent cotton bed linen that is at least 60 years old, and the only problem are buttons coming off occasionally in the washing machine. I inherited it from my mother who used to wash it at 90 degree celcius, and the airdry, i wash it at 60 celcius, airdry, once a week. Many cats slept in it too.
This is cotton bedlinen my mother received for her wedding.

The way you describe it, it could be satin, or satin imitation, which is quite susceptible to tears.

posted by 15L06 at 5:07 PM on November 8, 2021

Best answer: Even expensive linens aren't made to last like they were decades ago. Luxury brand products aren't necessarily designed for durability, so I wouldn't expect them to be heirlooms. Seven years of use sounds about right.

You're doing most everything fine, except the iron-on mending. As you suspect, that's damaging the surrounding fabric. Sew on a patch (save some scraps from your most worn out sheets) or do something like darning instead.
posted by doift at 7:52 PM on November 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

I know you said you don't currently use one, but can you invest in a couple of really nice top sheets (so they'll feel great) so you won't have to wash the duvet cover as often? If not, I agree that I think you have to resign yourself to a shorter lifespan.
posted by superfluousm at 6:42 AM on November 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you still look at this ask, I'm back to recommend muji bed linen. I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but having just done the laundry, I thought of your post. I don't often buy new linen because I have a lot of vintage stuff, but I have a few muji pieces and they are great value.
posted by mumimor at 3:21 PM on November 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

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