Welcome to Beaumont & Brown
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With the considerable experience we have as providers of top quality bed linen to five star hotels, we do get asked a variety of questions about our bed linen, pillows, duvets and towels. To help you with your purchase we have provided answers to the following questions:-
Cotton is grown all over the world. High quality cotton yarn is spun up of long staple fibres. This is vital in producing good quality yarn and from this you can produce good quality cotton. Egyptian cotton is made from long staple fibres as is cotton from other countries. The Egyptian cotton producers have spent many years and large amounts of money promoting the "Egyptian Cotton" Brand. This is why it has become synonymous with high quality.
Interestingly, the top five cotton producing countries in the world are China, USA, India, Pakistan and Brazil in that order. China produces approx 25.5 Million Bales per year (6,000tonnes); Egypt in comparison produces just 1 Million Bales. These figures considered it is impossible for there to be so much authentic Egyptian cotton on sale as there is. The actual truth is that most of the cotton based products, for example bed linen, coming out of Egypt are made from imported cotton from India and Pakistan.
Yes and no is the answer to this. To produce superb quality bed linen you do HAVE to use long staple cotton but the quality of the cotton is just one factor. The cotton has to be woven well and then most importantly finished properly.
Badly finished cotton can have a bad "whiteness" and can look yellow in certain light. It can also suffer from large shrinkage after washing, sometimes up to 10-12%, and can also be very hard to iron if the cloth is not mercerized properly. One of the most obvious things that people notice about poor quality linen is a "Furry" surface and "Pilling" after washing. This is all due to the fact the cloth hasn't been singed properly.
Thread-count shows the number of threads in a square inch of cloth. Thread-counts when related to bed linen can range from 120 to over 1,000. For example a standard men's work shirt would be made using cotton with a thread-count of around 220.
Everyone has an opinion on what is the best thread-count and perhaps everyone has their own idea in their heads of what is meant by thread-count. Hopefully this definitive guide will dispel some myths and give you a better insight when purchasing bed linen.
The thread-count of any fabric is simply defined by the number of threads there are in a square inch of that particular cloth. So for example if you have a 200 Thread-count piece of cloth you should be able to cut a square out 1”x 1” and count 200 Threads running both Top to Bottom (Warp) and Left to Right (Weft).
When talking about bed linen, thread-counts start at around 120 per sq inch and go up over 1,000 per sq inch. The construction of a 120 Thread-count piece of cloth would be 60 threads running in the warp and 60 threads running in the weft. 60+60=120. A standard 200 Thread-count is usually constructed using 118 Threads running in the warp and 91 in the weft. (Actually a 199 Thread-count but they are always rounded up to the nearest 10).
The second important factor when considering thread-counts is the size (denier) of the yarns used to weave the cloth. This is the case whether the cloth is made of Cotton, Wool, Polyester, Nylon etc.
Denier is a measure of the thickness of the yarn/thread. The higher the number, the thinner the yarn is. For example standard 120 Thread-count cotton bed linen would use 30 denier cotton yarn/thread. If you then use the same 30 denier cotton yarn/thread to produce a 200 Thread-count you need to put more threads into a square inch to achieve the thread-count.
Obviously this gets harder and harder as you increase the thread-count, if you keep using the same thickness of cotton yarn. Eventually it actually becomes impossible. The maximum thread-count that can be produced using 30 denier yarn is around 250 threads per sq inch. Obviously as the thread-count is increased the fabric becomes denser and denser as more threads are squeezed into the same area.
When producing bed linen, as you increase the thread-count the size/denier of the yarn used decreases at the same time. For example most 200 Thread-count bed linen will use a 40 Denier Yarn. (Remember the higher the number the thinner the yarn). 300 Thread-count is often made using 60 Denier yarn, 400 Thread-count uses 80 Denier Yarn and so on. The highest denier in general use is around 140 and this would be used in very fine cotton or silk fabric used to make expensive shirts.
The above rules apply when good quality cotton yarn is used. Unfortunately quite a large amount of bed linen is produced using lower quality yarn. Lower quality thin yarn has the tendency to break during weaving and so to avoid this happening it is possible to spin to yarns together (a bit like plaiting), this then produces a thicker stronger yarn. This is the woven into various thread-counts.
The trouble with using 2-ply yarns as they are called is sometimes the thread-count is misrepresented. For example if you have a 200 Thread-count which uses 2-ply yarns (2 low quality yarns spun together), this is still a 200 Thread-count not a 400 Thread-count which it is quite often sold as. This is how super-high thread-counts are often achieved. Let’s take 1,000 Thread-count for example. This should use very fine 100 or 120 Denier yarn and be woven 560 threads on the warp and 438 on the weft but what can be done and often is, is an 80 denier 2-ply yarn is used and woven 233 on the warp and 264 on the weft. This is actually a 500 thread-count but because it uses low quality 2-ply yarns it is often sold as 1,000 thread-count counting each 2-ply yarn as 2 separate yarns. Not illegal, but immoral.
The other problem with using 2-ply yarns is because they are thicker when they are used to produce high thread-counts they are crammed into the square inch area and this just makes the fabric too dense. Bed Linen can end up feeling like curtain material or canvas. Cramming yarns in also affects how breathable the fabric is and this is important with bed linen. Not breathable means too hot.
The weaving process is just the first part of producing bed linen and already there are potential minefields. The next step is finishing the cloth. The finishing process is as important because this is where the whiteness is achieved, shrinkage is reduced and the overall “hand-feel” of the fabric is produced.
PIMA cotton is a brand name for long staple American cotton. Created by the American textile export department to compete with Egyptian cotton, again the truth is not all bed linen labeled as PIMA or SUPIMA uses long staple PIMA cotton.
Typically well finished cotton will shrink around 3-4% after the first wash and then never again. We build shrinkage in to the measurements of our sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases so that once washed they will be the size required to fit perfectly.
Yes we recommend that you do. The cloth has come straight from the finishing process and so will have a slight smell of finishing. One wash will remove this. The first wash will also allow the bed linen to shrink to the correct sizes.
Polyester is an oil based product and when woven into yarn it has a far greater degree of elasticity than cotton yarn. This helps to prevent creasing after washing. The polyester yarn helps hold the bed linen in shape and doesn't shrink. The problem is, it can be quite uncomfortable to sleep under and hot in the summer. The truth is, if a high quality cotton yarn is used and the finish is done properly, 100% Cotton bed linen shouldn't crease that badly and any creases should fall out after a few hours use.
Tog ratings are really only used in the UK. The fabric of a typical man's suit has a thermal resistance of around 0.1 m2K/W. This measurement was simplified for general use and people called it "one tog".
The tog was invented by workers at the Shirley Institute, Manchester, in the 1940s. The name comes from the informal word "togs" for clothing. Tog values are used to measure the potential warmth of many products, not just duvets. Note that the tog rating does not necessarily relate directly to the thickness of the duvet. Different materials have different thermal resistance characteristics and different thicknesses will be required to achieve the same tog rating.
Most hotels would use a 10.5TOG duvet and this Tog Rating can be achieved by using various fillings. If pure Goose down is used the duvet is lighter as you require less filling to achieve the rating. If down & feather then more filling would be required and if just feathers then the duvet becomes very heavy indeed.
The highest grade filling available is Eiderdown, this is taken from the nest of the Eider Duck (Mainly found in Iceland). It is extremely difficult to harvest but has incredible heat retention. To achieve a 10.5TOG Rating you hardly require any filling if using Eiderdown. Due to the fact it is very rare, Eiderdown has become prohibitively expensive. Some eiderdown duvets are over £5,000.00.
The more common filling found in the U.K. is 100% Goose Down whether it be Siberian, Hungarian, or Icelandic. The truth about Goose Down is, regardless of where it comes from it is all the same. The down clusters from the plumage of the goose have a higher level of insulation and are much softer and smaller than feathers. This allows the duvet to remain light but still achieve a high Tog Rating.
Fill power is a measure of the loft or "fluffiness" of a down product that is loosely related to the insulating value of the down. The higher the fill power the more insulating air pockets the down has and the better insulating ability. Fill power ranges from about 175 cm³/g (300 in³/oz) for feathers to around 900 cm�/g for the highest quality down. Higher fill powers are associated with a larger percentage of down clusters and a larger average down cluster size.
Whilst all duvet and pillow products have a wash label which says you can wash and dry the products, our recommendation is that you approach drying with great care. Whatever anybody tells you, laundering duvets and pillows is not straightforward. Washing them is the easy bit - it is the drying that is more difficult. This is complicated by the fact that there is no strict advice to follow - each manufacturer has slightly different ideas about temperatures and drying cycles.
What is a fact is that if a pillow or duvet has been through a spin cycle or is subjected to hot tumble drying, there will be a problem with the filling, both natural and synthetic. In our experience, if a duvet is going to be laundered, it needs to be removed constantly from the drying cycle and shaken vigorously. This action will help to separate the fibres or feathers as they lose moisture and help them to fluff up. How often this should be done, and for what duration, is both a guess and a minefield. Our recommendation is to take the advice of a specialist cleaner but if you are going to attempt it yourself, to be ultra-cautious and definitely shake the items several times during drying.
A Box Construction describes the make up of a natural filled duvet. With box construction the duvet is hemmed into equally sized squares, each square is then filled with the down or feathers. This spreads the warmth across the entire duvet. Gone are the days when you wake up and all the filling is at the bottom of the duvet.
No, the birds are bred for food primarily. The down and feathers used are a by-product of the food industry. Similar to Wool and Leather.
There is still on-going study into this but it is believed that the dust mites actually cause any allergies attributed to sleeping under natural filled products. People who say they have an allergy to natural filled bedding have probably once slept in a bed with very low quality pillows and duvets, without a decent outer shell.
The presence of dust mites and the problems associated with them can be completely eradicated by using a high thread-count dust mite proof (sometimes referred to as NOMITE) outer shell and also using high grade, heat treated filling.
If you think you have an allergy to natural filled products it might we worth trying one of our pillows and/or duvets and seeing if it goes away!
Absolutely yes. You have to wash a towel once to make it absorbent. The first wash will also remove all the lint and excess finish. Avoid using fabric softener on the first wash.
Avoid using softener on the first wash and for all subsequent washes use less washing powder than you would for clothes. The surface of the towels creates more lather than clothes or sheets and if they lather too much you may get detergent residue on the towels after the wash. Tumble dry on a low heat once washed.