Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Down Fill Power

Q: Why do SFERRA's heavy weight 900+ fill power duvets (Cornwall and Snowdon) have more ounces of down than our heavy weight 800+ fill power duvets (Cardigan)?

A: In general, the higher the fill power — or size of the down cluster — the lower the ounces required. The concept is “warmth without weight.” If you review all of our down products, as the fill power increases, the weight decreases. However, when it comes to the winter weight duvets, the 900+ fill power is actually heavier than the 800+ fill power.

 The reasoning behind going "super heavy" on the winter weight in the higher end down, is that the customers ordering a heavy weight 900+ comforter want a super thick and extremely fluffy duvet. They are typically not ordering it for the warmth, as the medium / year-round weight comforter provides excellent warmth. These customers want the thickest, fullest, loftiest comforter out there. It enhances the perceived value.

The Snowdon collection features 900+ fill power and a German silk jacquard ticking:
The newly-introduced Cornwall collection features 900+ fill power and a German cotton batiste ticking: 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thread Count...Is it important?

In the last few years, there has been much talk about “thread count” or simply the number of threads per square inch in sheeting fabric. At one point it actually got to be something of a status symbol, a “my sheets have more threads than yours” sort of thing as manufacturers and retailers, in order to sell more sheets, pushed the issue. 

So what exactly is thread count? It is simply a measure of how many threads—warp (lengthwise) and weft (widthwise)—are woven into one square inch of fabric. The thread count of “standard” cotton or muslin is around 150; good-quality sheets start at 180-thread count; and a count of 200 and higher is considered percale. 
Thread count also has to do with the yarn construction and quality of the yarn. With finer threads, like those produced with Egyptian cotton, more can be woven into each square inch, producing a finer, softer, more flexible fabric.
As a practical issue, just how many threads can fit into one square inch of fabric? While improvements in spinning and milling technologies have pushed up the numbers, thread counts above 500 are something of a misnomer (and, according to many insiders, a waste of money). Very high thread counts generally entail the use of a “plied” yarn—one that is produced by twisting together gossamer-fine threads. For marketing purposes it is not uncommon to count the twisted yarn as double and, for example, describe fabric with 250 individual four-ply yarns in a square inch as a 1,000-thread count product.
My observation is that talking about thread count in sheets is overblown and has been a marketing ploy for many companies. Very simply, the European fabric industry finishes fabric better than anywhere else in the world. At South Beach Linens we have sold many sheets with 300 to 400 thread count which are as soft as many so called higher thread count sheets.

Bottom line…the way the fabric is processed in the finishing stage is more important than thread count! Types of cottons, single ply or twin ply and mercerization are other issues which come into play and affect the feel and quality. If you have question in making a decision on what kind of sheets to buy, please contact me. I’ll be happy to help you.
All the best!

What is the difference between goose down and duck down?

Q: What is the difference between goose down and duck down?

A: Obviously, goose down comes from a goose and duck down comes from a duck. Other than that, they are very similar. High quality down can be found with both geese and ducks. However, geese are usually larger birds and, therefore, have larger down clusters. The size of the down clusters is a factor of both the size of the bird and the climate. A bird living in a colder climate has larger down clusters than the same size bird living in a warmer climate. The larger the down clusters, the higher the fill power. The effectiveness of the down depends on the fill power (size of the down clusters), the quality (ratio of down to feathers), and the processing (cleaning).

Generally, duck down is less expensive because the supply is much greater than goose down. The down is a by-product of the meat and egg industry and there is a much greater demand for duck food products. From a marketing standpoint, goose down has a better image. Yet, a higher quality duck down can be better than a lower quality goose down.

South Beach Linens offers offers SFERRA goose and duck down comforters and pillows, as follows:
  • Dover (European white duck down / 600+ fill power)
  • Buxton (European white goose down / 600+ fill power)
  • Somerset (Polish white goose down / 700+ fill power)
  • Cardigan (Siberian white goose down / 800+ fill power)
  • Snowdon (Canadian white goose down / 900+ fill power, with a silk jacquard ticking)
  • Utopia (Eider duck down, with a silk jacquard ticking)
Tilney down blankets and Monmouth down mattress pads are also available with European white goose down / 600+ fill power.
For Fall 2015, SFERRA is introducing Cornwall, which will contain the Canadian white goose down / 900+ fill power found in Snowdon, but feature the cotton batiste ticking utilized with Cardigan.