A Brief Guide to Silk Duvets
Silk duvet is the healthiest and the longest-lasting option for high-end bedding you and your family. It is a valuable investment and only the best models speak fully for the quality you deserve.
Before buying a high-quality silk-filled duvet, we want you to consider a couple of the most important factors. Here are the five of them.
1. FILLING. There are big differences in the material that is used in producing the filling of silk duvets.
The most common fillings are two: Mulberry Silk (cultivated silk) and Tussah silk (roughly, wild silk and waste).
Mulberry Silk (Bombyx mori) comes from silkworms that solely feed on the leaves of a mulberry plant. These silkworms are completely domesticated, do not stress the environment, and the silk from the cocoons is reared in special indoor facilities.
A single high-quality mulberry silk cocoon can reach an amazing 800-1500 meters of silk floss. Mulberry silk floss is long, very fine and comes with a pearl color finish. It is very soft, flexible and durable. Its quality is much higher than that of tussah silk, and it feels exquisite and smooth.
Mulberry Silk Duvets are soft and close-fitting, and much fluffier, lighter and warmer compared to tussah silk. Mulberry is really the finest material from which silk duvets can be produced.
Mulberry silk cocoons come in different grades. When silk is processed with cocoons of different grades, the resulting mulberry silk floss also has different qualities and prices.
Tussah silk means silk that comes from wild silkworms that feed on oak and Terminalia leaves as well as on several other minor host plants. The color of Tussah silk floss is dirty looking, sort of gray-green, and has less elasticity and durability. Silk fibers from wild silkworms are rough and hard and dry compared to mulberry floss.
Since these silkworms are wild rather than cultivated, their harvesting may stress the environment. Sericulture, that is, cultivating mulberry silkworms, on the other hand, is much more environment-friendly.
A duvet made from tussah is easily recognizable by touching it: the feel is hard and uneven, not smooth and close-fitting as it is with mulberry.
Tussah silk is also processed into duvets through processes that usually require cleaning and bleaching of it with chemicals, and they are factory-made by machines.
Tussah silk is a good natural raw material for various types of silk textiles, but for processing it into silk duvet will make it much inferior to what you can get from real cultivated mulberry silk.
Cheap, low-end silk duvets are always made from tussah, not mulberry.
2. Raw material difference in the filling – this is the important question of long-fiber mulberry silk floss vs. short-fiber silk floss
As to the length of the filled silk floss, the quick reference standard is this:
- Short -fiber silk floss uses the by-products of silk processing as the raw material (mainly the off-cuts, waste and mixed sources). The length of such silk floss is under 25cm
- Medium-fiber silk floss uses the by-products of cocoon or silk reeling processing as the raw material. The raw material is mainly gotten from defective cocoons and tussah cocoons. The length of such silk floss is normally between 25cm and 50 cm.
- Long-fiber silk floss uses the whole and highest-quality cocoons as the raw material. The fibers can be stretched to the desired length, usually over 50cm long and the fibers well over one meter are not unusual.
Here you can see the difference in this technical picture:
The most exquisite and durable silk duvets are made from long-fiber mulberry silk. The process is roughly three-fold: First, there the silk floss is stretched by hand. Then, floss is made to form layers. Last, layers are stacked layer upon layer, even several hundred times, to produce the filling.
All this is handmade by professional silk craftsmen and women. An interesting thing in this process is that the silk mesh surface has a high paste property. All the layers will connect closely and firmly to each other and to the final covering material that surrounds the layers.
A high-quality long-fiber mulberry silk duvet forms a complete structure. The best such duvets are not and need not be stitched at all. If you find someone selling “long-fiber duvets” that are stitched, the filling there is not really long-fiber.
For silk reeled from lower grade cocoons or tussah cocoons, silk fiber is relatively short. Many silk duvets are made using such off-cuts, waste material and mixed silk sources. This type of silk duvet requires box stitches to prevent the filling shifting and bunching.
In sum, tussah silk is never long-fiber, and many duvets that are said to be long-fiber mulberry silk are actually stitched and so are not really made from long-fiber mulberry silk.
A simple method to identify whether your silk duvet is filled with long or short to medium-fiber silk floss, just check whether the duvet is stitched or not. If the filling content is produced from the high-quality mulberry cocoons, it is simply unnecessary to do any stitching, which would just spoil the real comfort and airiness of the duvet.
- All of SiMei Silk silk duvets are filled 100% with the highest-quality long-fiber mulberry silk.
As all our duvets have an opening, you can easily inspect and feel the unsurpassed quality of the filling.
Note that some silk duvets in the market also may have a small opening, but because the duvet is stitched, you only can check a small area; it is impossible to check other places. To avoid disappointments, do make sure that the entire duvet is filled with the highest-quality long-fiber mulberry silk.
Here are the close-ups of our SiMei Silk silk duvets:
Our next point concerns the processing methods.
3. Silk duvet processing methods difference — handmade vs machine made silk duvets
Handmade silk duvets use long-fiber silk floss. Silk floss is stretched by four silk craft professionals located at the corners of the silk mesh structure (the first picture below). They work the filling layer by layer until the desired weight and thickness is achieved. Finally, the duvet is tacked at the four corners (the second picture) and the center position (the third picture).
Only this method will ensure that the filling in your silk duvet is perfectly smooth and even.
Here are some pictures from our factory with professional silk quilters:
Producing a genuine silk duvet requires true skills and experience and is considered as a traditional form of art and craft.
Machine made silk duvets are made from short fiber silk or off-cuts, waste and mixed sources, and are bleached with chemicals. Such duvets require extra stitching. Stitching damages the silk fiber and undermines duvets’ nearly miraculous heat regulating ability.
Sometimes the filling of silk duvets using short fiber is made by hand instead of machines, but then a box-stitching is required.
Common styles used in stitching are:
a) Box stitching:
b) Pattern stitching:
So make no mistake, silk duvets made from long-fiber mulberry silk floss do not use stitching. When the filling consists of lower grade or short-fiber silk, the stitching process is always at place.
4. Duvet casing – Silk Casing vs. Cotton casing
There are essentially two kinds of silk duvet casing available: made from cotton and made from silk.
Cotton casings are the most popular for silk duvets. Cotton casings just as cotton in general are available in various grades and thread counts. Quality of casing is directly related to its durability and ecological matters.
Combed cotton is a soft version of cotton made by specially treating the cotton fibers before they are spun into yarn. Combed cotton is slightly more expensive than conventional cotton. The soft yet strong material is ideal for bed linens and clothing worn against the skin.
Combed cotton for clothing and bed linens is preferable because of the softness and tensile strength. Cotton which has not undergone the combing step tends to be rougher and subject to fraying, pilling, and tearing. Combed cotton will, of course, ultimately break down, just like regular cotton. It is an excellent choice for garments intended to be worn by babies and the elderly, since it is gentle against the skin.
There has been much talk about the thread count of textiles, especially that of cotton. The research shows, however, that the thread count is insignificant (Consumer Reports): “in our past sheet tests we confirmed that a higher thread count doesn't guarantee better sheets … Spending money on sheets that have more than a 400 thread count is not necessary. Instead, focus on the fabric the sheets are made of. Combed cotton, Egyptian cotton or Pima cotton are the best choices”.
Our cotton cased silk duvets are all combed cotton. Here is a close-up of how they look like:
Silk casing. The most exquisite silk duvets use silk casing. They will cost considerably more than any silk duvet that has a cotton casing. In return, silk casing has the most luxurious feeling and it will give the full benefits of what a silk duvet can possibly have.
When considering buying a silk duvet with silk casing, check the weight and quality of the silk used in the casing. As in silk sheets in general, the momme number is the definite thing to be checked. If it is below 16mm that would mean relatively thin silk which in regular and continuous use may not last as long as those with over 16mm.
For special purposes, such as for travelling and temporary uses, slightly thinner and thus also lighter silk to carry-on with you on trips may be a good option.
Having the casing made from mulberry silk textile known as Charmeuse – really the finest type of the textile – is also a necessity in this most upscale duvet imaginable.
Here are some pictures of our Silk Case Duvets:
These are our SiMei Silk Charmeuse-silk casings and they are made from the finest mulberry silk available. You can even choose whether they come with white stripes (right) or whether the casing is all plain white (left).
5. Last, notice the product safety certificates
The authority of textile safety certification is OEKO-TEX Standard 100, a globally uniform testing and certification system for textile raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of production. Certified textile products means the material is free of harmful chemicals and artificial colorants.
Only buy the silk (as indeed any textile) products that have this safety certificate.
We give you a full guarantee that all models of our SiMei Silk duvets are the highest quality long-fiber mulberry silk duvets. We also guarantee that they give you the best comfort and feeling that you can find anywhere on the market.
Guaranteed – or money back.
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