Just starting your search? Wish you knew more about shopping for children’s bedding? Help is here! We’ve put together some tips to help you along, but before we begin, here are some things to think about before shopping for your child:
- Is your child potty trained?
- What is the climate where you live? What is the temperature in your child’s room throughout the year?
- How long do you want the bedding to last? How often do you like to change the look of a room? Will you be passing down linens to younger siblings?
- What are your laundering preferences and habits?
A comforter is a thicker blanket, most often filled with polyester batting. It has its own decorative cover that cannot be removed. The comforter is a very desirable choice for children’s rooms because:
- It is often a less expensive choice - you do not need to buy a duvet insert.
- It is a good 5-year investment for a young child whose tastes will change and mature in that time.
- It is a single blanket to wash & dry (especially when potty training) and doesn’t need ironing.
- It appears flatter & neater on the bed (similar to a bedspread), which some parents prefer.
- It feels less “heavy” which some younger children prefer.
However, comforters do have some drawbacks:
- You cannot change the look often.
- It appears fluffier at first, and will flatten over time. It doesn’t “re-fluff” like duvets.
You can think of the duvet and duvet cover like a pillow and pillowcase.
Some tips on duvets:
- Duvets are filled with down, feathers or synthetic fibers. For children we recommend using duvets made with synthetic, hypoallergenic materials. They are machine washable and suitable for allergy prone children.
- Baffle box construction is desirable when choosing a duvet. A baffle box is simply a square sectioning of the blanket repeated throughout the duvet. Each square secures its contents from shifting, ensuring an even loftiness throughout the blanket.
- Choose your duvet AFTER choosing your duvet cover. It is necessary to get a duvet with the same dimensions as your cover or a couple of inches bigger. Your duvet cover will appear as lofty as possible and the duvet will not shift inside.
Duvet covers are essentially the decorative casing for the duvet and prevent the need for frequent washing. Duvet covers can be made from various textiles, with the most common being a sheeting fabric. Alternatively, heavier fabrics like cotton ducks can be used as the top layer with a sheeting fabric underneath to ensure softness against the body. Heavier fabrics often appear more formal but can be a little fussier to maintain.
The duvet system is a very desirable choice for your child’s bed because:
- You can change the look of the room by simply changing the duvet cover.
- Duvets have a long life- they are a good 10 year investment.
- If well maintained, a duvet cover may be passed on to a younger sibling while you update your older child’s room.
- A synthetically filled duvet blanket is machine washable and so are the majority of duvet covers.
- Feels fluffy and easy to re-fluff, simply shake it out.
- Works well in all seasons. If the duvet is too hot in the summer, simply sleep with the duvet cover!
However, the duvet system can be a little more fussy to launder as you need to remove the cover from the duvet before washing either piece. Additionally, some of the heavier duck fabrics are “hang to dry” which is less convenient for some families. Duvet covers that are made of 100% cotton sheeting fabrics may be machine washed and dried, however some ironing will always be required if you desire a picture perfect look.
- It is important to note that the bedding industry has moved away from standard sizing. PLEASE CHECK the sizing of your duvet cover before buying your duvet insert.
- Twin duvets can range in size from 64" wide to 70" wide - that is a 6" difference and greatly impacts the size of the duvet insert you need to buy
- 'Double' and 'Full' size bedding mean the same thing.
- As for a double or full size bed, many companies no longer carry the traditional 70" X 88" size. They have moved to what is called a full/queen size which is typically, but not always, 86" X 86". This duvet or comforter size is meant to fit both a full and queen size bed. The blanket may drape lower on the full size bed then a queen (depending on how high your mattress is off the floor)
- Another sizing tip to remember is to always know the depth of your mattress before buying sheets. Now, with pillow top mattresses, sheeting is made to accommodate mattresses up to 21" depth. Most children's mattresses however, are not this deep. If you want a tight fitting sheet, measure your mattress and read the pocket depth information on the sheets you are interested in buying. We carry sheeting that ranges from 11" deep to 17" deep.
- At Wish Bedding, we indicate the dimensions of our products under our Product Details section found on every page.
Here are 5 really important tips when shopping for sheeting:
- Get a flat sheet for under your blanket. This drastically reduces the number of times you need to wash your blanket, extending the life of your comforter or duvet as long as possible. Ideally a duvet cover or comforter should only be washed a few times a year.
- Check the depth of your mattress BEFORE purchasing fitted sheets to ensure a snug fit on your mattress. This translates into the “pocket depth” of the sheet.
- Have at least 2 sheet sets (flat, fitted, pillowcases). Sheeting requires frequent washing, wearing down the fibers and longevity of the fabric. If you only have one set of sheeting, you’ll find that the blanket will outlast the sheets.
- We suggest purchasing 180 thread count or higher for softness and durability, however anything over 250 for a child may be an expensive indulgence.
- Always check laundering care instructions before purchase. Some sets clearly state Dry Clean Only or hang to dry. Be aware of what you are buying and be prepared to follow the instructions if you want the set to last.
Fabric quality is determined by many factors including fiber content, thread count, individual thread quality and weaves. Although we can’t teach everything, here are some important facts and definitions:
Thread Count:It is the number of threads, both vertical and horizontal, in one square inch of fabric. So, if you take a square inch of fabric and count 50 threads from top to bottom and 50 threads from left to right, you have a 100 thread count piece of fabric. Typically, the higher the thread count, the softer and more lustrous the fabric. While the thread count of a fabric determines its density, and gives you a good gauge of its softness, there are other factors that impact the softness of the fabric even more than its thread count. One such factor is "content" (see below).
Fibre Content:Most often, parents today are looking for 100% cotton sheeting. It is all natural, cool and soft to the skin. Some people however, do not realize that there is some benefit to having a high ratio cotton / polyester content in sheeting, especially for kids. It can be washed in warmer temperatures, is resistant to wrinkling, shrinkage & fading and still has desirable softness. However, the higher the polyester content, the less soft and breathable the fabric will be, even in higher thread count fabrics. (i.e., a high thread count 60/40 percale blend won't be as soft as a lower thread count 100% cotton). Dyes can also affect softness - a dark colored cotton percale will feel stiffer than a lighter colored percale with the same thread count.
Pima:The United States has an excellent breed of cotton called "pima". This is a long-staple cotton, and is relatively inexpensive, considering its high quality.
Egyptian Cotton: The Nile valley produces a similar breed to Pima of luxurious cotton. Egyptian Cotton has longer, silkier, and thicker fibers, this cotton is woven into the absolute best percales. Since it is imported from Egypt, it is quite expensive and is often not used in children’s bedding.
Weave:Most often parents choose either a percale weave or a sateen weave for their children’s beds. When choosing which type of sheeting is best for your child, it comes down to a matter of preference. Below are some definitions to help you along in your decision making process.
Cotton Duck:The term ‘cotton duck’ comes from the Dutch word, 'doek,' which refers to a canvas-type cloth. Although ‘stiffer’ in feel, it softens with washings and has fabulous body when placed on a bed. When used as fabric for a duvet cover, it gives it a more formal and richer appearance. Often backed with sheeting fabrics to ensure softness against the body.
Percale:The word "percale" refers to the way the fabric is woven together. Percale weaves use a tight one over, one under structure. The weight of the fabric is medium, appears smooth and “matte”, feels crisper and washes very well. Percale sheeting is one of the finest available, made of carded or combed yarns (see below) and has a thread count of around 180TC or higher. Percale can be either 100% cotton, 100% polyester or some blend of both.
Watch fibre content when shopping percales. A combination of low thread count and high ratios of polyester to cotton causes percales to rip easily, feel rough, and worst of all, pill.
Pure cotton percales vs. those with a little polyester can be more difficult to maintain. They should be washed in cold water, and line or tumble-dried. They tend to wrinkle, and can shrink 1-2% the first time they are washed. This shrinkage is taken into account when the sheets are manufactured. For this reason, they may fit loosely before laundering, and have a snug fit afterward.
Sateen:Sateen is a method of weaving that has more yarn surface on the face of the cloth than other basic weaves. The sateen structure is four over, one under, placing the most threads on the surface. The weave is what gives the sateen sheet its soft, smooth, satin-like finish. However, sateen’s are slightly less durable than other weaves. Only carded or combed yarns are used and then mercerized (see below) to give it a higher sheen and luster. Sateen is usually 100% cotton.
Carded Cotton:Carded cotton is cotton that has been prepared for spinning into thread or yarn. Carding ensures that debris is removed while aligning the fibers to make them easier to spin. Without carding, cotton thread would be coarse and extremely fragile.
Combed Cotton:A cleaning process that eliminates impurities and short, less desirable fibers leaving cotton feeling soft and smooth. Combed cotton is soft and silky to the touch, and it tends to be more expensive, because a higher volume of cotton is removed during processing. Combed cotton is softer than carded cotton.
Mercerized:Refers to the process whereby sateen cotton has been treated with sodium hydroxide. The result makes the cotton fibers stronger and more easily dyed. It also adds luster to the fibers that is the hallmark of sateen.
So what does all this mean? It’s a matter of preference:
- If you like the feeling of crisp ironed sheets, go with a percale with 180 thread count or more and high cotton content. FYI -These are Natalie’s favourite.
- If it is a silkier, lustrous look that you are after, you’ll love a sateen woven sheet. Just be mindful that they may be more delicate than percales and may hold stains a little more too.
- Your sheets will last longer if you follow the “two set rule”- One on the bed and one in the laundry. This way, your sheets will last twice as long.
- For maximum wear and vibrancy, we recommend washing pure cotton sheeting and duvet covers (inside out) in cold water, gentle cycle if possible. If stain removal is required, always test a discreet area with your stain remover first. Duvet covers should be hung to dry, ironed inside out. Sheeting can be tumble dried on low to medium heat.
- For comforters, we also recommend washing in cold water, gentle cycle if possible, to put as little pressure on the stitching as possible. Tumble dry on medium heat.
- Use a flat sheet under your blanket. This drastically reduces the number of times you need to wash your blanket, extending the life of your comforter or duvet as long as possible. Ideally the duvet system or comforter should only be washed a few times a year.
- Avoid powders with optical brighteners or bleaches.