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How to Choose a Down Comforter - Duvet

How to Choose a Down Comforter, courtesy of St. Geneve: Down Comforters & Pillows:

Choose The Right Quality of Down Comforter

There is virtually nothing that will serve you for so many hours in a day; every day every week, every month, for decades. There is nothing that you will use so closely and personally that will comfort you so completely.  Choosing a high quality down comforter is important.

A high quality down comforter or duvet will outlast a television, fridge, mattress, stove, and even a car. In terms of actual use, a car will last perhaps around 12,000 hours, a quality down duvet around 75,000 (assuming that you take good care of both and there is about 250,000 miles on the car).

Given proper care, a high quality down comforter will last for 20, 25, 30 years or more. Then it can be recovered into a new casing (aka Ticking) and last for even longer.  A quality down duvet will be a pleasure to use each and every night. A cheap low quality duvet will last perhaps 3 years, and will not be a pleasure to use, therefore they are not cheap, just very poor value.

Higher quality duvets will provide a wider comfort range; they will be warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer than lower quality duvets. This is because higher quality down is better at all the things that down is famous for (such as insulation, lightness, breathability, etc) than lower quality down.

Higher quality down proof fabrics also contribute to better breathability. In fact, all St. Geneve's German fabric tickings now have a special finish that makes them even more breathable than other cottons.

Choose the right weight for your down comforter

Winter Weight 

These down duvets are recommended for average sleepers in cool to cold bedrooms. Winter Weight duvets are guaranteed to be warm enough for a period of 10 years, or St.geneve will add more down at no charge (providing that the duvet has been properly cared for, and a duvet cover has been used at all times). Please note that down cannot be removed from a down duvet.

Classic Weight
These down duvets are recommended for warm sleepers, and for heated bedrooms.

Summer Weight
These down comforters are recommended for very warm sleepers, in warm conditions.

Dual Zone
He's hot, she's not. St. Geneve can make a down duvet with different weights on the two sides, for example; a summer weight on one side, and a classic weight on the other.

Choose the right size of down comforters

St. Geneve makes their down comforters to fit on typical mattresses with about 12" hanging over the sides and foot. This is so that when one person gets into their twin bed, or two people get into their double, queen, or king bed, the duvet will be able to be pulled up to settle down around the sleepers without dragging over the side of the bed. If you put too big of a down duvet on the bed (say, a king sized duvet on a queen bed), it will hang over the side of the bed, and the sleeper will be pulling against this weight through the night, making for a less comfortable sleep.

For a:
We recommend a:
Twin bed
Twin Duvet

Queen &
Full Beds

Queen Duvet
King beds
King Duvet

High profile duvet covers
St. Geneve offers duvet covers that fit their regular sized duvets, but that have an extra large flange to cover extra deep mattresses. These 'high profile' duvet covers are available in most of their patterns but are not listed on the website, contact us for more information.

Queen High Profile Duvet Cover
98" x 96" long
King High Profile Duvet Cover
116" x 96" long

Super size duvets
That being said, St. Geneve can supply special oversized down comforters and duvet covers for those clients that wish to cover their extra deep mattress. Note that a mattress up to 12" thick will be covered by St. Geneve's normal down duvet sizes.

Super Queen
100" x  98" long
Super King
114" x 98" long

St. Geneve Down Comforters can be found at this link: St. Geneve Down Comforters

Duvet Design

There are many different down duvet designs on the market. A few are good, but most are not. Poor designs exist because they are inexpensive to sew. A few awful designs exist simply to be unique, as a marketing gimmick. 

Good down comforter design has to ensure that the down filling can puff up, that the down stays on top of the sleeper, and that there are no thin cold spots. In order to achieve these characteristics, the following rules must be followed:


A down duvet must never be sewn straight through, as this lets warmth escape. The duvet will be cold as it is nothing but thin spots. It must have inside fabric baffles to provide an even layer of down.


Baffles must be deep enough to allow the down to loft up fully. Often down duvets are made with narrow baffles to make the duvet appear puffier due to thicker and thinner spots.

A down duvet must be chambered, or the down will gradually drift into the corners, leaving the center empty and cold.
The chambers must be sealed off from each other. Many box style down duvets are made with gaps in the walls, as shown in the "X-Ray" diagram. You can't tell by looking at it, because the stitching itself is continuous, but the baffles have gaps. In the course of 2 or 3 years, most of the down will drift to the ends of the duvet.

Internal Seams: The down comforter fabric should never be stitched straight through, but rather it should be internally tucked and sewn, with no stitches visible on the surface of the duvet. While this takes more fabric and labor, it is much stronger, and prevents any down leaking at the seams. You will always see the stitches on the edges of the duvet, where they should be very small and tight.

The Sealed Baffle Box Design

After experimenting with many different styles over the years, St. Geneve has found that the best is this design that originated in Europe. There is no shifting of the down, and it can loft up completely due to the extra deep baffles. There is a fabric "valve" between each chamber that is opened by the filling tube when down is being blown in. When the tube is removed, the valve closes permanently, so that each chamber is individually sealed to prevent any shifting of the down filling. This is guaranteed for the life of the duvet. We sew the pattern of boxes so that they are not square, but rather a rectangle. This makes it very simple to determine which is the top and which are the sides of the duvet when changing the duvet cover and making the bed.

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