A duvet insert, also called a comforter, and duvet cover are types of bed coverings. Often the term "duvet" is used interchangeably for the insert and the decorative cover. Inserts are usually filled with down and/or feathers. Covers resemble pillowcases with one opening. Cover openings close with buttons, zippers, snaps or hook-and-loop tape. Common problems associated with duvet inserts and covers are laundering issues, general repair, improper fit and shifting distribution of the insert within the cover.
Most duvet covers can be washed and dried in the household washing machine and clothes dryer, but check the fabric-care label first. Many synthetic fabrics, such as rayon, cannot be dried in the dryer. Duvet inserts are more difficult to launder and usually should be taken to a professional dry cleaning and laundering service. Because down and feathers deteriorate when exposed to heat, dryers can cause damage to the filling. Inserts can sometimes be washed by hand in a bathtub, but completely air drying it can be difficult. Thorough, proper drying is essential because damp filling can mildew and mould. Washing machines often feature drums too small to contain duvet inserts and forcing the insert into the drum can result in flooding, damage to the washing machine or damaging the duvet insert. Manufacturers recommend professional laundering of a duvet insert at least once every five years.
Holes and Tears
The occasional feather may protrude through a side seam, which is of little concern, but a rip or tear should be repaired immediately or you will find your duvet cover filled with escaping feathers. Rips left unrepaired can be torn further, making mending more difficult and allowing more of the insert's filling to spill out. Poke any loose feathers and down back into the insert through the rip. Use a needle and thread to sew the hole closed or iron an iron-on fabric repair patch over the rip. Split seams can be resewn by hand. Use button thread for a stronger repair. Duvet covers should be repaired by hand with a needle and thread or iron-on fabric patch.
Improper Cover Fit
Use a measuring tape to measure the length, width and depth (also called loft) of your duvet insert. When shopping for a duvet cover, don't trust the standard bed sizes. Not all duvet covers are exactly standard despite their claims. Use the measurements of your duvet insert to compare to the measurements given by duvet cover manufacturers. An improper fit will diminish the attractiveness of your duvet ensemble. A cover that is too small for the insert will appear "crammed" and bulky. A cover that is too large for the insert will allow the insert to slide around inside and generally will appear flat outside around the insert.
Uneven Distribution Within the Duvet Cover
Perhaps the most annoying problem with duvet inserts in duvet covers is the shifting, sliding, bunching and uneven distribution of the insert within the cover. One quick remedy is to place the insert into the cover and then hand-stitch the corners of the insert to the inside corners of the cover with a few stitches. The insert can be removed by clipping the stitches or using a seam ripper to "pop" the stitches inside. Since the corners are sewn inside of the cover, the fix is invisible. Purchase duvet comforter clips that attach the insert inside the cover if sewing isn't your thing. Bunched down and feathers can be manually flattened and redistributed inside of the insert. Place the comforter on the bed and use your hands to squeeze and push the filling throughout the insert until the outside appearance is level and even.
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