A duvet in a duvet cover can feel lighter than a blanket, but it is also much warmer. This is due to the trapped air in the duvet's down and feather stuffing. A duvet is a soft sack made of closely woven material, and typically covered with a removable fabric envelope, called a duvet cover, in a color or pattern that complements a bedroom's decor. The duvet contains feathers or the soft down from a duck or goose breast. The best -- and priciest -- duvets are filled with down from the Scandinavian eider duck, and are called eiderdown quilts. But, at every price range, a duvet in a duvet cover brings added comfort and style. In addition, a comforter can be inserted into a duvet cover.
Inserting a Duvet
Before using a duvet, you need to put the duvet cover on it without bunching, stuffing or wrinkling either piece of bedding. The easiest way to do so is to adapt the inside-out method. First, spread the duvet on your bed. Next, open the duvet cover, untying or unbuttoning it completely. Poke your hands inside the cover, grab the far corners and turn the cover inside out. Now, push your arms back into the inside-out cover to grip the corners from the inside. Use your covered hands to also pinch two corners of the duvet. Raise the duvet, shaking the duvet cover down over it as you hold on. Once the entire package is together, close up the duvet cover by its ties, buttons or other means.
DIY Duvet Covers
With a sewing machine and a few yards of light, washable fabric, you can change your bed's look as often as you like by making your own duvet cover. Consider a bold, stenciled-print fabric to cover the duvet. Or, make a creative cover for a teen bed by sewing a patchwork of favorite T-shirt panels to a plain sheet. Just add a solid-color sheet to form the back of the duvet cover's envelope. For a tween's duvet cover, have his or her friends use fabric paint to add graffiti and messages to a sheet, and then sew it to another sheet. You can also create a cover from two distinct patterns, one on each side -- just flip the cover for a whole new look.
Cleaning a Duvet
A duvet and duvet cover is easy to maintain. When it comes to cleaning, remove the cover from the duvet and toss it into the washer with your sheets and pillowcases. You can then throw it in the dryer (if indicated by the care instructions) or hang it outside to air-dry. You can also machine wash the duvet itself -- but check the care instructions on the tag for the best method of washing and drying. Most manufacturers recommend washing a duvet infrequently or annually. Between washings, hang the duvet out a window or fluff it briefly in the dryer to keep it lofty and sweet-smelling.
If you share your bed with a wiggler, you might find yourself coverless each morning. But a duvet -- or two duvets -- solve the problem. Buy two twin duvets and two twin duvet covers for your king- or queen-size bed and fold the duvets in thirds, lengthwise, so that they both lay tucked up against the pillow shams for their respective sides of the bed. This way, the duvets look neat throughout the day and allow you to curl up in your own bedding at night. You can even choose two different fill powers (fill power indicates loft; a high fill power means more insulation and warmth) to customize the duvets to your individual sleeping needs. Match duvet covers and pillow shams for a uniform appearance, or mix them up for a more eclectic, casual look.
Unbunching a Duvet
If you sleep so energetically that your duvet ends up bunched down inside its cover by morning, take an extra step to keep it all together. Sew two pieces of twill tape to the inside corners of the duvet cover. When you slip the cover on the duvet, catch each duvet corner in the twill tape and tie it down. Just make sure you arrange the duvet on your bed so that the corners with the twill tape face you as you sleep. This ensures the duvet remains in place each night. Come morning, you will only need to shake the duvet in its cover a little to straighten it out. If you use your duvet European-style (just skip using a top sheet altogether), bed-making will be even simpler.