How does fibre type, fill weight & casing fabric in your quilt affect your sleep?

When you're in the market for buying a quilt, whether it's the first time you've ventured out to buy bedding, or you're looking to invest in a new upgrade, knowing everything you need to can be difficult to discover amidst the chaos of quilt shopping. Trending words like "loft" and "50% down" may be confusing, because as with most products, what works for someone else may not work for you. We'd like to introduce our guide to the 5 core quilt types (you might even call them duvets where you are from) and what you need to know in order to may a well-informed purchase.

Let's start way down with the basics. A quilt or duvet is a piece of bedding material that is typically comprised of two parts: a fill, and a casing (because without it, there would literally be a pile of fibres or feathers on your bed). Quilts are commonly used over other types of core bedding materials, such as coverlets, bespreads, or comforters because they provide a great deal of style versatility. If you buy one quilt, you can also buy as many different quilt covers as you like, meaning if one quilt cover gets stained, torn, worn out or otherwise, you can simply replace it, or use another one (a lot of people have at least two, so that if one if being washed, you have something to use in the interim). If the same occurs to a coverlet, bedspread or comforter, you have to replace the whole thing - and typically right away, unless you have a bunch of blankets to use temporarily.

We love all bedding variations, but we know quilts are without a doubt the best option for warmth without a need for layering, as well as styling flexibility. If you've decided that a quilt is definitely your preferred option, now all you need to do is work out the following:

  • do you want a thick or thin quilt? (we'll take this opportunity to explain that high loft means a visually thicker/taller quilt, and low loft means a thinner/flatter quilt.)
  • do you get cold easily or do you tend to run warm whilst you sleep?
  • do you have allergies?
  • do you want a heavy quilt or a light-weight quilt? (keep in mind that lightweight does not necessarily mean cooler.)
  • do you have a personal preference for natural or synthetic fibres?

Weigh up these questions (the ones you care about only) and keep your answers in mind as you read on.

Let's start by looking at the inner component of the quilt, the fill. The fill of a quilt is what determines the warmth, weight and loft. It's pretty much the important bit, as the casing just traps it all in together. There are 5 common quilt fill types:

  • Wool fibre fill
  • Feather & down fill
  • Cotton fill
  • Bamboo fibre fill
  • Synthetic fibre fill (which is typically either microfibre or polyester fill)

Wool Quilts

You have more than likely heard of woollen quilts - they're quite common in Australia due to our renowned wool quality. It's warm, affordable, and durable, and comes in a wide range of fill quantities. This is where the acronym GSM comes in, which refers to grams per square meter. When talking about wool fibres, a higher GSM means the quilt has a higher loft, heavier weight, and warmer rating, and vice versa for a lower GSM. As wool is an organic material, it naturally inherits the properties of its fibres, meaning it is temperature regulating, odour resistant, breathable and fire-resistant. It also means that it is 100% biodegradable should you wish to self-compost or dispose of it when the quilt grows too worn out to continue using.

So, what are the downsides to a wool quilts? Well, the only one we know to be true is that if you are allergic to wool, we don't recommend purchasing a wool quilt. We also recommend other options if having an extremely lofty-looking bed is your goal, as wool fibres are often quite compact and can result in a flatter-looking quilt. Otherwise, if you prefer a sleek-looking bed and love all the above qualities, a wool quilt will do the trick.

Feather & Down Quilts

Another quilt type that is fairly common across the world is feather and down. This filling type is known for being luxurious, soft, and lightweight. Feather and down fill can come from ducks or geese, and of the two, goose feather and down is lighter, smaller, and has stronger insulating properties. This means goose feather and down quilts are more premium than duck feather and down, making them cost a little more - but we promise, if you're in the market for a high-end quilt, feather and down options are worth their weight in gold.

Due to their lightweight nature, feather and down quilts are also very lofty, as air gets trapped between the downy tufts. They are a great option if you prefer a thicker-looking duvet on your bed, but to keep it looking and operating its best, we recommend shaking it out every morning to encourage air circulation throughout the fill. The same as you might fluff a feather and down pillows to get it nice and full-looking, the same needs to be done to a feather and down quilt. Again, if you're allergic to bird feathers, we don't recommend a feather and down quilt as sometimes a feather or two may escape. As a premium fill type, you also won't be able to wash this kind of quilt unless its care instructions specifically say to - but even then, we recommend against it. Simply set up your feather and down duvet (stripped of a quilt cover or protector, of course) in a sunny, airy spot on a hot day and let it breathe for a few hours, once or twice a month.

It may sound like a bit of added work to your laundry schedule, but if you want something that feels and looks luxurious, feather and down quilts are the way to go. As a premium fill, they are naturally temperature regulating, and the best type of quilt for insulating warmth without adding weight (like a stack of blankets might). As an organic material, they are also 100% biodegradable at their end of life, meaning they're a much more eco-friendly option than some of the synthetic options available.

Feather and down quilts also don't come with a GSM measurement, they come with a percentage of content. For example, we offer a 50% duck feather and down quilt, as well as an 80% duck feather and down quilt. The difference is that the 80% items are comprised of 80% down (the softer, lighter, fluffy stuff) and 20% feathers, whereas the 50% is split 50-50 for both down and feathers. A higher down content simply means a softer, lighter and warmer quilt.

Cotton Quilts

Cotton is a great staple when it comes to bedding. Its fibres are well-known to produce some of the most commonly used sheets, but they can also make a great fill fibre for duvets. Cotton duvets have all the natural properties that the cotton fibre has, such as breathability, softness and durability. Cotton quilts are also typically machine-washable, which makes them super easy to care for if you live in a home where accidental spills happen! They also tend to have a lower loft and are similar to wool quilts of a similar GSM weight - but wool quilts tend to feel heavier in weight due to the density of the fibres. We recommend cotton for customers that are allergic to wool, looking for something affordable, and prefer lightweight bedding.

Bamboo Quilts

Bamboo quilts are rising in popularity due to their allergy-sensitive benefits, as well as the eco-friendly nature of bamboo as a material source. Bamboo is an exceedingly fast-growing plant, making it an excellent renewable resource. It also uses a lot less water than cotton to grow. Some bamboo quilts feature a blended fill of bamboo and cotton fibres to combine the best of both - the softness of cotton and the amazing qualities of bamboo. Bamboo fibres are naturally hypoallergenic, antibacterial and odour resistant. Bamboo is also excellent at wicking moisture and regulating body temperatures. We recommend bamboo quilts for those that are sensitive to other fibre fill types, or those that are looking for an all-year-round quilt.

Synthetic Quilts

There is a range of synthetic quilts available on the market, and for good reason! Other than people that have specific allergies, synthetic quilts are known for being very warm, and they make a great solution for people that struggle to retain body heat throughout the night. Polyester and microfibre-filled quilts are great insulators, and though they do not breathe the way natural fibres do, they can be constructed at super-high lofts, which is great for those that love a plush-looking bed.

Many synthetic quilts are also machine washable, making them a great option for people that prefer to regularly wash their bedding or aren't opposed to accidental spills happening. Frequent washing may also prevent dust buildup that could irritate people who suffer from dust allergies.
When it comes to weight, synthetic quilts can range in heaviness, with specialised fill types like ExcelMicrofibre and micro-down polyester fill creating different densities that affect how heavy the overall duvet is. However, with more fill content, comes more weight, so 500GSM synthetic quilt will weigh a little more than a 250GSM might.

So, how will any of this affect the way I sleep?

Well, if you're prone to anxiety and/or get restless when you sleep, a heavier weighing quilt might be helpful in settling your body down to prepare for slumber. However, if you get claustrophobia easily or don't like feeling trapped within your covers, a lightweight quilt may benefit you more. Simply keep in mind your preferences for synthetic/organic materials, any allergies you may have, and whether or not you run cold or hot whilst you sleep. Here's a little table we made to help clear things up about where you may sit. For further advice, we recommend getting in contact and talking to one of our expert staff members.

Run Hot Even Run Cold
Light Wool 150GSM Feather & Down
Cotton 250-400GSM
Feather & Down
Medium Bamboo 350GSM Wool 350GSM
Bamboo 350GSM
Synthetic 250-400GSM
Wool 500GSM
Heavy Synthetic 500GSM  Synthetic 500GSM


Many of our wool, feather and down, and bamboo fill quilts are particularly suitable for those with dust allergens. Just keep an eye out for an OEKO-TEX certification in the product description, which confirms that the quilt is breathable and no chemicals are used in its production that may trigger an allergic response. Other products may also mention they have undergone a de-dusting treatment, which is an extra step in the manufacturing process to extract excess dust from the quilt. Otherwise, synthetic quilts are best used for those with allergies.

In terms of the casing - many quilts are encased with a simple lightweight cotton fabric case, which breathes well and complements a variety of fill fibres. Polyester or poly-cotton blended fabrics are also used in some cases. Premium quality quilts will have a 100% brushed cotton Japara case, and sometimes bamboo quilts will include a bamboo-cotton blended fabric casing. This doesn't majorly affect the properties of the quilt, but it's good to know if you have a preference for natural or synthetic fibres.
Lastly, when we talk loft, if the way your bed looks is important to you, we recommend thoroughly reading the product description before purchase, as we identify which of our quilts are low, medium or high loft quilts. As a safe play, feather and down quilts are typically always lofty, and any product that states it has deep gussets usually indicates that it has a high loft.