All about quilt cover fabrics and why they are important

November 01, 2014 3 min read

supersoft cotton sateen fabrics are used in our alpaca quilts doonas

The choice of quilt cover fabric is very important for purpose and quality!

The choice of quilt cover fabric by quilt manufacturers is an important decision relative to appearance, softness, handle and the overall performance of the finished quilt.

Unfortunately, cost is all too often a major factor in fabric choice for lower quality quilts. The use of a poor quality or inappropriate cover fabric can have a major effect on the performance of quilt.

Kelly & Windsor only sources and uses the finest premium quality cover fabrics in the manufacture of our luxury alpaca and wool quilts. To compliment the quality of the alpaca fleece fillings in our quilts we use a selection of specifically designed fabrics which are exclusive to Kelly & Windsor.

Our Cover Fabrics

Our cover fabrics are an essential element in our quilt collections and are manufactured with very fine yarn counts, high thread counts and sateen constructions. We select our fabrics for ultimate softness to compliment the exclusivity of the alpaca fleece fillings in our quilts. Our cover fabrics are silky smooth with an appealing shiny lustre that perfectly matches the luxury of alpaca fillings.

In general terms, there are four distinct features of cover fabrics which distinguish a low to medium quality fabric from our high quality luxury fabrics used to manufacture Kelly & Windsor's alpaca quilts, duvets, comforters and doonas. We use several different premium quality cover fabrics in the manufacture of the Kelly & Windsor's quilts, underblankets and pillow collections. The choice of fabric is dependent upon the quilt style and its unique specifications.

All quilts have a quilt cover fabric which is usually woven using cotton, bamboo, viscose or polyester blend yarns. There are two basic weave types, plain and sateen constructions that are used in bed quilts.

Plain Woven Fabrics

This is the oldest and simplest weave style with each end, warp and weft alternating over the other. Plain weave fabrics are commonly used in bed quilts.

Cotton Japara

Japara is a woven fabric made with medium fine yarns with a thread count of approximately 230 ends per inch in a plain weave construction.

Unfortunately, a quilt which has a japara cover fabric is often over promoted as being export quality, premium grade, superfine or similar connotations of luxury. In reality, japara can be used as good quality quilt cover fabric, depending upon the quality of the fibre, yarn weaving and fabric finishing, but it is only really suitable for medium to lower quality natural fibre filled quilts.

It has its place in the market, and over the years I have seen some very good japara fabrics as well as some real poor quality shockers. As they say, the higher the quality, the higher the price. It really applies in this case.

Kelly & Windsor have designed an exclusive version of a japara fabric construction specially finished in the manufacturing process to soften the fabric, which improves its appearance and feel, thus making it suitable for our higher end wool quilt collections.

Sateen Woven Fabrics

A higher quality fabric construction style, with the outer face of the fabric being weft filling floats usually in a 4:1 ratio. Sateen weave fabrics have a smooth characteristic, lustrous surface with a considerably higher number of threads in the weft that forms the fabric face.

Sateen fabrics are usually used in high quality quilt coverings.

Superfine Cotton Sateen

The K&W Superfine 100% cotton sateen fabric collections is the finest cover fabric in our range and is used exclusively for our Alpaca Gold and Classic quilt collections.The Superfine cotton sateen fabric is exclusively manufactured for Kelly & Windsor with a combination of very fine yarns, a high thread count and a 4:1 sateen weave construction.

In a Kelly & Windsor alpaca quilt, the superfine cotton sateen fabric is luxuriously soft, has an excellent handle or feel and outstanding drape.

Bamboo & Cotton Sateen Fabric

Our bamboo and cotton superfine sateen bamboo/cotton fabric is a new addition to our exclusive cover fabric range, developed especially for our Alpaca Bamboo quilt collection.

Our Bamboo Cotton cover fabric is manufactured using yarns that are a blend of 60% bamboo fibre and 40% cotton and woven into a high thread count 4:1 sateen construction.

Bamboo is an exciting new fibre and its performance in bedding products is outstanding -

  • Outstanding softness
  • Excellent moisture absorbency
  • Naturally Anti-bacterial
  • Luxurious feel and handle
  • Easy care

To learn more about bamboo fibre, please click here

Trevor Beuth
Trevor Beuth


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