In South Australia’s South East, nestled among lush green farmland and large shady red gums you will find the vibrant regional town of Naracoorte, home to MiniJumbuk. At MiniJumbuk we have been using locally sourced wool to handcraft our premium, Australian wool bedding products for over 40 years. Integral to our collection is a range of five quilts, created in a variety of warmth levels to offer hot or cold sleepers the ideal level of comfort whatever the temperature.
But why is it a quilt - why not a doona or a duvet? Other common terms include Continental quilt, eiderdown or even comforter – what are they all and is there any difference between them? Essentially, a quilt is ‘a warm bed covering made of padding enclosed between layers of fabric and kept in place by lines of stitching, typically applied in a decorative design’ (Oxford Dictionary). Those who have a MiniJumbuk quilt will realise this description is perfect.
Comparing the other terms, generally speaking, these names are interchangeable. They all describe a bedding option to keep you warm as you sleep. The terminology variations depend on their global location. Thought to originate in the European countryside, soft flat bags usually filled with feathers or down were referred to as ‘duvets’ (the French term for ‘down’) or ‘doonas’ (from the Old Norse term ‘dunn’ with the same meaning). Eiderdowns were filled with the down feathers from the Eider duck.
As the popularity of this practical form of bedding spread across Europe to the United Kingdom, they became known as a Continental quilt, a term that was later shortened to simply ‘quilt’. The old term ‘doona’ was given new life in the 1970’s as a registered brand name for bedding company Tontine. The term has since become popular in Australia as a common term for all quilts.
And when you travel to America, the term ‘comforter’ appears. A comforter, as opposed to a quilt, doona or duvet, is generally not quilted and is used in a similar way to a blanket or a bedspread for a decorative top layer. While a quilt is designed to be covered and used alone, a comforter has a built in cover for use with sheets.