A duvet is a European word that refers to what we at MiniJumbuk like to call a quilt. Quilts have been around for a long time, have different names around the globe and are found in many guises. Generally a duvet is a soft, flat bag filled with some light, warm filling that we use to cover ourselves in bed.
Duvet, Doona, Quilt, Comforter, Continental Quilt, Edredon, Eiderdown– and quite likely many other names – are used for this wonderful thing comforting us at night.
A duvet (from the French duvet “down”) or doona is a type of bedding a soft flat bag traditionally filled with down or feathers, or a combination of both and used on a bed to keep the sleeper warm. Duvets originally came out of rural Europe and were made from the down feathers of the Eider duck, which is well known for its usefulness as an insulator.
Quilts reduce the complexity of making a bed, as it is a single covering instead of the combination of sheets, blankets and bed covers, which is traditional in many parts of the world. The cover for the duvet is called a “duvet cover” or a “quilt cover“.
In Australia a “Doona“, is a trademarked brand name derived from the Old Norse “dunn” meaning “down feathers”. In Danish and Norwegian a duvet is actually called a dyne, which is pronounced similarly to “doona“. Though still registered to the Tontine company, the name “Doona” has become a generic term for a down quilt.
Before “Doona” came into regular use, the term “continental quilt” was the standard name used across Australia and some of Australia still use this term today. A duvet is also sometimes called a quilt, following British tradition. A quilt was typically a patchwork quilt in which the top layer consists of pieces of fabric sewn together to form a design. The quilt is formed of three layers: the patchwork, a layer of insulation wadding (batting) and a layer of backing material. Originally, this was to make full use of left-over scraps of fabric, but now fabric is often bought specially for a specific design. Often patchwork quilts will use a wool filling and this is how our wool filled quilts derived their name.