Luxury Linens: A Glossary of Terms

Luxury Linens: A Glossary of Terms

Discover the terms used by most luxury linen companies

There are a variety of terms you may come across that you do not understand when you are trying to purchase luxury linens. Here is a collective glossary created by our authors outlining the definitions of common terms you may come across when you are browsing the web.


Bedding products that are termed as anti-allergy are termed this way as they are manufactured with products that are supposed to prevent allergies. The products are designed to provide a barrier to allergens such as an anti-allergy pillow.


Bolster refers to a long, cylinder-shaped pillow which is typically used for decorative purposes or are placed under other traditional pillows to provide extra support to your head, neck and back.

Boudoir Pillows

Are usually know as decorative pillows which are fairly small and rectangular.


Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fibre that grows in protective case, around the seeds of cotton plants. It is widely produced in warmer climates. Cotton is a fabric that feels good against the skin regardless of the humidity or temperature and is therefore is a highly demanded fabric.

Continental Pillow

The continental pillow is the ideal pillow to be set up against the headboard and can have a Housewife or Oxford edge (See further definitions below)


A glossy jacquard-type fabric (See Below), which have features that are flat and reversible. Unlike jacquards, the fabric is all one color. Widely used within bed and table linens.


Down refers to the fine layer of feathers on birds that are found below the tougher exterior feathers. The lightest and most luxurious pillows and duvets contain a high percentage of down.


Traditionally the eiderdown was a quilt filled with down originally from the eider (hence the name). Eiderdown duvets are the most expensive and the most luxurious duvets you can buy.


Embroidery refers to the art of creating raised designs on woven fabrics. Coloured threads are sewn on to fabric to create intricate designs. Embroidery may be completed either by hand or machine depending on the design.


Is a decorative stitch which typically borders a hem and is made by drawing out several parallel threads and punching even rows of small holes and then the adjacent threads are pulled out and the crossing threads are tied into bunches, making a row of small openings.

Housewife Edge

A housewife pillowcase is a pillow cover which fits snugly to the pillow. The housewife is the most popular and generic type of pillowcase and can be found in most domestic homes.

Hungarian Goose Down

Refers to the finer feathers found of a Hungarian goose. Hungarian goose down feathers are usually larger and trap more air than the traditional down taken from standard geese.


A technique of weaving intricate designs directly into the texture of fine fabrics which can only be accomplished when using the jacquard attachment on a loom. As mentioned above damask is a type of jacquard woven fabric.


A type of wool that originates from pure-bred Merino sheep. Merino wool is often regarded as the finest and softest wool of any sheep as the fibres are microscopic cortices of air that trap in body heat which is why you will often find merino wool in luxury blankets.

Oxford Edge

Unlike the housewife pillowcase the oxford pillowcase features a fabric border around the edge of the pillow rather than fitting snugly to the pillow. The border usually adds around 5cm to the pillow.


Percale is a closely woven plain weave fabric often used within bed covers. It often has a thread count of about 200 or higher and is noticeably tighter than the standard type of weave used for bedsheets. Cotton percale is light and crisp yet soft.


Sateen is a type of fabric, typically made from cotton. Sateen is woven in the same way as traditional satin, meaning the threads are mostly on one side of the fabric. Sateen looks smooth as most threads are only featured on one side of the fabric.


Silk is a natural fibre which is produced by the silkworm in the construction of its cocoon. Silk typically comes from Asia, mainly China.

Terry Cloth

is a fabric with loops that can absorb a large amount of water. The terry cloth is often used within towels. The length of the loops determine how much fluid will be absorbed by the cloth. In conclusion the longer loops provide a larger surface area for the water to be collected.

Thread Count

Refers to the number or horizontal and vertical threads per square inch. Generally the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet.

Want to find out more and view a range of high quality luxury linens? Visit Woods Fine Linens in Harrogate or visit Woods Fine Linens online today. Woods offer a diverse range of elegant linens, soft furnishings and accessories hand-picked from all over the world.

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