Where is the Top Sheet?

I participated in a spirited and hilarious discourse on a Facebook UK group recently.  It all started with a post that “. . . the top sheet on a bed could soon be a thing of the past. . . Top sheet… yes or no?” written as a prompt for discussion.  Okay not normally something that would engage me but it went on to say, “. . .using instead what the Americans call a comforter.”

Well, obviously this discourse requires AOWO (American one woman’s opinion) on top sheets as they are indeed NOT an ordinary encounter in UK. In fact I did not encounter one without some diligent search.  You can find them but not routinely.  It is a general, though not universal, practice in UK to use a duvet within a sheet pocket (duvet cover) instead of a top sheet.  Many seem to feel this is sensible, comfortable, and convenient.

Some comments indicated a time of conversion from top sheet and bedspread to duvet only and total satisfaction with the loss of a top sheet. So,  they replaced one sheet easily applied to the bed with a bed-sized pocket into which you must stuff and distribute what we Americans would refer to as a quilt (without the patchwork) or a comforter (just a thick duvet with a decorative cover) each and every time you want a clean topping for your sleeping body.

Yep, that makes sense, right!

Apparently some people did not understand the point of the discussion, “Don’t understand the question??? What’s a top sheet?” and thus more discussion.  There were some pointed reasons for duvets over top sheets including avoiding top sheets that  “are tucked in and restricted you. . .” but generally it seemed a mixed bag for and against the top sheet.

I really wanted to make this post as hilarious as it was in the midst of it happening, because it progressed to pros and cons of top sheets, stuffing the duvet cover techniques, hygiene issues, ironing of bedding, and construction duvet construction materials. Alas  the wit necessary to do that justice is missing at the moment.

Let me just sum it this way.

Comforter – As bedding this is a puffy cover for a bed.  It is similar to a duvet but it tends to be fat with a decorative covering sewn to the stuffing part.  It may be used as a simple decorative top to a made bed or as an integral part of keeping the occupants of the bed warm and toasty.

I would wager that most Americans use a flat sheet (an unfitted sheet used between the sheet covering the mattress and the warming or decorative covers of a bed) with their comforter.  And YES, flat sheets are tucked under the mattress so that the moving and kicking and tossing on and off the covers during the sleep cycle does not result in a pile of bedding on the floor and cold toes.

Duvet – Also a cover for a bed.  It is typically plain white or similar neutral material but without decorative patterns. It comes in a variety of thicknesses varying the warming effect of the cover.  It is used on a bed encased in a cover often made of decoratively printed sheeting forming an envelope.

I would wager that some Americans use a duvet with duvet covers (after all we do have IKEA in America) AND a top sheet on their beds.

I would also wager that some people in UK use duvet and top sheet and some use duvet and no top sheet.

So, with bedding sorted (we will not discuss the different bed sizes and how they differ from both American beds and EU beds) I can continue to think about which place beginning with B (Bravo) that I will post about.





6 thoughts on “Where is the Top Sheet?

  1. Have you ever tried to buy a blanket in this country? Boy, are they hard to find. We use a duvet, but with a top sheet so we don’t have to dig the duvet out, stuff it back in, redistribute in, discover that we have it sideways and do the whole thing over again. Every damn week.

  2. As it cut down on chores I was an early adopter of this exciting new trend from the continent. I think they first appeared in the 1970’s, were called Continental Quilts and were horrendously expensive. I loved this great fat pillow of goose down, the filling was encased in vertical channels which allowed it to be shaken down to the foot area in warmer weather. It didn’t take me long to work out how to easily change the cover, and no, we didn’t have a top sheet.

    Fast forward several decades, lambswool blankets have now become a thing of the past but not in my house. I use it as an extra layer on top of the duvet in wintertime. I adopted a top sheet for use under the quilt when I realised it would be kinder to the environment when laundering. And I use a thin bedspread to save the duvet cover getting dirty so I suppose my duvet has turned into an eiderdown and gone full circle in bed making history

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