Questions about down comforters

I have had three down comforters in the past 20 or so years, all with the square sewn baffles.

  1. When the comforter is new, is the down supposed to be evenly distributed among all the square baffles? If not, why not?

  2. Is the sewing that makes the baffles supposed to prevent down from moving from one square to another? Absolutely, or only mostly, or not at all?

I am posting this in IMHO because I realize there may not be factual answers that cover all such comforters, but if anyone has any actual professional knowledge or experience with down comforters, I’d love to hear from them especially.

Yes and yes. The stitches are supposed to be tight enough to stop the filling from moving around, but down is very tiny so will move to the outer edges of the comforter over time.

Thank you.

So if I bought a new comforter and more down is (already) around the edges than in the middle, did I buy a poorly-made comforter? I could tell, by the way, by holding the comforter up to a window in daylight, and the fabric was translucent enough to see the relative amounts in each square.

I’m afraid you probably did. Down around the edges won’t help keep you warm, it will just weigh down the edges a little more than the center. Either they didn’t take enough care to ensure that the down was evenly distributed, or the stitching is loose enough to allow the down to shift. Actually, probably both.

Thank you again. The good news is that I am still able to return it.

Any advice on where to buy a well-made, light-weight comforter that scores well on these two points?

I’ve had several down comforters over the years and the best is a lightweight one by Laura Ashley that I bought at a garage sale 10+ years ago. It’s been washed several times with no shifting of the down. I found another of them at a thrift shop 6 years ago and it’s also in excellent shape after years of 3-season use.
The label says that it was made for Laura Ashley by Hollander Home Fashions in 2000. Here’s the Hollander website: Comforters | Hollander Sleep Products

I also have a down alternative comforter that’s in very good shape after 10+ years. I have no idea of the brand; it was probably a Groupon deal and the label has fallen apart.

One big reason I got this comforter was that it is oversized, 98x98, and that is unusual in a “reasonably” priced comforter. They also have comforter covers to fit, and I bought one of those too. Maybe I’ll keep this after all.

I had an idea for an invention – a rack from which you could hang a comforter with the outside edges up, and that would gently shake the comforter so that any down that leaked towards the edges would leak back towards the middle. It would take up a lot of room, though, and you could get a similar effect by hanging the comforter from a couple of clotheslines.

Perhaps have four or more people hold the comforter by the edges and shake it? Would that serve to redistribute the down?

I’ve tried the shake redistribution method, but it lasts maybe a day or two.

How handy are you with a needle, OP? After your friends help you shake the down into place, can you sew over the stitching to stop the down from shifting again?

Personally, I am very handy with a needle or sewing machine and I probably wouldn’t want to put the time into something that has already shown to have shoddy workmanship, so also has shoddy materials.

I once tried to repair a cheap down jacket and managed to break the seam while trying to hand sew a break.

You are the only one who knows the value of your time, skill levels compared to the “replacement pain in the ass” part of the equation.