Quilt or Comforter? What’s the Difference and Who Cares?

The quilt is on the left - the comforter is on the right

Quilt or Comforter? Comforter or Quilt? Is there a difference and if there is, why should I care? Both items are typically bedding. They both keep you warm and cozy. They both have several layers to them. What’s the big deal?

There is a Difference

Even though the function of a quilt and a comforter may be the same, the terms are not interchangeable.  A quilt and a comforter are two completely different things.
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A comforter can be on batting, but more often, they are filled with something else.  The really good comforters are filled with down.  A quilt is always on some sort of batting, whether it’s a layer of polyester, cotton, or a blend of synthetic/natural materials or even an old blanket.

Fish Quilt

This quilt is quilted in a wave pattern, and also around all of the applique

A quilt is typically pieces of fabric sewn together…  think patchwork or log cabin blocks.  A quilt can also be appliqued together.  A comforter isn’t pieced.  It’s a single sheet of material on the front and the back.

A quilt almost always has binding on the edges; not so with a comforter.  Typically, a quilt has raw edges until the quilting is finished.  Then the piece is squared and bound.  A comforter is assembled by placing the two sheets of fabric right sides together, sew the perimeter and then turn right-side out.

Comforter

This baby comforter is tied at 3″ intervals

And perhaps the biggest difference between the two….  a comforter is NEVER quilted!  A comforter is tacked either by machine or hand at regular intervals.  A quilt has thousands of stitches holding all of the layers together.  Quilting can be done by hand or machine.

So Why Should I Care?

For me, this is much like someone mispronouncing your last name.  It’s just not correct to call a comforter and quilt, and vice versa.  But more importantly, one must realize that a quilt is always going to be more expensive than a similar quality/style comforter.  No matter what method of assembly is used (by hand or machine), there’s going to be far more time in a quilt.

Is One Better Than the Other?

The answer here is probably not.  One will be better if that’s the one you want!  If you’re looking for superior warmth, the best choice might be a down comforter.  If you want something warm with a vintage feel, you probably want a quilt.  That choice is going to change depending on the usage and criteria for the selection.  But whatever you do, remember which one is which.

 

Written By iKnitQuiltSew

 

 

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Posted in Handmade, Information, Selling Tips

8 Responses to “Quilt or Comforter? What’s the Difference and Who Cares?”

  • chainmaille says:

    Great info Sandi, Shared!! :D

  • MulchandMore says:

    Thanks Sandi- I always had the misconception that both were pieced, but the comforter was tied and the quilt, quilted.

  • I would much rather have a quilt, for decor, and a comforter, to snuggle. Great post.
    Debbi
    -YankeeBurrow

  • Love this post. Although many may think what you call an item is not important, it is it really, really is. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but calling it other than a rose would be incorrect.

  • Sewdifferent says:

    I am SCREAMING. I’ll try to start by being funny. There is a cartoon of two people fighting saying “Call my Quilt a BLANKET one more time and we will really have it out”. So despite all this misinformation in this post, quilts were and still be something that you can cuddle under and even use to sleep under. Most (not all) can be washed carefully in a machine. A quilt made for a quilt or art quilt competition is always quilted a tied quilt is usually NOT considered a Quilt. Then there is a category of ART quilts. Too much to cover here but …. …I see the MAIN DIFFERENCE as being that a QUILT is a HAND CRAFTED ITEM MADE BY A REAL PERSON EACH A UNIQUE AND NOT MASS PRODUCED and whether they hang it on the wall , let their child or themselves or ever their puppy sleep under it- it is an item that they made and is a unique part of themselves and their history.

  • Sewdifferent says:

    No wonder I never come to the forums here

  • Sewdifferent says:

    take some time to review this link.. long but worth it .http://whyquiltsmatter.org/welcome/

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to post your in depth reply to my article on the difference between quilts and comforters, Sewdifferent. I can see that a lot of thought went into it. I am so glad that we both belong to a community where differences of opinion can be expressed without repercussions.

    I certainly did not write the post above to “start something.” Actually, I wrote it because I was frustrated. Lately, I’ve had my quilts on display at the same exhibits as another artisan, who also claims to sell ‘quilts’ which are in fact machine tacked, poly/cotton comforters. Her items are a third of the price as mine, and it’s hard to be repeatedly asked why mine are so much more expensive than hers.

    For the sake of education ONLY, I wrote this post. There’s nothing wrong with a quilt or a comforter – they are simply different. Thank you, Sewdifferent, for reinforcing my point (” A quilt made for a quilt or art quilt competition is always quilted; a tied quilt is usually NOT considered a Quilt.”) Whether the quilt is made entirely by machine (assembled with a sewing machine and quilted with a long-arm), by a person or a factory, it’s a lot more work to put together than a comforter in a like environment.

    We happily sleep under a handmade quilt every night. It replaced the handmade comforter that we enjoyed for years.


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