Washed linen bedlinen, the one time wrinkles are chic

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I need to buy some new bed linen for my household (you might remember there are four men and me) which is always a challenge if I’m to keep everyone happy. It was fine when all three sons had Thomas the Tank Engine single duvet sets (used until embarrassingly late) and Designer’s Guild appliqued zoo animals (still my favourite). Now however, they are older and have opinions.

I had treated middleagedad and I last summer to some lovely (expensive) washed linen bedlinen for our bed. JUST our bed. The linen is softly wrinkled rather than crisply ironed which makes the bedding like a posh version of non-iron sheets. Unfortunately, youngestson got a taste for the luxurious feel of the washed linen -it does feel soft and cosy against your skin- and has suggested I might like to buy into this washed linen idea for the whole family.

Now washed linen seems to be in a number of bedlinen collections, including Toast whose new range comes in gorgeously tasteful colours that remind me of pebbles on a beach. It’s not cheap but I’ve had the brand’s brushed cotton sheets and they’ve been very good, might the washed linen keep everybody happy?

To find out a bit more about it, I questioned Tamsin Leech, senior designer at Toast to see what she had to say about the range.

What’s the difference between washed linen and the normal linen? Is one better quality than the other? Or is ‘washed’ a new trend?…
Linen bedclothes are traditionally pure, crisp and white. While these are wonderful qualities, we wanted to introduce some softness, colour and warmth to our linen bedding range. The result is our Washed Linen Bedlinen – made of the same quality fabric as our Linen Bedlinen, but each individual piece of the Washed Linen range is dyed and washed whole, ensuring a subtle colour and a softness that is usually only achieved after several repeat rounds of use and washing in your own home.

What’s the most important thing to think about if you’re going to invest in a quality linen range do you think? Are there any disadvantages to buying linen?
The very great thing about linen is how much it improves with age and wear – becoming softer and warmer the more you use it. It feels cool in summer and warm in winter, and is machine washable at high temperatures if needed. Though the initial outlay can seem large, it has a long life – a set of linen bedlinen given as a wedding present will last years. It’s also a bit of a myth that linen requires ironing after each wash – a good shake after washing will do, so long as you don’t mind your sheets a little crumpled.

Does thread count matter in linen? Is that just cotton?
 People do seem to place an emphasis on thread count, but at Toast we pay closer attention to the way sheets feel to touch, and how durable the fabric is. We also prefer our bedlinen to have a bit of life – the texture of the fabric is all important.

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I’m still researching bedlinen, but I’m thinking I might try this range, the colours are so lovely and Tamsin said they all mix and match together, which alleviates any annoying colour matching of bedding when it comes out of the cupboard (because I am the sort of person who has to have all bedding matching, it’s just how it is). And the idea that the wrinkles are trendy does appeal.

Anyone else bought any washed linen worth talking about? How important is quality bedlinen to you?



  • Jane says:

    I have a Toast washed linen duvet cover and there is nothing like it – it just feels indescribably good, and it gets better with every wash. You can keep your high-thread-count cotton, I’m a total convert to linen.

  • Sar says:

    I have a set of washed belgian bedlinen from M&S and it’s lovely. Not in stock at the moment but worth watching out for. I like Toast but it’s sooo expensive!

  • Sue says:

    Quite important. I like it to be plain or plainish & in pale colours aswell.I think it’s nicer un-ironed too.I usually try and stock up at the White Company shop at Bicester where there are very good bargains to be had.It’s bad (expensive) news when the children start to develop good taste.

  • Tiffany says:

    My mother picked me up an antique linen sheet in France some years back and it is absolutely my favourite piece of bedlinen. I’m saving up to get the very loveliest linen I can (washed or not, I’m happy to wear it in myself) and then plan never to have anything but … I’m still working on getting Teen and Almost-Teen to remember to put their sheets in the wash, so I figure the expensive stuff for them is a little further down the line. I’m impressed to hear that yours are converts!

  • Monix says:

    What happens when you do iron them (come on you must have tried it once!)? Is it worth it? Do they soften? Do they “bobble”? We should be told!

  • Amanda says:

    Monix, the expensive (it was from Volga Linen) stuff doesn’t need ironing at all, you DO just shake it, but I have ironed the pillowcases and they just look less wrinkled. No bobbling so far. I haven’t bought the Toast set yet, as next week I’m quizzing the White Company about theirs and will see which one I think is best so stay tuned. A

  • Jane says:

    I’ve ironed my Toast set and it looks stunning afterwards. It’s good either way – smooth or wrinkled. I got it in the sale, by the way – which brought it down from cripplingly expensive to merely expensive.

  • James says:

    so washed linen bed linens have a softer feel than normal linen that’s why the son suggested it be better for the family. I’d want to have a softer linen too.

  • Lucy says:

    Does linen bedding shrink after wash?

  • It is undeniable that linen bedding is the comfiest! And yes it does get better and better the more we use it. I think you can say washed linen is a trend, but I think how comfy it gets as it used is what people want. Instead, to have to wait for a good couple of washing to get the washed feeling, people want to feel those feel on their linen bedding like right after they left the checkout! I personally don’t think that threat counts matter, how good is it against our skin is the major factor!

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