top of page

The Flat Cap on ... Pillowcases

Today The Flat Cap has been out and about looking at pillowcases, and finding out their different shapes and designs. As you might expect pillowcases are really exciting items, as well as being a jolly good way to cover a pillow.

There are a number of things to consider when buying a new pillowcase, and it’s not simply a (pillow) case of just pitching up at Dunelm Mill and settling for the first thing you see before then nipping upstairs for a coffee and a sticky bun; although that is often a just reward for wandering round large retail outlets of any description. As well as thinking about the colour, fabric, possible fastenings and size you also need to settle on a design. Essentially there are three types of pillowcase as follows:

Housewife pillowcases: You would think that in this day and age such terms as “housewife pillowcase” would have been outlawed by some feminist movement, but apparently not. And despite all the red tape that comes with being part of the EU people have cottoned on to the fact that you don’t actually need to be a housewife to buy one. Even men and people under the age of eighteen can purchase them, and there’s no housewife type ID needed. As a consequence they can be found in almost every domestic home. These pillowcases fit snugly over the entire pillow to avoid creasing, sagging and any escape attempts from the pillow inside. Obviously a pillow’s escape attempts don’t go as far as Andy Dufresne’s in the film The Shawshank Redemption. For a start pillows can’t tunnel through walls and even if they could what would be the point?

The Flat Cap on Pillowcases

Bag style pillowcases: Anyone who’s seen Lenny Henry in one of those Premier Inn adverts will instantly recognise these. Easy to fit and low on maintenance they are understandably loved by those who work in the hospitality industry; for whom time and easy access is essential when changing a bed. Without the poppers, buttons or the interior flap of a normal housewife pillowcase, the entrance to a bag style cover is completely open with folding ends that can be tucked in to provide that all important neatness and finesse. Is it any wonder Lenny always woke up wonderful? Mind you he didn’t have to share his Premier Inn bed with ex wife Dawn French so that meant he had a lot more room to move about. Lenny would then helpfully remind us, “Mornings always seem to be just that bit more wonderful after a good nights sleep.” Lenny has obviously never been a postman or a junior doctor.

Oxford pillowcases These are arguably the most elegant and luxurious of type of case due to the decorative frill around their edge. If you’ve got a B&B and you want to impress or add extra impact to your establishment’s bedrooms these are the ones to buy. 74% of guest house owners that won Channel 4‘s Four in a Bed TV programme had Oxford pillowcases in at least one or more of their bedrooms.

The Flat Cap spoke to Mary who was on a cigarette break outside Dunelm Mill and she provided some interesting pillow and pillowcase related facts:

• In the fairytale The Princess and the Pea the princess slept on twenty feather beds and twenty mattresses. Using the calculator on her iPhone Mary said that this would have meant there were 1,932 pillowcases on the structure, although she added that she was still struggling with text messages, and the Flat Cap noticed she was holding her phone upside down throughout their conversation • Pillows were used by the ancient Greeks and commemorative pillowcase sets were printed for each Olympic Games. An ancient set of two in its original cellophane wrapping can fetch over £20,000 at auction • Pillows have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, although Mary wasn’t sure if these dated back thousands of years or were just used by the tourist guides when they wanted to take their rest break somewhere quiet • In China pillows were made out of wood, leather and ceramic materials. This meant the pillowcases would rip a lot. Nowadays they use soft pillows, and no doubt wake up wonderful • In 2002 the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) sanctioned the use of pillowcases in sack races for dwarves • In Asia buckwheat is a popular filler for pillows. If you get hungry all you have to do is strip the bed and make something tasty for your tea. • Pillowcases made out of Kevlar have been produced for people who are allergic to organic pillow fillings • Feathers are the most expensive fillings for pillows and as such they need to be covered securely, or one of the feather shafts might poke you in the eye when you’re asleep (Mary said she used this excuse on her husband after he woke up with a sore eye one morning.) Mary’s husband apparently doesn’t snore as much now • Pillows and pillowcases became very popular in Tudor times. Henry VIII had as many pillowcases as he had wives but his favourite ones bore prints of beheadings and hunting scenes, with matching duvet covers • Since the introduction of the 5p charge for plastic bags more and more UK households are carrying home their shopping in old pillowcases

bottom of page