Quilting methods: need to know

This post follows on from mattress detailing to show that for all the thousands of mattresses out there, there can only logically be so many that can be deemed to be significantly different. The main difference between all these mattresses can only be the fabric and finish!

quilting john ryan

Quilting is by far the most prolific method of finish as it offers the manufacturer and retailer the opportunity to provide more of a ‘difference’ between mattresses even though the insides will be identical.  Once you steer away from looking at a design and how the mattress physically looks – and be in no doubt they can be made to look very appealing indeed – and concentrate your efforts on what is actually inside, you will be far less inclined to make a mistake.

What is quilting?

This applies to the outer surface of the fabric.  Fabrics obtained by the manufacturer from various sources can come in either pre-quilted or plain.  Many manufacturers like to buy in their fabrics ‘plain’ which gives them the opportunity to produce short runs of various designs.  The quilting machines they use can be altered at a flick of a switch to produce  completely different designs within minutes.

There are just three methods of mattress quilting

1. Deep quilted:
2. Light quilted or micro quilted:
3. Tack and jump:

Deep QuiltedDeep quilted: This process involves making quite a deep surface layer by stitching the fabric to polyester sheeting and other wadding to create a surface that looks deep and sumptuous.  This is the process that will more often than not be used on a mattress to be ‘perceived’ by you  as mid range.  This will be laid on to further elements of upholstery (usually polyester) to give a further element of substance.


Light QuiltedLight quilted or micro quilted: This process is used for budget or economy models.  The outer fabric is quilted to a minimal layer of polyester or at the very worst a recycled material ‘Polypad’.  To add an element of comfort there may be a minimal layer of polyester between this ‘top’ and the springs, but the actual weight of polyester used will be in the region of 600 gsm or 800 gsm.

The actual quilting pattern on these models is the give-away to the value – as it will usually be basic diamond shaped or heart shaped – using the least amount of thread to speed up the quilting process.

Tack and Jump

Tack and jump: This is another process to add visual value to a not so good product.  Whereas in Deep Quilting you can follow the pattern continuously, this method gives separation to the design.  The machine will stitch a section (tack) and raise (jump) to start another section.  Descriptions that describe a mattress with ‘concealed tufting’ will also be utilising this method.


Like Deep Quilting, this is a technique to give you the impression of a well-made mattress.  When viewed in the store it is more likely you are going to be basing your selection on how a mattress looks rather than how it is going to perform.

Here’s one of our original videos which help put the quilting into context by looking inside a mattress.

Incidentally, the ‘branded mattress’ on the opening video above shows a mattress that utilises this method.  You will see that when the layers are peeled back the whole top section is in one piece held together by the tacks.  The ‘benefit‘ of this type of finish is that there are literally hundreds and hundreds of design combinations which is why it is a popular method of construction by nearly all major mattress manufacturers.  It enables them to be able to sell ‘exclusive’ models to a variety of retailers.  The difference is only in the fabric and the design of the tack and jump.  The insides will, usually, be the same!

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The finish and look of the mattress are a retailers best friend, knowing that it is this look that will sway you towards a particular model without giving too much thought as to what is actually on the inside!

If you keep in mind that all quilted mattresses can be deemed to be a cheap method of manufacturing you will not go far wrong. This is not to say that all tufted models are ‘better’. They too can be just bags of springs, or all fur coat no knickers, as my gran would say!  The message here is to be aware of what you are looking at and not be taken in by the look.  Be careful out there and if in doubt give our friendly team a call on 0161 437 4419 for more advice.


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  • Toni Hyne says:

    I have recently bought an ortho support (foam) mattress described as “roll up”. Reason for purchase—I have slept very comfortably for the past 30 years on a 6 inch firm foam mattress that I had made up at a foam factory in Canada. The centre (body support) part had worn into grooves which took the sheets down into them. I was looking for a traditional mattress as I didn’t think I would be able to get a foam one made and came across this mattress in Benson Beds after looking at many others. I found it very comfortable and it was much cheaper than the traditional mattresses I had looked at. Info says mattress to be rotated each week for first 6 to 8 weeks & monthly thereafter. It is stated that depressions in sleep area are normal and will even out as you rotate mattress. However I am getting a ridge in the quilted mattress cover. It happened the first night and I was able to smooth it out. I phoned the Customer Services to ask if this was normal and they didn’t seem to know (it seemed as though they had never heard of it) but suggested that it would disappear as I rotated the mattress. I have now rotated it 3 times. Tomorrow it will be rotated again. However since last rotation a week ago I am no longer able to smooth the ridge out. The cover seems to have stretched. The ridge can be pulled up with the fingers. I am concerned that it will eventually be uncomfortable and become a permanent large lump. I believe they will take the mattress back but I don’t want the hassle. I would then have to buy a traditional mattress which would be at least 4 inches deeper and would be too high on my antique iron bed. I have just had the rails extended from 6 ft to 6 ft 3 in to take a standard mattress and a new bed base made. Do you have any suggestions. Would a topper solve the problem and if so what kind of topper should I get? The mattress is comfortable at the moment. However, I am going to have to make a decision. Benson Beds told me to continue to use it for a few weeks and see what happens. Please help! Toni Hyne

    Hi Toni, To be perfectly honest, given the cost of this mattress circa £250.00, I am unsurprised at the issues you are experiencing. However, if this is the limit of your budget, then the placing of a memory foam topper on the mattress may resolve your issues. This would mean the mattress would then provide the support element and the topper would provide the comfort. For anyone on a limited budget, the “Silentnight Memory 3 Sleep” mattress provides excellent value for money when used as the support element in conjunction with a topper to provide comfort. I trust that this helps. Kind regards Mike.

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