What are Oxford & Housewife pillowcases?

Pillowcase comparison | scooms

There are two types of pillowcase, the Oxford and the Housewife. The Oxford has a fabric border around the edge, usually ranging from 5cm to 10 cm. The Housewife has no border, just a plain sewn edge.  

Read in our in-depth guide and find out what the difference is between an Oxford and a Housewife pillowcase and which type of pillowcase is best for you. 

  1. What's the difference between an Oxford and a Housewife pillowcase?
  2. What sizes are Oxford and Housewife pillowcases?
  3. Oxford pillowcase v standard pillowcase?
  4. What is a continental pillowcase?
  5. What is a terse pillowcase?
  6. What is a bag style pillowcase?
  7. The Housewife pillowcase
  8. The Oxford pillowcase
  9. Oxford v Housewife pillowcase - which is best for me?
  10. And finally ... pillow fighting!

 scooms white Oxford pillowcase pairs come in 600 thread count Egyptian cotton in standard size (50cm x 75cm) and king size (50cm x 90cm).  

 

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What's the difference between an Oxford and a Housewife pillowcase?
The Oxford pillowcase has a fabric border around the edge, around 5cm to 10 cm wide, which can add a decorative, elegant look to your bedding. The Housewife has no border, just a plain sewn edge, providing a more functional look.  

Oxford pillowcase:

Oxford pillowcase | scooms

Housewife pillowcase: 

Housewife pillowcase | scooms

What sizes are Oxford and Housewife pillowcases?
The Oxford and the Housewife pillowcases have the same internal dimensions although the Oxford may look bigger. Both designs come in a wide range of pillow sizes including standard (50cm x 75cm), king size (50cm x 90cm) and square (typically 50cm x 75cm).

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Oxford v standard pillowcase?
Sometimes we are asked what the difference is between an Oxford pillowcase and a standard pillowcase. Oxford refers to the style and standard refers to the size. So you can have a standard size Oxford pillowcase. 

 

What is a continental pillowcase?
A continental pillowcase is a square pillowcase, usually 65cm x 65cm, which can come in both Housewife or Oxford design. Continental pillows are usually used either as back pillows set against the headboard or as decorative pillows to dress a bed.

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What is a terse pillowcase?
You may occasionally hear the term 'terse pillowcase'. This is simply a pillowcase without a border; essentially the same as a Housewife pillowcase.

 

What is a bag style pillowcase?
Bag style pillowcases tend to be popular in the mass market hospitality sector as they enable housekeepers to change bedding more rapidly. This can amount to big time savings for large hotels. Less important for domestic houses! They are essentially a Housewife pillowcase with a simple opening.

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So where do the terms 'Housewife' and 'Oxford' come from? 

 

The Housewife pillowcase
In the 19th century, pillowcases had a simple opening at one end which meant that the pillow would often fall out. So, in the 1880s, the Bolton Housewives Co-Operative created an inside flap at the end which prevented the pillow from easily falling out. In honour of the Co-Operative these pillowcases became known as ‘The Housewife’. 

 

The Oxford pillowcase
The name derives from the type of cloth from which it used to be made, Oxford cloth. This was a hard wearing cloth that was typically used to make shirts. The Oxford pillowcase was created as a more elegant and prettier alternative to the simple Housewife pillowcase. The fabric border was often scalloped or ruffled for decoration. The pillow opening is at the back which is covered by the flap giving a smart and attractive finish.

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Oxford v Housewife - which is best for me?
Oxford and Housewife pillowcases are equally functional, so your choice will come down to style preference.

Housewife pillowcases, with their basic rectangular shape, are relatively plain and simple. While Oxford pillowcases can add a more decorative and elegant look to your bedding.  At scooms we prefer the Oxford. scooms pillowcases and duvet covers come in a stylish, classic white Oxford design with single silky marrow stitch piping. Equally important is the fabric that your bed linen is made from. scooms pillowcases, duvet covers and sheets use the highest quality authentic Egyptian cotton in 600 thread count. A cotton pillowcase will be breathable, temperature regulating and sweat wicking.

We also believe that plastic packaging is unnecessary. Bed linen doesn't need to come wrapped in plastic. Our pillowcases, sheets and duvet covers all come in lovely cloth bags which you can find many other great uses for around the home! 

 

Cotton pillowcase bag on vase | scooms bedding

 

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And finally... pillow fighting!

One other thing you might want to consider is that the Oxford pillowcase is generally better for pillow fighting! The fabric border around the edge is great for holding on to whilst trying to bash your opponent! Did you know, there is even a national pillow fight day! 

 

Pillowcase cotton bag | scooms bedding 

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Top Oxford pillowcase faqs

What's the difference between an Oxford and a Housewife pillowcase? 

The Oxford pillowcase has a fabric border around the edge, usually ranging from 5cm to 10 cm. The Housewife has no border, just a plain sewn edge. 

Which is best an Oxford or Housewife pillowcase?

Oxford and Housewife pillowcases are equally functional, so your choice will come down to style preference. Housewife pillowcases, with their basic rectangular shape, are relatively plain and simple. While Oxford pillowcases can add a more decorative and elegant look to your bedding.  

What sizes are Oxford and Housewife pillowcases?

The Oxford and Housewife pillowcases have the same internal dimensions although the Oxford may look bigger. Both are available in a range of sizes including standard (50cm x 75cm), king size (50cm x 90cm) and square (typically 50cm x 75cm).


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Also in Bed linen

Egyptian cotton bed linen | scooms bedding
What is Egyptian cotton?

Egyptian cotton bed linen is strong, light, breathable and durable with a high thread count. This is a luxurious fabric which is why we use it in all our scooms bed linen!

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600 thread count Egyptian cotton linen | scooms bedding
What is thread count?

Thread count refers to the number of threads woven together per square inch of material. The more threads woven together means a higher thread count.

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King size duvet cover | scooms bedding
What size is a king size duvet cover? / Bed linen sizes

The king size duvet cover is a particularly popular size and measures 230 x 220cm / 90 x 86 inches. UK bed linen will not necessarily be the same size as European or US bed linen.

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Bedding size guide

Duvet size & weight guide

These are standard UK bedding sizes so if you know your mattress size you can easily work out which duvet size you need.

Duvet size Duvet weight UK mattress size
Single 135 x 200cm
(4ft 5" x 6ft 7")
4.5 tog - 302g 
9 tog - 486g 
All seasons - 788g
90 x 190cm
Double 200 x 200cm
(6ft 7" x 6ft 7")
4.5 tog - 448g
9 tog - 720g
All seasons - 1168g
135 x 190cm
King 225 x 220cm
(7ft 4" x 7ft 3")
4.5 tog - 567g 
9 tog - 911g
All seasons - 1478g
150 x 200cm
Super King 260 x 220cm
(8ft 6" x 7ft 3")
4.5 tog - 641g
9 tog - 1030g
All seasons - 1671g
180 x 200cm 

 

Duvet tog rating guide

Young children can overheat so if they are old enough to be using a full size bed, we recommend using a single size 4.5 tog duvet.

 Tog rating Season / heat Feel
4.5 tog Summer / hot sleepers Lower thermal insulation
9 tog Spring & Autumn Cosy medium heat
All season (4.5 + 9 tog) Winter / cold sleepers Very warm

 

Pillow size guide

Our pillows come in two sizes and provide medium support.

Standard 
50 x 75cm
King 50 x 90cm

 

Bed linen size guide

Our fitted sheets are deep fit, up to 40cm / 15.7" mattress depth. And our duvet covers fasten with large, easy to use buttons.

Duvet cover Fitted sheet Pillowcase (pair)
Single 140 x 200cm 90 x 190cm
Double 200 x 200cm 135 x 190cm 50cm x 75cm (Standard)
King 230 x 220cm 150 x 200cm 50cm x 90cm (King)
Super king 260 x 220cm 180 x 200cm

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