Oxford or Housewife Pillowcase?

teal pillowcases on bed

Having worked in the bedding industry for the last ten years, I have got so used to the terms "Housewife" and "Oxford" Pillowcases, that I don't notice their odd names anymore.

For those of you who aren't in the know, Housewife Pillowcases have a sewn edge, which fits snugly to the pillow, and Oxford Pillowcases have a fabric border around the edge, usually around 5cm.

I have heard quite a few women over the years pass comment on how the term "housewife" has a sexist connotation, so I decided that it was about time I found out the reasoning behind these long standing names. To be honest, it was pretty difficult to find anything remotely informative. Even Wikipedia doesn't seem to know!

The only thing I could find, and I rather like the sound of this story, is that pillowcases in the 19th Century had a simple opening at one end, and often the pillow would fall out. In the 1880's the Housewives Co-operative in Bolton adapted a standard pillowcase to include an inside flap at the end, keeping the pillowcase in place. They then became known as "Housewife" pillowcases in the co-operatives honour. Now this is a far more compelling story than them being invented for housewives.

In terms of the Oxford Pillowcase, I can't find any information on that, so I'm going to take a wild guess that they might have been invented in Oxford? (Please correct me if I am wrong!).

If you happen to know any more about the history of pillowcases, please do let me know. of course, we love all pillowcases, Oxford or Housewife, and love the mix and match options that they give you.

Adding square pillows to your bed, automatically gives you a hotel at home. If you're looking for some pillowcase inspiration, or general bedroom style ideas, we can help.

Anyway, I have satisfied an itch for knowledge (sort of)


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