Hand made has its distinct advantages, in certain areas. However the materials that the bed are made out of is still overall more important too the overall build quality. Such as latex based foams outperforming polyurethane based foams, or sheeps wool out performing polyester.
All fabrics are woven by machine, and they are stitched by machine (hand guided).
Most mattress upholstery layers (foam in particular) are laid by hand, even in cheap beds. So in essence just about any brand can claim that they hand make their mattresses.
Things that are typically not done by machine.
Side stitching - essentially it is like using twine to reinforce the edges of a mattress, Hastens, Savoir, and Vi-Spring all do this by hand, this is a very labor intensive process but leads to a more comfortable seating edge that cannot be replicated using different materials and cannot easily be replicated by a machine.
Full mattress tufting - (although this is one that in theory could be done by a machine to a higher level of accuracy and consistency than a human, Lavital has a special machine to do this for them and it is brilliant).
Hand tied boxsprings / 8 way hand tied bonnell springs - this is another thing that cannot be done by machine with the same level of precision as a human hand, and it leads to a more durable more bouyant and luxurious feeling boxspring than regular bonnell springs would.
Hand sorting and layering of natural fillings, like animal hairs and vegetable fibres.
Individual pocket coils are far more flexible and durable when tied together by hand rather than glued together by machine as they are in mass production. Again not a lot of companies do this because of the expense and the simple fact that most mattress companies buy their innerspring systems rather than make them on their own.
This message was modified Aug 1, 2011 by budgy