Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tips for choosing suitable bedsheet sets material

Here's some tips on how to choose material for bedsheet sets :


This should be the first factor in consideration when choosing a suitable bedsheet set, as opposed to usual practice of looking at thread counts first. Following are the different types of fabrics used :


Sea Island (Cotton)

The most expensive cotton with a staple (fiber length) greater than 1 1/2".

Egyptian Cotton
A long staple variety from Egypt with fiber length averaging 1 3/8".

Pima (Cotton)
Pima is a cross between Sea Island Cotton and Egyptian Cotton with a fiber length averaging 1 1/2". The "Supima" certification mark is used only when the product is made entirely from southwestern extra-long staple cotton grown by members of the Supima Association of America.

American Upland Cotton
Representing the bulk of the world crop, American upland fiber runs between 3/4" and 1 1/4".

Egyptian cotton is agreed by all to be the best cotton available on the market, which creates both durability and extreme softness. This is followed by Pima, then Upland.

Organic Cotton
Organic cotton is grown without pesticides or chemical additives. At a minimum, an organic cotton crop must be grown in soil that has been chemical-free for at least three years.

Combed Cotton
The combing process removes the short fibers and any debris that may be in the cotton when it was in the field. A cleaner, more uniform and lustrous yarn results. Combing the cotton fibers increases both durability and softness.

Mercerized Cotton
A wet finishing process for cotton yarn or fabric that creates a stronger, more lustrous yarn. Mercerized cotton also takes dye better with brighter, deeper colors.


Linen is made from flax and was used by the ancient Egyptians to mummify the pharaohs. Linen is noted for its strength, coolness, and luster. Linen sheets are known to soften with each washing. It is more expensive, but ultimately a very good investment in your bed.

Cotton or cotton blends are usually the best choice. Flannel keeps you warm in the winter, but if you keep your house at 60 degrees Fehrenheit or warmer at night, you'll be too hot in flannel sheets. Polyester satin might seem like fun, but it can be tacky and weird.


Second in the consideration should be how the weaving is done :


Sateen is a name given to a satin weave that is entirely cotton. So, although the fabric is 100% cotton, the 3:1 satin weave creates a sleek, satiny sheen to the textile. A weave that has more yarn surface on the face of the cloth than other basic weaves giving a soft, smooth, lustrous look that resembles satin.

A soft, medium-weight weave, usually made of cotton, with a napped finish (surface fibers have been raised by mechanical means) on one or both sides. The raised surface provides a fluffy appearance and soft, cozy feel.

Percale / Plain / Standard
This is a simple 1:1 thread weave typically made from combed cotton.. This creates a matte, flat appearance and a soft, powdery finish to the fabric. Percale sheeting is medium weight, firm, smooth, and has no sheen.

A plain stitch knitted cloth made of wool, worsted, silk, cotton, rayon, and synthetics. Like your favorite tee-shirt, jersey is elastic and has great draping qualities.


Sateen sheets have become popular as people want more luxurious fabrics in their homes and have found that sheets with a higher thread count are more durable. However, they are more expensive. Sateen is recommended for guest bedding that is not going to be used daily.

While those who like crisp, ironed sheets should probably look for percale in stores. Percale sheets are more like a traditional cotton fabric and some prefer their crisper feel. They are also less expensive than sateen, in general.

Satin looks nice and is good for pillowcases (less wear and tear on your hair) but not for bed sheets as they do not stay on the bed, are slippery and do not breathe or absorb moisture as well as standard and pinpoint weaves.


Thread count refers to the density of the weave in threads per square inch. The higher the thread count, the more expensive the sheets (because more material, spun more finely, is needed to make them), but higher thread count is also better quality. However, these also greatly depends on the above 2 factors.

For instance, a 200 thread count standard cotton sheet woven with a sateen finish can be softer and more luxurious feeling than a 400 or 600 count sheet of standard cotton in a plain weave; the sateen finish makes the difference. And Egyptian cotton woven into a 200 thread count, sateen-finished sheet will feel even more luxurious than the 200 thread count standard cotton sateen-woven sheet.

However, one difference that thread count does make is in the density of the fabric, which can affect aesthetics (how see-through is it), to some slight degree the softness of the "hand", and warmth (higher thread counts will be warmer because there is less chance for the air to pass through the dense weave). One other thing to keep in mind though, is that a more modest thread count (200-400) can be easier to take care of than a higher thread count sheet, as the more dense the fabric, the more chance there is for damage and wrinkles. The highest thread count that can be manufactured without cheating is a 600 TC.

At minimum the thread count should be 175-200 but for nicer feeling sheets aim for 350. Be careful about sheets that claim high thread counts as they may be sheets with threads spun together and then woven. The result may be a label that reads "500 thread count" but feels like 250.


Thread-/Yarn-Dyed vs. Piece-/Vat-Dyed
There are two ways that a fabric can be dyed with pigment. One is thread- or yarn-dyed. This involves dying each individual thread before the fabric is woven, so that each individual thread is saturated in color. In general, yarn-dyed fabrics resist fading much more than piece- or vat-dyed fabrics, which involve weaving first, and then dipping the whole fabric into a vat of dye, so that only the outer layer is coated in color. In general, piece-dyed fabrics will be warmer than yarn-dyed, as the spaces between fibers can be clogged up with dye, and fade faster, but yarn-dyed will usually be more expensive.

In short, fabric is most important; then weave; then thread count; and lastly the dying process. And next is, which to choose? Which to choose is almost entirely a personal preference issue. But here is a little background information to help you make the best decision for you.


Sateen is considered a good winter sheet, as the weave is dense and holds in warmth. For a good summer sheet, we recommend linen or percale as opposed to the sateen. Keep in mind, also, whether you get cold or hot during the night and therefore which will provide the most restful night for you.

In addition, consider the aesthetics of your choice. If you like a little bit of a sheen to your fabrics, choose the sateen. If you prefer a more matte appearance, percale or linen is a better choice. Linen has a bit more obvious a visual texture, so keep that in mind as well. If you are concerned about wrinkling - linen will wrinkle, it has a distinct wrinkle pattern, which some do find visually appealing, actually. Any 100% natural fiber does have a tendency to wrinkle. It is, however, a matter of giving up some smoothness for comfort. In exchange, the natural sheets are much softer than any sheets which keep wrinkling down by adding harsher synthetic fibers.

Sateen has a smoother, more sleek feeling to it. It is a "satin", in fact, composed entirely of cotton, so the texture will be accordingly "satiny." Percale has a softer, more powdery finish to it - it is more obviously what people consider "cottony". Linen is initially a bit more "textured" due to its loose weave, but it will soften up with time more than any of the cotton sheets.

There are some slight differences in the durability of the various weaves that you might want to take into account. Linen is the most durable, and is often passed down generation to generation. Percale is the next most durable weave, as the simple one-to-one weave is less likely to snag or pill over the years. Lower thread count percales, will be slightly more durable than higher threadcounts, but the difference is not a large one. Sateen is the least durable, although, again, Egyptian cotton sateen will last a good time longer than lower-quality cotton sheets. The nature of the sateen weave makes it more susceptible to pilling and snagging, and might become a little bit flannel-like with time. If you love sateen sheets but don't love the pilling that comes with it, it is recommend that you iron your sheets occasionally, to keep the weave in place, and your sheets in top form.


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