We’re excited to announce the debut of Bed•u•ca•tion, a new series of posts dedicated to the makings of a beautiful bed…after all, we’ve had more than twenty years of expertise! From sheets to blankets, coverlets to duvet covers, foundations to fitted-sheet folding, we’ll be covering it all.
First up, the base layer—aka the sheet. Here’s what to consider when selecting the sheet that’s right for you: the fabric, the weave, the thread count, and the finish. And you have to consider what YOU like to sleep on—do you like crisp and cool or smooth and silky? Here’s the lowdown.
- Thread Count
The thread count is the number of yarns packed into a square inch of cloth. Generally, the higher the thread count the more tightly the cloth is woven which imparts a smoother hand feel to the sheet. Thread count is only part of the story. The type of weave and finishing process that the cloth goes through after weaving are the determining factors for how fabulous (or not fabulous) a sheet will feel now and over time.
The two most common weaves found in sheeting are percale and sateen. Percale is a straight one yarn over one yarn construction that creates a tight, crisp feel. A sateen weave, on the other hand, features a one yarn over three yarns construction which means that there is more yarn on the surface of the cloth which is what makes a sateen weave silkier and smoother. See below for illustrations.
Percale is a tight weave with a simple one-over-one construction that imparts a flat, crisp finish. The characteristic matte finish, breathability, and a crisp feel against the skin make cotton percale sheets and bedcovers ideal for summer or warm-weather climates.
Our percales come in a variety of thread counts. Our 200-thread count sheets, like Wallflower and Ink Dots get better and better feeling after every wash, soft 400-thread count, like our Classic Hemstitch, Petite Ruffle, elegantly embroidered Helix. Isabella is in a class by herself: 500-thread count Egyptian cotton (Egyptian cotton plants produce the finest, extra long-staple fibers that are also more durable, for a beautifully long-lasting sheet.)
Classic Hemstitch is ready for its close-up.
So is our Petite Ruffle.
Sateen is the flashier cousin of percale—no surprise, since its name is derived from that of its silky sister, satin. The weaver sets the loom so that on each pass, several warp threads wrap over a single weft thread. This creates a thicker cloth with a soft feel and a subtle luster, thanks to multiple threads that lie on the surface. Sateen’s coziness and heavier weight make it especially appealing for cooler temperatures, but with a simple matelassé coverlet layered on top, it’s a year-round luxury.
Cotton sateens generally run in the 300- to 600-count neighborhood, like our lovely, lustrous Annie Selke Luxe Carina Sheet in 500-thread count Egyptian cotton sateen.
The finishing process is what really differentiates the feel of your sheet. With many brands the smooth finish is washed off during the first trip through the washer, leaving you without the smoothness you were lead to believe would last! Our specific finishing process removes excess fibers from the cloth (it is those excess fibers that emerge after washing and drying to make your sheet less crisp and smooth) ensuring wonderful feeling sheets wash after wash, to produce what we call the “aah” moment, when you slip into bed at the end of the day.
So what’s it going to be? Crisp percale? Or smooth sateen?