Tips for Purchasing Bed Sheets
Purchasing sheet sets can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. There are so many more details than color and pattern to consider. There are a multitude of fabrics, weaves and thread count to take into consideration, not to mention pricing…a really good set of sheets is a substantial investment and will run well into 3 figures. Considering you will be spending 1/3 of you time each day snuggled up between them, they are well worth the investment!
Our personal recommendation would be to purchase a set of Egyptian cotton sheets with no less than 500 thread count. These will be smooth and comfortable and will hold up for many years.
One way to make sure your investment last as long as possible and look and feel their best is to have them professionally cleaned. Fashion Cleaners offers a luxury sheet cleaning service in which we clean and press your sheets and deliver them beautifully packaged in sets. Give it a try, we guarantee you’ll love the way professionally cleaned sheets look and feel!
Here’s a run down of fabrics, weave and thread count.
Cotton: Cotton is the most popular fabric used to make sheets and other bedding, and for good reason. It’s durable, breathable, soft, easy to care for, and generally quite affordable. You’ll find several different types of cotton, however; here are some of the most common.
- Egyptian cotton is the most luxurious variety. This is what you’ll want if you’re shopping for super-soft, high-quality bed sheets. Grown in warm, dry climates of North Africa, it’s the extra-long fibers that make Egyptian cotton so desirable.
- Pima cotton is also known for its softness and natural sheen. It’s medium to extra-long fibers are ideal for bed sheets. This cotton is primarily grown in the southwest of the United States, along with a few other locations.
- Upland cotton is native to the Americas, but is now the most commonly grown cotton in the world. Its fibers are not as long as Pima or Egyptian cotton, so it’s not as soft as those varieties.
- Supima® is a trademarked name for fibers and materials woven from 100% American Pima cotton.
- MicroCotton® is a trademarked brand of extremely fine cotton thread developed in India. This durable cotton, made from long staple cotton fibers, is very soft and absorbent.
Flannel: A staple for cold winter nights, flannel is cotton that’s been combed to fluff up the fibers. Unlike other types of bedding materials, flannel’s quality is measured in ounces per square yard, rather than thread count.
Tencel®: Tencel is a brand name for fabric made out of eucalyptus tree wood pulp. It’s soft, very durable, and naturally antimicrobial. Tencel is generally considered an environmentally friendly fabric, as its production requires less water, energy and chemicals than cotton does.
Silk: Silk is a luxurious, soft fiber produced by silkworms. For sheer indulgence, it’s hard to beat real silk sheets – they’re cool, silky and sensuous, making them a must for the romantic or sexy bedroom. Silk is also naturally hypoallergenic. The downside to silk, of course, is its cost, which is high, and its care, which is delicate.
Polyester: Polyester is a manmade fiber produced from the same polymers used to make plastic drink bottles. While polyester is inexpensive, it’s quite stiff and scratchy when used on its own. Generally, you’ll find polyester mixed with another thread, often cotton, in inexpensive sheet sets.
Bamboo: While bamboo can be made into fabric, it’s typically rather stiff and rough. Most often, what you find labeled as “bamboo” sheets are actually rayon. This means the bamboo pulp went through a chemical process to dissolve the pulp, re-solidify it, and then spin it into thread. This process involves harmful chemicals and is potentially hard on the environment, making bamboo sheets less environmentally friendly than its manufacturers claim. It does produce a very soft, durable and silky fabric, however.
Blends: There are lots of blended fabrics available, most including some form of cotton. Cotton/polyester is the most common, but you’ll also find cotton/bamboo and cotton/rayon. Blended fabrics are usually inexpensive, durable and wrinkle-resistant, making them a good choice for children’s bedding.
Thread Count is the amount of thread used vertically and horizontally to create one square inch of the bed sheet’s fabric. “Single ply” sheet sets use one thread for each vertical and horizontal row. Two-ply bedding sheets create a heavier weave with the same number of rows by twisting two threads together.
Bed sheets with 200 to 400 thread counts are often soft and airy and are usually made with sateen or twill weave fabric.
Luxury bed sheets with 500 to 1,000 thread counts are denser, silkier and heavier due to the extra thread.
BED SHEET WEAVES
There are different ways to weave thread into fabric, and each way produces a different feel. Weaving techniques create:
Standard weave bed sheets – follow a one stitch over, one stitch under pattern
Sateen bed sheets– are actually a blend of natural fiber and cotton. Sateen has a silky quality thanks to its four stitches over, one stitch under pattern. These bed sheets aren’t as durable as the standard weave, but they feel softer.
Pinpoint weave bed sheets – are created with two stitches over, one stitch under and feels softer than a standard weave but not as soft as sateen
Twill weave bed sheets – recognized by a distinctive diagonal line pattern, these bed sheet sets are more resistant to wrinkles than others