Fabulous Fabrics

A good night's sleep starts with soft, cozy sheets that let your body breathe—and, of course, have room for your feet! The following is some helpful fabric information.

Cotton is the most widely used fabric for sheets due to its comfort and breathability (i.e., the ability to absorb and wick away moisture and perspiration). Cotton sheets also have a long life and are easy to take care of.

It is generally accepted that the absolute highest quality cotton is Egyptian extra-long staple (ELS) cotton. Its long, silky fibers produce an exceptionally soft, strong, and fine yarn.

Sheets made with shorter staple cotton fibers are more likely to pill and poke out of the weave, leading to a coarser, weaker fabric. The quality of the cotton is the most important factor because it is the foundation—every step in the process rests on the quality of the raw material. So, in short, choose wisely! And remember, poly or synthetic blends (often found in jersey or “wrinkle-resistant sheets”) trap air and will leave you waking up clammy and hot.

Higher-thread-count sheets are made with finer yarns. Finer yarns are more expensive to produce resulting in pricier sheets (and why higher thread count woven sateen is more expensive than percale).

The two primary sheet weave options are percale and sateen. A percale weave is a basic, one-over-one basket weave that has a matte finish and feels light and crisp. A sateen weave “floats” several weft threads over the warp threads in the front of the fabric resulting in a softer feel and a silkier, more luxurious sheen. Trust your fingertips, and do not underestimate the importance of feel—ultimately, the weave of the fabric will come down to a personal preference.

People like to keep score. It’s irresistible. Not surprisingly, thread count has become something of a status symbol. Also, not surprisingly, slick marketers have figured out how to game the system. They boost their thread count by winding threads (multi-ply yarns) and inserting all kinds of fillers to present thread count numbers that are bogus.

The bottom line is if it seems too good to be true – a remarkably high thread count sheet set for a bargain – you are likely being tricked. “Egyptian cotton comfort’ is sneaky. It is not Egyptian cotton. Blended fabrics are not 100% cotton. Plyed (twisted) yarns are not as good as single strand yarns; you want single-ply because it produces the finest, strongest threads, which, in turn, produce the softest, longest-lasting sheets.

What has been an interesting response to the thread count arms race is that a whole host of new bedding brands have gone in the opposite direction. They advertise that thread count is not very important. They market their products as the best and as luxury bedding when, in truth, their products are not really that exceptional at all.

Also, be wary of print on sheets, as it is usually done on lower-thread-count percale cotton to keep costs down. Think about it, when a manufacturer invests in more luxurious, higher thread count, fabric, the last thing (s)he wants to do is cover up its texture.

The bottom line for those of us who deal with mills and purchase fabric is that a roll of 600 thread count, Egyptian cotton fabric costs far more than a roll of 200 thread count cotton percale. If everything else is the same (weave, ply, mill, and type of cotton), higher thread count means a smoother, silkier, more expensive fabric.

Cotton yarns come in 5 major thicknesses for sheet weaving: 20s, 40s, 60s, 80s, 100s, and 120s weights. 20s are the thickest and the cheapest. 120s are the thinnest, finest, and most expensive.

Our 600 thread count extra-long-staple Luxe Egyptian cotton fabric has a soft drape, distinctive luster, beautiful hand, and amazing durability. It is woven from the finest Egyptian cotton 120s x 80s threads. This fabric is sublime. We have it in White, Cream, and Light Blue.

Our Delish Cotton Sateen is also incredibly special. It is a 400 thread count combed-, long-staple cotton delight woven from a combination of 60s and 80s threads. And, this weaver is masterful. Presently, we are carrying this amazing fabric only in classic White.