Good quality bed linen will last you for many years and actually improves over time. This is why we only offer the finest quality linen.
How do you choose between all the different qualities on the market?
Your best bet, of course, is for you or your client to go and physically feel the different qualities for yourselves. And here I would like to give you a few guidelines about the different choices available on the market.
There has been a recent obsession with the thread count of cloth (e.g. the number of stitches per square inch), but it is not the thread count that matters most. The quality of the yarn and the finish of the fabric are much more important. These directly affect the softness and strength of the fabric. Don’t get obsessed by thread count and just accept that a thread count of 300 to 600 is optimal. Less is too little and more is probably not necessary.
To help you with your choice here are the main characteristics and differences between cotton percale, satin cotton and linen – which are the fabrics most fine bed linens are made of.
Cotton: Percale or Sateen Cotton
The two choices for cotton bed linen are percale and sateen cotton. These terms refer only to the type of weave used in the weaving process. Both percale and sateen are woven from cotton and can vary as to which country they are grown. High quality cotton yarn is spun from long staple fibres, this is vital in producing good quality yarn and from this you can produce good quality cotton.
The most famous of all is Egyptian cotton which is made from long staple fibres. The top five cotton-producing countries in the world are China, USA, India, Pakistan and Brazil. Our linens are made exclusively of fine long staple cotton.
Percale is a plain weave fabric, this is a simple one-over and one-under, 1:1 thread weave structure. This creates a matt, crisp appearance. Because percale threads are tightly woven, these sheets have a fine, soft, powdery texture and finish. Percale has a more durable weave than sateen, because of this simple weave, it is also less likely to snag or pill over time.
Sateen cotton sheets have an elegant and luxurious look and feel. They are made by using a satin weave. The satin weave structure is a multiple thread weave usually two or four over, and one under, this results in a more lustrous, smooth-faced, silky surface. Better-quality sateen cotton sheets are differentiated from the lesser quality sateen by the length of the staple cotton used in the weaving as well as the finishing process.
Percale is matt and crisp looking and is better for summer or hot climates, it is slightly more durable than sateen cotton because of it construction. It feels soft and cool when you get into bed. Sateen cotton is silkier and more luxurious looking but less suitable for hot climates as it seems to store heat under its denser weave and is a better choice for winter or cold climates. It feels softer than percale, a bit more like silk because of its construction and finish.