Recently I went out shopping for bedding, specifically for a sheet set for my queen size bed. It had been awhile since I last purchased bedding, and I came away from the stores with a head full of questions. I’m not sure what happened in the bedding industry from the last time I bought sheets to this present day. They have so many different types of sheets, and fabrics and thread counts that range from 120 to 1000! What is a person to do? Well, I didn’t buy any today. I thought I’ve got to wrap my mind around the terms they are using and I came home and did some research. I wanted to be prepared to know which fabrics are best for bed sheets.
When I started researching I found so many different kinds of fabric I put them in alphabetical order. And since I spent so much time on this I thought others might like to use my list. This is what I came up with:
Bamboo: Fairly recent on the bed scene – it is made from the pulp of bamboo grass. This fabric is resistant to bacteria and is hypo-allergenic. It’s a great sheet for those suffering with allergies. It is an alternative to organic cotton since bamboo grows quickly while using much less water than cotton without fertilizers or pesticides. These sheets are soft, supple and silky to the touch.
Cotton: The single most popular fabric. Cotton is considered the best all season fiber. It is cool in the summer, and warm in the winder. Cotton breathes well and keeps body moisture away from the skin. You will find many of the popular cotton sheets listed.
Cotton Blend: A common blend of cotton/polyester. It is a blend of natural cotton with synthetic fibers producing easy care sheets. Blends are more durable than synthetic fibers, but they will wear out faster than 100% cotton sheets. And because polyester is not a very breathable fabric these sheets will be warmer than all cotton sheets.
Egyptian Cotton: Often referred to as the sheet for the Queen of the Nile. This cotton is grown along side the Nile River, best known for optimal cotton climate conditions producing exceptional quality cotton. This highly absorbent cotton is strong yet breathable and is known for its superior durability, luster, and silky feel because of its extra long fiber staple.
Flannel: A medium weight fabric in a plain or twill weave that is soft and fuzzy. Flannel is made of cotton with a napped finish on one or both sides. Napping is a brushing technique that gives a raised surface a fluffy soft appearance with a very cozy warm feeling. It is a great sheet for warmth during the fall and winter months. And many moms like flannel crib sheets for their babies.
Italian linen: This fabric is made only in Italy, made from the finest cotton grown exclusively in Egypt. It is a very luxurious fabric and sheets made of this caliber are truly a luxury item for only those who can afford them.
Jersey: These sheets are knitted in a circular, flatbed or warp knitted method. Jersey sheets are not woven so you will not find a thread count listed. They are very stretchy.
MODAL: A relatively new fiber made from the pulp of beech trees. This soft and silky material has excellent draping qualities. It is considered a type of rayon and is considered to be a bio based product, not a natural product because it is heavily processed using a number of chemicals. It creates a soft, smooth, absorbent sheet that breathes well, and will keeps its shape. It is similar to cotton.
Muslin: is considered to be at the low end of the cotton spectrum. This is one sheet you may want to stay away from as these tend to be quite rough. Its thread count ranges from 128-140. It is generally used for less quality bedding items.
Organic Cotton: A natural cotton that is grown without the use of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. To be considered an organic product it has to be certified, and approved by a United States Government 3rd party certification process to ensure authenticity. It holds up well and makes a nice sheet.
Percale: Is a smooth closely woven weave. The way in which it is woven allows air to pass through easily, so it tends to be more breathable. It comes in 100% cotton or a 50/50 cotton/poly blend. It is finer weave then muslin and the thread count ranges from 180-200. Percale is a strong, long lasting fabric and can be finished to have a crisp or a soft feel and it will soften after repeated washings.
Pima Cotton: Named after the Pima Native American tribe. This cotton is grown in the Southwest United States and in South America. It is similar to the Egyptian cotton. The main difference is geographical. It is also made of high quality cotton with a long fiber staple. This cotton sheet has a very soft feel and is very desirable in bedding.
Sateen: Don’t confuse this with Satin. It has a more lustrous look, and is extremely soft, although a bit less durable than the standard, percale or pinpoint. It is the weave that gives the sateen sheet is satiny feel. Usually made of 100% woven cotton but occasionally you find it with rayon. A good quality sheet is made of mercerized cotton which will increase its strength and give it more luster.
Satin: Satin is a weave of various materials. Wool, cotton, acetate, nylon, polyester, silk are some of the materials that make up Satin. It is an extremely smooth and sleek fabric, which some people find quite sexy, and others don’t like because it is too slippery. Most satins will last longer if hand washed.
Silk: Silk is extremely expensive, and cannot stand too much sunlight. Silk sheets are usually dry cleaned or hand washed and easily tear. They are rated by a “momme weight” which stands for its weight in pounds. Silk bed sheets are usually around a 16-19 momme weight.
Supima Cotton: Supima is a trademarked name for the long staple Pima cotton, grown exclusively in the United States from the finest crops by certified farmers. Supima is an abbreviation for superior pima. Like the Pima cotton it has a very soft feel and is very desirable in bedding.
Synthetic: Polyester is the most common synthetic fiber used in making sheets. Synthetic materials are usually wrinkle resistant, and durable as cotton, however, they are not as soft or as breathable as cotton. It is a man made material and the material will most likely pill. Pill refers to those tiny balls of fabric you see that collect on the surface. Since polyester is not a very breathable fabric the sheets will be warmer than cotton sheets.
Well, we have come to the end of my list. I now have a better idea of what I want in my sheets, and I feel prepared to make a decision when I go shopping. I hope you find this list helpful in deciding which fabric is best for you.