“I’ve got 99 problems and picking the best bedsheet material is one of them!”
If you are one of those having to make this life-changing, life-altering choices; then this article will ease you into the decision rather easy. I can’t stress this enough. The time we spend on our beds far outweigh the time we collectively spend anywhere else in our homes.
Sleep is inevitably a requirement for a healthy mind body and soul. With a little homework to find the best bedsheet for yourself, you can make the right choice to facilitate your daily invigoration optimally.
In this article, we will be discussing only cotton materials that make the best bedsheet. It is the most popular material for bedding and that is for a very good reason at that. It is soft, breathable, durable, easy to care for and rather affordable. You’ll find several different types of cotton. Some terms refer to the origin of the cotton fibres themselves (Egyptian Cotton, Pima etc), while other terms refer to the style of weaving or methods of treating cotton fabric (Sateen, Percale etc).
A thread is woven to form the varying materials that we are discussing. If you wanna know more about the creation of fabrics, do read the following article: Cotton Bedding: Bedsheet materials for dummies!
The Weaving Process (You can skip this bit):
Long threads running the full length of the fabric form the warp of the weave, and the shorter threads running across the edges of the fabric for the weft. Just remember, the warp threads run up and down the length of the fabric, and weft threads run across the width of the fabric. The warp and weft create the grainline or direction of the woven threads in the fabric.
Machines called looms weave cotton yarns into fabrics the same way the first handweaving frames did. Modern looms work at great speeds, interlacing the length-wise yarns (warp) and the crosswise yarns (weft). The woven fabric, called gray goods, is sent to a finishing plant where it is bleached, pre-shrunk, dyed, printed and given a special finish before being made into the best bedsheets.
Percale is a closely woven plain weave fabric with a smooth, firm surface.
It is usually woven with good-quality Egyptian cotton single yarns, though it can also be made from normal cotton, polyester or a blend of the two.
Cotton Percale is a “plain weave” fabric, woven using a one-over, one-under weaving pattern. The finest Percale bed linens are characterized as crisp yet soft, with a matte finish. It is light making it a great choice for warm sleepers, warmer climates or summertime use.
It can also be given a matt finish or glazed with synthetic resins to make it lustrous. Percale weave with a thread count of 200 or higher make the best bedsheets.
Cotton Sateen fabric has a silkier feel compared to Percale, with a lustrous finish, or sheen, due to the weave which places more threads on the surface of the fabric, usually in a four-over, one-under weaving pattern.
Sateens are generally heavier and warmer. The finest Sateens are characterized by a luxurious drape and a sumptuous silk-like body and lustre. Sateens do require a bit more care. Sateens can be more prone to pilling and must be ironed after washing to retain their lustre to make them the best bedsheet.
Sateen was created as an alternative to “Silk” as it mimics much os its characteristics.
Flannel, in short, feels like a teddy bear in the form of a cloth. It has something for every member of the family regardless of your nature. From the napping baby to the rugged beard-waxing Alpha, everyone adorns Flannel someway.
People mistake flannel to be a pattern but it is a fabric. Flannel can be made from wool, synthetic fibre and these days even cotton.
It can be woven with either a twill or a plain weave and then is typically napped or brushed to give it that extra softness. The softness could also be characterised by the loosely spun yarn it is woven from. It’s that extra softness that makes flannel an excellent choice for bedding, especially for quilts and winter sheets. Young or old, male or female, rich or poor, there is no better escape from a cold night in the dead of winter than curling up under those soft-napped fabrics.
A twill weave is created by passing the weft thread over two or more warp threads and then repeating that pattern one warp thread over, so that a diagonal line is formed. Most denim fabrics are made from the twill weave.
The twill weave is used more for textured bedding such as for your throwovers or throw pillows. Its ribbed pattern usually feels rough to the touch not making them the best bedsheet. However, their heavy and warm nature can make for great winter bedding. Something, that might not be very relevant to South East Asia.
Cotton Jersey refers to sheets made from cotton fabric that is knit rather than woven. Cotton jersey is essentially the same fabric used in cotton T-shirts. Not the first choice for bedding, but if you are crazy about how cotton Jerseys (Shirts) feel than you might just want to explore a night’s sleep with the Jersey Cotton.
Combed cotton is softer than regular cotton because it doesn’t have any impurities or short protruding threads, and it is stronger than regular cotton because the combing process removes short fibres, which are prone to breakage. After combing, the straightened fibres join together more tightly, leading to less fraying and unravelling. These benefits plus the additional work required during the manufacturing process makes combed cotton more expensive and luxurious than regular cotton.
Cotton Material Based On Fibre
Read the following article to find out about long staple fibres and the biggest secret of cotton: Cotton Bedding: Cotton Quality Does Not Differ Regardless Of Origin?!
Ah, the king of sheets. I will be dedicating a separate article for Mr Egyptian Cotton. In short, Egyptian Cotton sheets are remarkable as they have the longest staple cotton yarns compared to any other cotton. They are super luxurious and extremely soft.
However, there are lots of complexities with finding legit Egyptian Cotton. If you have Egyptian Cotton sheets at home and are grinning from end to end, then here’s a party-pooper; they are probably not real even if they were bought from reputable brands.
Subscribe to find out the secrets of getting the right Egyptian Cotton sheets.
With the secrets of thread length out in the open and the scarcity of Egyptian Cotton, special climate conditions mimicking that of the Niles were sourced to create equivalent staple lengths. Walla, Pima cotton was created.
Pima Cotton in certain specific places. Peru, Australia and Southwestern United States.
Fun Fact: The name Pima cotton came about after the Pima Indians who helped raise the cotton in the United States.
Only 10% of the world’s cotton production offers long staple cotton. As with Egyptian Cotton & Supima Cotton, the market is saturated with tons of fakes. That is especially so because there is no regulation with regards to using the Pima Fibers. Thereby, manufacturers easily blend only a small percentage of Pima Cotton with Upland Cotton (90% of normal cotton produced in the world).
Supima cotton is grown only in the US and is verified by the Supima Association. This insane luxe cotton produces a fibre that’s just as soft and durable as Pima cotton, but with no fillers allowed. If the fibres aren’t sold to non-regulated manufacturers, there is less chance of a fake presenting itself.
MicroCotton is a trademarked term for a type of quality cotton yarn woven into long loops for added absorbency and luxurious feel. Though Micro-Cotton claims to have the long staple element to them, there is no rational proof of why they are able to create this staple length.
However, Microcotton is credited for its moisture absorbency sometimes better than that of Egyptian Cotton, making it a better challenger for best towels than the best bedsheet.
These days, many materials are mixed and matched to explore means of creating unique textures and patterns. Synthetic, Organic, Cotton, Flax and many other materials including glass fibres! are used to create cotton blended fabrics.
There could be a certain blend that you have explored that fits your budget and your material needs. There is no wrong answer to what makes you feel comfortable and what is considered the best bedsheet for you.
Ultimately, the point is to not be tricked by labels of superiority claims but pay a fair price for the validity or the truth of what you see on labels. Look out for our future articles which will teach you to spot the real ones from the fakes!