Bed Linen Terminology
When describing our bed linen, we often use terminology specific to either the fabric used or the embellishments applied. Here is a simple guide to the most commonly used terms.
Sheet Sets & Separates
A sheet set comprises of one fitted sheet, one flat sheet and matching pillowcase/s.
Single and king single sheet sets include one pillowcase. Double, queen and king size sheet sets contain two pillowcases.
A number of our ranges also offer individually packed flat sheets, fitted sheets, pillowcases and valances.
As cotton is a breathable natural fibre, it is comfortable and cool to sleep on or under. It is also hypoallergenic, making it ideal for people who suffer from allergies. Cotton may require more ironing than polyester/cotton blends as it has a tendency to crease after washing.
Polyester cotton (poly/cotton) is a blend of cotton and polyester fibres used in bed linen textiles. Polyester is a synthetic or manmade fibre which helps to increase the durability of the cotton and the life span of the product. Cotton keeps the product soft and comfortable to sleep on or under. Together they produce an `easy care` fabric as less ironing is required.
Thread count refers to the number of threads woven into a 10 square centimetre area of fabric. The thread count of standard cotton or muslin is around 150 whereas good quality sheets start at 180. A count of 200 and higher is referred to as "percale ".
Thread count also relates to the quality of yarn and its construction. With finer threads, more can be woven into each square inch producing a finer, softer, more flexible fabric.
Thread counts above 500 are something of a misnomer. Very high thread counts generally entail the use of a "plied yarn " - one that is produced by twisting together multiple fine threads. For marketing purposes it is not uncommon to count the twisted yarn as double which enables fabric with 250 individual four-ply yarns in a square inch to be described as 1,000 thread count product.
Thread counts cannot always be relied upon to demonstrate a sheet`s softness and level of quality. Softness depends more on the quality of the fibre rather than the actual thread count. It is for this reason a 200 thread count fine cotton sheet can have a softer feel than a 400 thread count sheet that uses an inferior grade of cotton or a twisted thread.
While some claim thread count is the best way to choose bed linen, take note to remember the quality of cotton and the way a sheet will feel on your body is the best way to determine which sheet is the most suitable for you.
Percale is a fabric with a minimum thread count of 200 threads per 10 square centimetres.
The process of dying the entire fabric one plain colour.
The design is printed onto the surface of the fabric.
Pattern and texture is created by stitching a design directly into the fabric.
A motif or design is created separately out of pieces of material and then applied to the base fabric
with an outline of embroidery.
A self pattern weave.
Two layers of fabric filled with wadding then embroidered with a repeated pattern to create a quilted effect.
The fabric is folded back into rows then sewn into place to create a textured surface.
Types of Weave
The way in which fabric is woven contributes to its feel and washability. Cotton sateen sheets, for example, are softer than those with a classic flat weave. A sateen weave has more warp threads on the top surface, resulting in a silk-like touch and appealing lustre. Which is better? It's a matter a personal taste; some people prefer the crispness of a flat weave, others like the softness of the sateen finish.
Combing separates the long desirable fibres from the shorter fibres and other impurities in the cotton. This creates a stronger and smoother yarn.
Cotton sateen is created by using a special weaving process to place more lengthwise yarns on the surface of the fabric. This process adds a gentle sheen to the fabric and a very soft feel.