(This article is a companion to an accompanying article entitled, Are Luxury Pillows “All That”?). Luxury, high-end sheets. You’ve heard about them on the radio with Boll & Branch Sheets dominating the airwaves. You’ve seen them on television with My Pillow Giza Dream Sheets being touted at every turn. But is there really a difference in sheets? And, what are the best and most cost effective choices? And…how do you shop for bed sheets anyway?
First of all you need to be aware of the variables as you begin choosing between all the options I’ve included in the links below. The first variable is the thread count. Weaving involves criss-crossing threads horizontally and vertically to create a sheet of fabric. The number of threads a sheet has in a square inch is the thread count. Too low a thread count makes a fabric seem coarse, but too high a thread count may trap in moisture or body heat. It’s all a matter of taste whether you choose a thread count of 200, 400, or higher!
The next variable is the type of cotton. You’ve probably heard advertisements touting Giza cotton, or fine Egyptian cotton in sheets. And…the type of cotton indeed makes a difference in the way your sheets work and feel. Egyptian, Giza, or Pima (also known as Supima) cotton has a longer staple (or length of the cotton fiber) and are used for smooth, wrinkle resistant, and more luxurious sheets. Short staple (or short fiber) cottons usually go by the name of Upland, American Upland, or Hopi Short Staple. They are used frequently in denim and flannel and can be configured to be both strong and soft.
Another variable is the type of weave. The weave refers to the techniques used in the over under way the horizontal and vertical threads of cotton are inter-weaved to make a sheet. A tight or loose weave affects the thread count. Percale is a one for one weave in a tight pattern used in what are considered fine fabrics or luxury sheets. Muslin is a one for one weave that has a lower thead count and a looser weave resulting in a coarser, more textured fabric. Sateen does not use a one for one weave but has a thread in one direction interweaving several threads in the other direction. This results in a smoother, more “satin-y” feel.
Other variables are “finishing” (certain chemicals and process that affect the feel, durability, and washability of the fabric), “price” (how much the sheets cost), “green” (whether the cotton was grown organically or sustainably, and whether the sheets are washed and treated with organic chemicals before sale, and “guarantees” (whether the manufacturer or sales outlet assures the buyer that the sheets will last a certain time, perform a certain way, etc.).
So, don’t just listen to the radio and TV ads. Choose for yourself from all the options below using all the variables, plus your own intuition and secure sheets (and pillow cases) that will make you feel like royalty!