Bed Linens 101

All sheets are not created equal.



istock.com

SWEET DREAMS ARE even sweeter when your linens are smooth, soft and supple. Our quick guide shows you how to shop for a good night’s rest.

Thread Count
The quality of a sheet is often determined by its thread count, or the number of threads used vertically and horizontally in a square inch of fabric.Sheets with a lower thread count, 100 to 300, are thinner and lack

 

OUR PICKS
For luxury, Ralph Lauren’s Carlisle sateen sheets, 700-thread count and one-ply yarns, at Bloomingdale’s, are perfect for our warmer climate. Sold separately; $140 queen flat sheet, $140 queen fitted sheet, $100 standard pillowcase pair.

For basic—but not boring—bed linens, we like the Wamsutta 500 Damask sheet set with its wide stripe pattern, at Bed Bath & Beyond. Its 500-thread count and 100 percent Egyptian cotton make it a solid investment—and you can choose from 12 colors. $79.99 per queen set.

Budget-minded shoppers can find Gäspa, 310-thread count sateen cotton sheet sets, at IKEA at a great price. $34.99 per queen set.

softness. Truth be told, some are even stiff and scratchy.Buy the highest thread count—minimum 300 to as high as 1,000—you can afford. They are softer, smoother and have a longer life.Thread-ply is important, too. One-ply threads produce a sheet that is lighter in weight—considered by some a plus for Orlando’s warm weather. Two-ply threads (two yarns twisted together) make for a denser sheet with a heavier weave.

Fabric
Most sheets nowadays are 100 percent cotton, which provides coolness and a soft touch; however, natural fiber can shrink and wrinkle.Egyptian cotton has long, continuous fibers that create softer, stronger yarns. It makes for a durable, lighter-weight fabric that breathes well. Grown in Egypt’s Nile River Valley, the cotton is  influenced by the climate and soil; it is hand-picked, leaving the fibers straight and intact.Pima cotton is a result of breeding Egyptian cotton with Sea Island cotton. It produces an extra-long stable cotton fiber that lends itself to a more luxurious and durable grade.The name Supima (Superior Pima), which often appears on packaging, is actually a licensed trademark owned by an organization that promotes textile products made of 100 percent American Pima cotton.Organic cotton sheets are made from cotton grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.Cotton/polyester linens are valued for their easy, wrinkle-free care. The synthetic fiber, however, makes it a warmer sheet.

Weaves
Yarns in a Percale weave are woven one over and one under each other to produce a strong, long-lasting fabric with breathability and a silk-like feel.Sateen has a stitch of four over, one under, placing the most threads on the surface; thus it is incredibly soft and lustrous.Twill weave has two yarns over and one under, creating diagonal lines on one side of the fabric. It drapes well and is somewhat wrinkle-resistant.

 

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