What is the difference between Sateen (not Satin) & Percale bed linens?
So, you have started shopping for new sheets and are a little overwhelmed by the choices. Explaining the differences in cotton weaving isn’t that exciting, but knowing the difference will help when you do decide to treat yourself to luxury linens.
Cotton, cotton/polyester, sateen, percale, jersey – what does it all mean?
With “luxury” linens, the two most common weaves you will find are Sateen and Percale. When looking for luxury linens, keep in mind the following:
As general rule, try to determine country of origin and look for 100% Egyptian Cotton.
Usually price is a good indicator. The old adage, “You get what you pay for,” is especiallyntrue with bed linens and it is hard to tell by just looking at the package, so ask yourself these questions:
Where it is produced?
How is the product finished?
What type of cotton & grade?
Sateen (not to be confused with satin)
Sateen fabric has a slight sheen and smooth finish.
It is the most elegant of the weaves. Sateen sheets are available in thread counts ranging from 200 to 1200 threads per square inch. Don’t consider less than 200.
Never, ever, buy satin sheets! – it is cheap fabric and won’t give you that Luxury you desire.
Almost all of the satin you will find is synthetic, which is easily snagged, slippery, and wrinkles. Some silk sheets can be classified as satin as well, but they offer similar characteristics to synthetics and are expensive.
Satin fabrics do not breathe as well as cotton, & can be hot/sticky next to your skin – yuck! This is not your luxury indulgence.
Available in thread counts ranging from 150 to 800 threads per square inch. Look for at least a 200 thread count, but make sure it is a good grade of 100% Egyptian cotton.
The hand (feel) of the fabric is velvety and has a slightly pronounced nap.
When ironed, percale offers a “crisp” yet soft feel next to your skin. Some refer to this as a “cooler” feeling sheet.
In a percale weave, a weft yarn is pushed under a single warp yarn then over the next warp yarn (effectively one warp yarn over one weft yarn, then under one weft yarn and so on).
Okay, unless you are looking for an advanced lesson in weaving, scroll past the Twill, Jersey & Flannel descriptions. With these weaves, you begin to fall off the luxury curve.
Twill fabrics are woven to produce a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs and are occasionally found in bed linens.
The ribbed pattern may feel rough to the touch.
Your everyday day underwear or casual T-shirts are a jersey knit and can be either cotton or a cotton/synthetic blend.
Jersey tends to be soft and clingy. It is not as durable as sateen or a percale weaves.
Often produced from lower grades of cotton, causing it to pill easily.
I say, pass on jersey for sheets.
Flannel fabric has a soft raised napped finish that provides additional surface area because of the nap. It traps more air and provides additional insulation
Think of these as your Grandma’s sheets. If you are living in Alaska, you get a pass; however, I wouldn’t consider this a luxurious (or romantic) sheet experience.
Flannel PJ’s aren’t sexy &neither are flannel sheets!
Thread Count – if all things were equal (same grade of cotton, same weave, etc) thread Count becomes a variable.
As noted in my 1st blog – think grade of cotton first.
You can get a better feeling 200 count sheet made from a great
grade of cotton than a 600 count sheet made from a poor grade.
It points out two things:
There is lot of deception relative to thread count.
There are sheets sold under the premise of only high thread count that feel horrible.
Isn’t it time you treated yourself?
You may have spent more on that pair of shoes then a great set of sheets (you know the ones, they were the latest style, looked great, and you only wore them once). You will sleep in your sheets every night for the next 6 – 10 years. You deserve to pamper yourself a little, don’t you?