What Makes Good Quality Bed Sheets
- The Cotton
- The Weave
- The Thread Count
- The Hand
- The Brand
1. The Cotton
For the cool, soft feel of good quality bed sheets, they must be 100% cotton. Cotton wicks away moisture keeping you comfortable not clammy. The softness you can achieve with high- quality cotton is an addictive luxury your skin will remember. Polyester may wear like iron and never need to be ironed, but your skin knows the difference.
Cotton is classified into four main types with many categories in each type. These classifications are based on appearance and staple length (extra-long, long, medium and short) - the longer the staple, the better the cotton as the long staple allows you to twist long fine yarn.
Egyptian cotton is a long staple variety. It has extra-long and fine silky fibers about 2.5cm long. Growers in the U.S. have developed Egyptian varieties known as Pima cottons. Egyptian and Pima cottons are preferable for sheets, both for their silky softness and durability.
Combed cotton is another sign of quality. This means that any loose or broken fibres are combed out leaving a fine yarn. This is important as the broken fibres are with cause pilling in a sheet. All of Seneca’s bed linen is made using combed cotton.
2. The Weave
This is the hardest and most technical element to explain but thread count is not everything in a good sheet. The weave is equally as important.
There are many different types of weaves that a manufacturer can adopt, and these will affect the hand and the appearance of the finished cloth.
The same cotton yarns can be woven in many ways to give different finished results. The weave is a critical component of what makes a good sheet.
3. The Thread Count
Thread Count is the number of threads per square inch or in New Zealand and Australia it is measured per 10cm2. The higher the thread count, the finer the quality of the sheet. It takes long fibers of cotton to make strong but thin threads, and it takes these silky thin threads to make high thread count fabrics.
“Good Quality” sheets start at about a 200 thread count. The difference between a 200 thread count sheet and a 500 thread count sheet is much more noticeable than the difference between say a 500 thread count sheet versus a 1000 thread count sheet.
A high thread-count sheet, made from a long staple cotton such as Egyptian Cotton will increase in softness and luster after a number of washings. A “too good to be true” sheet may actually become stiffer. A good test is in the “hand” of the sheet.
4. The Hand
Cotton variety and thread-count are just indicators of good quality bed sheets, but there are a multitude of other factors that contribute to a sheets quality and feel. Carding and combing which cleans, straightens and aligns the fibers while removing any short ones.
The type of weave, or more importantly the weaver. The Portuguese, and the Egyptians are known for being good weavers.
The finish process which can involve water, heat or chemicals to achieve different effects on the fabric.
The Dyeing process used. Fabric can be dyed, yarn-dyed, or be left unbleached and undyed.
All of these factors affect the “hand” or the way the sheet feels to the touch. And how those sheets feel against your skin is the whole point isn’t it?
5. The Brand
A reputable brand should provide a reputable product.
At Seneca we have been importing Egyptian cotton for over 20 years, and guarantee the quality of our sheets.
We guarantee that our sheets will not pill, and the 20 years of market history will tell you that these sheets are just as good as they feel.