One of the most beautiful sights at the end of a long day is a bed beautifully dressed with crisp cotton bed linen. Even after choosing a fabric, there is still a plethora of choices for types of cotton and thread count. Understanding the traits of cotton bed linen helps buyers to choose the most comfortable bedding for their lifestyle.
Terminology for Cotton Fabric
Cotton is a versatile, low maintenance, and affordable yarn. It is woven using a variety of techniques, which affect how bed linen feels next to the skin, in addition to how well the bedding washes. Cotton percale is produced by combing the yarn before it is weaved into fabric. This gives the linen a smooth finish and high quality feel, with thread counts over 180. Cotton sateen is made by weaving cotton yarn in a satin weave to produce a shiny fabric that is extremely smooth. Chambray is a weave consisting of both coloured and white yarn in the warp, and is frequently used in summer clothing, as well as bed linen. Cotton and linen blends produce a slightly textured fabric that is soft to the touch.
Thread Count for Cotton Fabric
Many buyers believe that a higher thread count indicates a better quality bed linen, but this is not necessarily the case. Thread count defines the number of threads woven horizontally, called the weft, and vertically, called the warp, into a single square inch of fabric. Extra threads, called picks, can be woven into the weft to increase the thread count. The ply describes how many threads are entwined into a single thread for weaving. Double-ply cotton linen is woven with two pieces of cotton thread twisted together. This means that 800 thread count cotton sheets could be made with 400 double-ply threads. This becomes an important distinction because the denser the thread count, the softer the linen.
Cotton Bed Linen and Shrinking
Even when owners follow the manufacturer's instructions on the label, many cotton items shrink a little bit the first time they are washed, and manufacturers of high quality bed cotton linen take this into account. Buyers with extra deep pillow top mattress may need to consider choosing fitted sheets with extra large pockets. Cotton percale sheets shrink about four to five percent after laundering, and if the fabric was stretched a great deal before cutting and sewing, they may shrink more than 10 percent. Cotton sateen shrinks more than percale, and cotton and polyester blends shrink far less than 100 percent cotton.