Bedding is made of all kinds of fabrics, including cotton, silk, linen, jersey, flannel and cotton/polyester blends. People go for different materials for various reasons, including availability, price, comfort, practicality and style. For example, some may choose polyester blends for their wrinkle-resistant quality while others prefer 100% cotton sheets because they are more durable, softer and more comfortable. It's important to know what material you want your bedding to be made of before you go shopping for bedding. At nillens, all our bedding is 100% Egyptian cotton because we believe that this is the best cotton around.
Egyptian cotton is acknowledged to be the finest cotton in the world because of its extra long fibers (which are called staples). The moist atmosphere of the Nile valley, where the cotton plant is grown, creates the ideal condition to raise these long staples. The long staple of Egyptian cotton allows it to be woven into thin, strong threads that are then used to make sheets that are extra soft and lustrous. Because of the makeup of Egyptian cotton sheets, the fabric breathes well, is lightweight yet strong, and can be used to weave high thread count sheets.
Thread count has recently become a buzz word when it comes to bedding. What the term basically refers to is the number of threads woven together in a square inch of fabric.
It's usually the case that higher thread count fabrics are denser and silkier whereas lower thread count fabric is lighter and more airy.
Higher thread count uses finer threads so that more threads can be woven together within the same amount of space (the square inch). The idea is that the finer threads you can weave together, the softer and finer the fabric.
However, higher thread count bedding is not necessarily "better." It does feel softer and more silky, but not everybody likes the silky feel. Lower thread count bedding is more crisp and tends to stay cool. From our experience, lots of people love lower thread count fabrics for their fresh feel.
The way in which fabric is woven also has a major effect on its feel. Percale and sateen are two different types of weaves. Percale is a basic criss cross weave (like the diagram above) and sateen is made using a satin weave structure, which is a little more complicated. Percale fabric tends to be crisp and cool and sateen has a silkier, softer feel. Each fabric has its unique character and like thread count, weave is also a matter of preference.