The word Percale refers to a kind of woven interlock cloth that’s used to create bed linens, pillowcases, and many other bedding items. Percale comes from the English words per (“a small piece”, or “round”) and gross (“cloth”) plus the Latin granum (“little grain”). Most Percale sheets contain 100% pure cotton fibers, although occasionally they’re mixed with synthetic fabrics like silk, nylon, or polyester. Most modern Percale sheets and pillowcases are usually a touch softer than most regular sheets, which helps to make them more comfortable to sleep on. They’re also washable, so you can keep them looking fresh by simply popping them into the washing machine instead of folding and washing them.
There are several different kinds of materials that are mixed with cotton fiber.
For example, some Percale sheets contain a higher thread count, which makes the sheets themselves a little looser in texture. They’re not as smooth as regular sheets because the higher thread count makes the sheet a little wavier. This texture is called a “bump” in the design world. Generally speaking, bumping is a negative feature for this fabric, since it tends to create snagging or “binding” in the seams where it’s tightly pulled.
When mixed with other materials, however, Percale sheets can have a soft, comfortable feel and look.
Many popular brands are combining long-staple cotton and organic cotton in their products, which gives the sheets a softer feel and greater durability. Some popular mixes include long-staple cotton and organic cotton, long-staple flax and organic flax, and short-staple cotton and long-staple flax.
This material is known for its comfort. The sheets tend to have a slightly rough feel due to the perc cotton fibers. However, they aren’t considered to be very stiff or uncomfortable, even for people who suffer from chronic back or neck pain. Some long-term users swear by the feel. People who wear them report that they don’t cause snags in bed and that they rarely go out of style. Even if you tend to be on the heavy side, you’ll still likely find that you can fit into them without a struggle.
It helps to know that your sheet gets softer after every wash. That’s because the more every wash you do, the more the cotton will grow. The more cotton grows, the higher the thread count and the softer the sheet will get. So it makes sense that if you use the sheets more, they will become softer and less scratchy over time. After about three to five washes, the sheets should feel like new, but percale is wrinkle-prone, so many washes may lead to many wrinkles.
One of the biggest challenges of purchasing anything made with natural materials is dealing with chemicals or toxins.
There are plenty of pros and cons to Percale sheets that address this concern. For starters, it uses no harmful dyes or synthetic fabrics. Another great thing is that the company is an official signatory to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This means that not only does their care sheet stay within the GOTS guidelines, but that they meet all of the other requirements as well, including manufacturing according to good environmental practices.
Thread count is important when buying sheets.
The higher the thread count, the smoother the feel. However, some people with allergies or sensitivity to natural fibers may not want to buy the smooth feel. This is especially true with the smooth feel like, which is one of the highest thread counts in existence. If you’re sensitive to smoothness, then you may want to choose one of the other options, such as the self-cleaning variety, which has a slightly looser weave. Washing your bedsheet is inevitable when you want to live a hygienic life free from all dust and dirt. So it is recommended to wash your sheets regularly.
Other types of synthetic materials may need to be incorporated into your pillowcases to get the smooth feel you’re looking for. For instance, there is another synthetic fabric that has a high thread count and can be used as a replacement for the Percale sheets; it’s called “Talalay” and can be found in many different colors and patterns. Other types of fabric that may need to be used in your home decor include corduroy and fleece, which both have high thread counts but that may need to be combined with another type of fabric to achieve the desired look and feel.
What’s the Difference Between Sateen and Percale?
Both Sateen and Percale sheets will elevate your nighttime ritual to another level. These are classy bedroom accessories, not just the old-fashioned sheets of yesteryears made out of less pilling material than cotton. With that being said, there are the following main differences between these two types of materials:
Percale sheets are made by hand, using traditional methods and raw materials.
The fabric is generally man-made by pressing the material at various degrees into looms. This creates the “grip” that the sheet has when you hang it from your rods. The woven material, also known as spinning Sateen sheets is made the same way but using manufactured machines in a process similar to that of spinning. While it does create a high degree of gripping through the material, the sheet is then coated with synthetic or natural silk to achieve a shiny look. Some woven sheets can be a smothering flat, while others are more open and feel like satin.
The second major difference between the materials comes in the form of the type of thread used to weave the sheets.
Typically, weaves use an all-natural thread, but synthetic or man-made threads can be used for even greater strength and flexibility. There are several different types of threads commonly used for this type of product, including fine cotton, tightly woven satin, and even silk. The advantage of tightly woven and fine cotton Sateen sheets is that they are more breathable than those with natural cotton, yet still highly durable and flexible.
Another major difference between the two sheets is the type of sheen or shine that is created.
Gently textured and slightly reflective sheens create a soft, translucent glow that is more similar to that of silk, than cotton or satin. When silk is shiny, it drapes well, but when it is satin, it can seem shiny or even dull when compared to another type of fiber. This difference in the sheen of the sheet gives it both the ability to drape well and allow light to shine through. It’s this reflective quality of the Sateen sheets that give them the ability to create a beautiful sheen over a dress or skirt. This shine creates a truly silky smooth finish that will leave any fabric looking new.
Because these sheets are considered luxury materials, they generally sell for much higher prices than other types of fiber. This is because they are considered a luxury fabric and it is rare to find tightly woven wool products that have the same warmth or luster that Sateen sheets possess. They are most commonly found in ultra-luxurious bath and body products, lingerie, and fashion accessories. Being so expensive, many women can only afford to purchase them on special occasions.
The quality of the fiber also means that you will not find this type of shearling available anywhere else. Each sheet is carefully woven by hand from the highest grade of Sateen yarn and then dyed with a special dye that defines the color of the fabric. You will know exactly what you’re getting when you purchase one because it will be unique. Many stores also offer Sateen sheets woven from recycled materials that have the look and feel of genuine fur. No matter what your needs, there is a product out there that will make the investment worth your while.