Nov 10, 2014

Linens(!) For Your Bed

We all want to be comfortable in bed.  It's a place for us to relax, nourish ourselves and sleep, and feel enveloped and comfortable. So, you should buy the best sheets you can afford. I've learned a lot about textiles, and while I prefer true linen, cotton sheets are good. Here's a little information about Cotton that my guide you on your next shopping trip.  

Textile industry experts generally classify cottons into four main types. first it's good to know that cotton is considered a "stable" fiber. That means it's generally short and squat. The classification is based on the appearance and staple length and are - extra-long, long, medium and short - the longer the staple, the finer the fabric.    While 90% of the world’s cotton crop is harvested in American Upland, it is not – with its fibers 7/8”- 1 to1/4” long – suited for “good” bed sheets. Egyptian cotton, in contrast, is a long staple fiber. It has extra-long and fine smooth fibers of about 1-1/2” in length. Growers in the U.S. and elsewhere have developed Egyptian varieties called Pima cottons and they have a silky softness and durability and used for I quality bedding production.

Thread Count - number of threads per square inch – is a Key indicator of quality. Just feel the difference between 200 and 600 count threads in packages at your local department store.  Since some manufacturers count a double ply yarn to raise the thread counts, beware. You can tell by feeling the thickness and softness of the sheets.  Some manufacturers have a way of carding and combing fibers, which cleans, straightens and aligns them while removing any short ones. The packaging should say, "Long Staple cotton" and you can feel the softness between those sheets and others.
My personal experience is that companies that we've in Italy have a much higher quality and softness in those from China, So look at the country of origin. India weaves beautiful sheets at a good price points.

Be sure to keep a few things in mind when purchasing cotton bed linens 1) fabric processing 2) dyeing were involved, and 3) which chemicals were used in the production. It's definitely fun to have bright colors, but be sure they are naturally dyed. Over time, chemicals Leach out into the air into the rest of your laundry, and it isn't healthy.  More and more, I am seeing organic cotton sheets in big-box stores like West Elm, William Sonoma home, and even discount stores like Marshals and T.J. Max. It reallyis so much better for your skin, your health, and the environment-  since what you purchase has an effect on the menu factors, long after you make the purchase.

I used to have multiple sets of sheets. Why? Really don't need them. I change the bedsheets once a week, so really 2 to 3 sets is more than enough.What that means is I can do a higher quality for breathability, comfort, and even luxury.