The Bed Linen Vocabulary: By Danijela Zaric

­­­­­­There are three factors that determine the quality and feel of a sheet: the fiber from which it is made, how the fabric is woven, and the thread count.

American Upland cotton: the most widely used cotton and can be short to long-staple. If a label only reads “100 percent cotton,” it is likely to be American Upland.

Cotton varieties: American Upland, Pima, and Egyptian.

Egyptian cotton: the finest, longest-staple of all. Grown in the Nile River Valley, Egyptian cotton produces an extremely soft and supple weave.

Flannel bed sheets: a warm, cotton blend that’s measured by ounces of fabric per square yard instead of thread count. A good flannel quality is four ounces or more.

Linen sheets: made from flax, a temperamental crop which requires hand-picking, a laborious process. As a result, linen is typically more expensive than cotton. Linen is moth-resistant, repels dirt and wicks perspiration away from the skin. This high-end, luxury material is durable enough to last for decades. It is cooler than cotton, which makes linen sheets especially popular in warm climates. They have a wrinkled appearance, which can be looked at as a messy or sexy look.

Manito’s silk bedding: the very finest bedding available in North America. Made of silk with a luxurious drape and an unforgettable feel. Has a traditional, narrow loom charmeuse weave and an optimal momme count of 22.

Momme: the measure of silk’s weight and the sweet spot for silk bedding.

Oxford: refers to a weave first produced in nineteenth-century Scotland. It is soft and heavy and has twice as many warp threads that run lengthwise as weft threads, those that run widthwise. Commonly used to make men’s dress shirts, oxford cloth stands up very well to laundering.

Percale sheets: made of a plain-weave fabric, meaning that the warp and the weft threads cross over and under each other one at a time. The threads are tightly woven, which results in a fine texture and finish. The word percale is derived from pargalal, a centuries-old cloth from Persia. These sheets are crisp feeling.

Pima cotton: a fine, long-staple cotton that yields a very soft weave. The word “Supima” often appears on the labels of Pima sheets as a trademark of the Supima Association, which promotes Pima cotton.

Sateen sheets: made in a satin weave, in which warp threads interlace with filling threads, resulting in a lustrous, smooth-faced, durable fabric. Have a luxurious look and feel. These bed sheets aren’t as durable as the standard weave.

Silk sheets: luxurious and considerably more expensive than cotton sheets that require special care in cleaning, but can be a worthwhile investment. Silk is all natural and hypo-allergenic, and gentler on our skin and kinder on our hair than synthetic alternatives.

Staple: refers to the length of the individual fibers.

Thread count: the number of threads woven per inch. In general, a sheet with a higher thread count will be more durable and feel softer. A thread count of 200 is a good standard; a count of 300 will be noticeably softer.

Twill weave bed sheets – recognized by a distinctive diagonal line pattern, these bed sheet sets are more resistant to wrinkles than others

Wood Fiber Sheets: sheets produced from the cellulose fiber of beech-wood, eucalyptus, or oak. Wood pulp is harvested from hardwood trees grown on farms especially for this purpose. Most of the Italian wood fiber linens come from the beech wood tree. Beech groves are a completely sustainable source. The special characteristic about the growth of the beech tree is that it multiplies via “rejuvenation”, which means that the tree population practically grows itself.