Bedding can be confusing when you are trying to purchase just the right kind. We've heard about Egyptian cotton and pima cotton, and there's also bedding of the silk, satin and supima varieties. Oh, and let's not forget sateen. Of course, there's the thread count to be concerned about as well. What do all these features mean? Let's explore. Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, Scripps Howard News Service
Egyptian cotton is a species of cotton that has long, strong fibers that make it luxurious. Pima cotton is very good and also features a long fiber, but it is a grade of cotton that can be grown anywhere. Egyptian cotton is a specific strain of cotton.
Silk and satin are popular bed linens. They are smooth and soft to the touch and come in bold colors. Some complain of how slippery silk and satin sheets are and how they don't stay put on the mattress. If this is a concern, purchase the finest-quality sheets you can afford. Be sure the bedding fits the bed. The higher-quality silk and satin sheets usually have extra material that fits under the mattress to prevent slippage. Some also have elastic all around so they are not only anchored in the corners, but also fit snugly around the entire bed.
Sateen is created using a unique weaving process. It is not a type of thread. The weave is one thread under and four threads over. More threads are then placed on the top of the weave that creates the sheet. Voila! Luxury.
Supima is an extra-long fiber cotton. It has great silkiness and softness, and is grown in the United States. The name comes from the Pima Indians, who helped in the research to develop this cotton. Supima cotton is so luxurious that it is sometimes called the American-Egyptian cotton. This cotton also has great strength.
Is thread count important? Yes, to a point. The count refers to the number of threads used to create 1 square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the finer the threads. Some sheets have thread counts over 1,000. These are very expensive, and have a shorter lifespan because the extremely fine thread used makes them less strong. Most people opt for linens that are 200 to 400 thread count, as they are comfortable, yet last longer.
Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, is author of "Mystery of Color."