The Pros and Cons of the Different Bed Sheet Fabrics - Canningvale
The Pros and Cons of the Different Bed Sheet Fabrics

The Pros and Cons of the Different Bed Sheet Fabrics

Posted by The Canningvale Team on 1st Jul 2020

Canningvale Palazzo Royale

Let's be frank here. You may never have had luxury sheets, or special sheets, or even remotely interesting sheets. Except for that one time that your mum let you pick flowery ones.  It was hectic (cheers Mum). Otherwise, it was plain white, beige or eggshell in  >200 Thread Count, 2 for 1 deal from Who-Knows-Where, inevitably made out of of 100%-Who-Knows-What.

But now you've stumbled onto the website of a company that has spent around 40 years churning out textiles and amassing huge databases of Cotton types, pill ratings, GSM, Thread Counts, and where to get the best of the best. Intimidated? You should be. Keen? Definitely. Do you have the first clue where to even start when it comes to picking out sheets? Wow, no? Same.

Cotton bed sheets  

The most widely used purchased and sought after. At the top of the line is high-quality cotton like Egyptian and Pima often produced into higher thread counts to really push the luxury factor - though these often come with a much higher price tag. Cotton is graded by the lengths of its fibres so longer staples of cotton fibre are often graded as higher quality than shorter ones.

What does this mean for your sheets? With a lower* thread count between 200-500, you can expect 100% cotton sheets to keep you cool in the warmer months, have a crisp matte finish rather than a heavy draped one, strong durability due to the tight one-over-one *percale weave, plus these sheets are often more affordable than their higher thread count cousins. Affordability without sacrificing quality or longevity. They have been characterised as having a more lived-in texture, meaning there is less of an emphasis on stick straight sheets, with a satin finish - so less ironing. So if you’re looking for low-energy, high-comfort sheets 100% cotton with a less dense thread count is a good place to start - our Vintage Softwash collection has a Thread count of 250 made from 100% cotton, produced to look rustic and get softer with every wash.

But for a thicker more finished looking sheet set, something to keep you warmer in the cool months you can still go for 100% cotton, though you’re looking for a higher thread count between 800-1000. This essentially means the sheet itself will be slightly thicker and heavier, and the finish will have more of a drape to it. The Mille is our 1000TC Cotton sheet set, made with a *sateen weave for a smooth look. You’d be finding a Vintage Softwash in a lighter airy space and a Mille in a plush comfortable bedroom.

Canningvale Cotton plant
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Bamboo bed sheet materials 

You may have noticed a new fibre being thrown into the Manchester mix: bamboo. The  Bamboo plant grows extremely quickly; it is an extremely viable and a natural renewable source for textiles production. Comparatively Bamboo needs a third of the water that cotton requires, and pesticides are required less often.

Bamboo fabric is incredibly soft, often likened to silk sheets due to its texture. The technical reason for this is that the bamboo fibres become round and smooth after going through a thorough viscose process, which ensures that the bamboo fibre contains no spurs or prickly bits.

There is also a bio-agent found in bamboo that actually repels fungus and bacteria. This means sheets made of bamboo fibre are incredibly odour resistant and breathable, even after many runs through the wash. Bamboo sheets are the ideal choice for anyone who finds sleeping in the summer months a chore to struggle through while the plant itself has a high moisture absorption rate which is what fuels its fast growing speed. And when made into fabric, that water-absorbing quality is replicated, pulling sweat away from the skin and allowing it to evaporate.

Our Bamboo sheets are a Bamboo Cotton blend but don't be scared off by a blend, the combo of the two means you’re getting the sturdiness and quality associated with cotton, and the hypo-allergenic highly absorbent qualities found in bamboo.

Canningvale Bamboo Plant

Linen bed sheet fabrics

Linen is created from the flax plant, and like bamboo is a renewable resource available to production companies. Flax has many uses including linen textiles, linoleum flooring and flax seed oil to name a few. Linen fabric is also fully biodegradable, another win for the environment. It is a highly absorbent, temperature regulating fabric that becomes softer after every wash. There are in fact some studies that suggest linen bedding can improve sleep, the study from the University of Milan found that you fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake up in a better mood after sleeping on linen bedding.

Similar to bamboo, it's highly absorbent and breathable. Linen is and has been considered a staple of the bedding world even having a closet named after it. (Linen Closet = mind blown). Similar to our Bamboo & Cotton sheets our  Linen sheets are also a blend of Cotton and Linen - we’ve found that while these unique fabrics can stand strongly on their own - we want them to really go the distance which is why we’ve put them with one of the sturdiest textiles around.

Linen Flax Plant - Canningvale

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Poly-blend Bed Sheets

Stop being so dramatic - there are worse things in this world than a Cotton-Polyester blend. Your mother is more than likely to blame for this one, but have you ever wondered why if 100% Cotton is the clear choice poly-blends even exist? Believe it or not, there are disadvantages of using pure cotton fabric. Polyester fabric has had a popularity spike because of its smooth finish and its ability to be easily blended with other fabrics. So when cotton is blended with a certain percentage of polyester, you get the best of both the fibres and the resulting fabric is extremely durable. Cotton fabric has good absorbing qualities however the side effect of this is the fabric wrinkles easily. So unless the cotton is heavier (1000 Thread count or up) it has a rustled lived in look (wrinkles). Also cotton loses colour and shape if washed roughly. A Poly-cotton blend, however, retains colour and shape even after a rough wash.

Canningvale’s unique poly-cotton blended sheet set has the lightweight breath-ability of cotton but is a lot easier to maintain, it also offers a seriously low pill rating which means those little lint balls should not appear on your sheets – or pilling should not occur, something that can happen more readily on pure cotton sheets. Canningvale has manufactured our Cotton/Polyester sheets in such a way that the soft cotton side is the one you sleep on and the smooth polyester side is the one that faces outward giving your bed a gorgeous smooth finish.

Now you know what you should be sleeping on - go shopping!

Percale: A closely woven plain-weave fabric with a thread count of roughly 200 or higher, is noticeably tighter than the standard type of weave used for bedsheets. Medium in weight, firm and smooth with no gloss. May be woven with various fibres, such as cotton, polyester, or various blends.

Sateen: A type of fabric usually made from cotton yarns that are woven in the same way as traditional satin. This means the threads are mostly on one side of the fabric, giving it its smooth look.

Thread Count: Refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square 10cm. The higher the thread count, typically the softer the sheet, and the more likely it will wear well or even soften over time. Good sheets range anywhere from 200 to 800TC, though they can go as high as 1,000 or more.

Momme: describes the weight of 100 yards of silk, 45 inches wide, in pounds. If a fabric is listed with a momme weight of 8mm, 100 yards of the fabric weighs 8 pounds. Silk clothing items will be around 8mm in weight. Higher quality silks tend to be 14, 15 or 16mm or higher.

Low Pill Rating: A small ball of fibres that forms on a piece of cloth. 'Pill' is also a verb for the formation of such balls. Pilling is a surface defect of textiles caused by wear, fabrics with a low pill rating are considered higher quality.

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