A: You can use fabric type to help determine the softness and quality based on a bed sheet cotton or fabric blend. Five different types of fabric are the most prominent. Combed cotton offers a smooth and soft feel because shorter fibers and impurities are eliminated. Egyptian cotton, from fabric grown exclusively along the Nile River in Egypt, is probably the most luxurious fabric. The quality fabric is made of extra-long fibers of extra-strong, extra-absorbent cotton. Flannel offers a warm, cotton blend measured by ounces instead of thread count. Quality flannel is four ounces plus. Percale is a soft, combed fabric with a close weave. It's most often found in a 180-200 thread count of cotton or a cotton/polyester blend. Pima comes from a soft cotton grown in an Arizona town named Pima. It's usually in a 200-300 thread count.
A: Thread count is the amount of thread used (vertically and horizontally) to create one square inch of fabric. “Single ply” sheet sets use one thread for each vertical and horizontal row. "Two-ply" create a heavier weave with the same number of rows by twisting two threads together. Luxury bed sheets are between 500-1,000 in thread count. Sheets between 200-400 thread counts are soft, airy and usually made with sateen or twill weave fabric.
A: There are four basic types of weaves for sheets. Standard follows a one-stitch-over, one-stitch-under pattern. Sateen is a blend of natural fiber and cotton. It feels silky because it's four-stitches-over, one-stitch under. They're very soft but not quite as durable as standard sheets. Pinpoint weaves are two-stitches-over, one-stitch-under. They feel softer than standard but not as soft as sateen. Twill weave sheets have a distinctive diagonal pattern. Their best attribute is they don't wrinkle easily.
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