What is Percale Cotton? Is it For You?

Shopping for bedding can be an overwhelming experience, filled with aisles of plastic wrapped products that all look the same. Ain’t nobody got time for that - choosing your sheets should really be a straightforward process.

One of the few decisions you really do need to make when shopping for bedding is which type of cotton ‘weave’ you prefer. How the threads in your bedding have been woven can have a dramatic impact on the way your sheets look and feel, and ultimately on how you sleep.

There are two main types of weave to choose from in the bedding world - percale cotton, and sateen cotton – and the difference between them can be dramatic.

So what is percale cotton? Let us explain:

What is Percale?

Put simply, percale refers to the type of weave used to construct this type of cotton sheet. A percale weave uses a traditional criss-cross pattern - one thread over, and one thread under.

How does it feel?

A percale cotton weave produces a matte finish, creating a smooth sheet that feels crisp and cool to the touch. Kind of like your favourite dress shirt. High quality percale sheets – made with fine yarns and extra-long cotton fibres like those used in Bedfolk bedding – will feel extremely luxurious with a thread count of 200 – 400 and will be lovely and breathable. Sheets with higher thread counts will feel slightly denser. More here if you’re finding yourself asking “what is thread count?".

How is it made?

Percale sheets use a traditional criss-cross pattern - one thread over, and one thread under. Technically speaking, it’s one yarn in the warp, and one yarn in the weft. But who likes to speak technically?

At Bedfolk, we produce two types of bedding with this weave: our Classic percale bedding is finished the traditional way, giving it a classic crisp and cool feel. Our Relaxed super soft bedding is finished in the wash, giving it an extra dose of softness and the look of stonewashed linen.

Will it suit me?

If you like the luxurious sheets that you find in boutique hotels (nope, that’s not a trick question) then you’ll love a percale weave. The cool and crisp hand feel and breathability of these sheets also lend themselves to hot sleepers (stripping off is entirely optional).

Percale vs Sateen Sheets - The Difference

So what’s the alternative to percale cotton bedding, we hear you cry? Well, that would be sateen cotton bedding.

What is sateen bedding? Well, sateen bedding, unsurprisingly, is made from a sateen weave. Put simply, this uses a different thread construction to percale bedding - in this case one thread over, and three threads under.

A sateen weave produces extremely luxurious bedding, which has a silky soft hand feel and a subtle sheen which mellows over time. For this reason, sateen sheet sets are often mistaken for silk, despite being 100% cotton. With a slightly heavier drape (a function of those additional threads), they’re also slightly warmer on the skin, lending themselves to colder sleepers. That old hot water bottle that you’ve been sleeping with for the past decade can finally be put away...

There's fundamentally no difference in quality or price when it comes to the percale vs sateen debate. It’s entirely personal preference as to how you like your bedding to look and feel.

Likewise, at Bedfolk we offer sample swatches of our bedding, so that you can feel the difference for yourself before you buy.

Benefits of Choosing Percale Sheets

Generally most people love percale sheets. They’re luxurious, soft, and ridiculously comfortable. There’s really nothing to dislike, which is why so many hotels opt for percale bedding. Sateen sheets on the other hand can be slightly more marmite, thanks to their opulent look and feel. People either tend to love them, and can’t go back, or they’ll find them a little too different to what they’re used to, and revert to a traditional percale weave.

If you’re still struggling to work out which bedding to buy (and we wouldn’t blame you if you were), and weave is not the only thing you’re worried about, you can read this handy blog on how to shop for bed sheets. You can thank us later...

Why Does Bedfolk Have Two Types of Weave?

At Bedfolk, we produce two types of bedding with a percale weave – Classic and Relaxed – finished differently to give slightly different looks and feels. Both are made from the same 100% long staple cotton, giving the same premium quality in terms of breathability and softness.

Our Classic percale bedding is finished the traditional way, with the individual threads being dyed, giving a uniform colour and a smooth hand feel. Like your favourite shirt it’ll look best after an iron. Soft, crisp and airy - this isn’t your average percale weave, it’s refined, smooth and absolutely dreamy.

Our Relaxed super soft bedding is finished in the wash, giving it a more crumpled texture, and a laid-back look. It’s got the aesthetic of linen, whilst retaining the softness and breathability of cotton. And it looks better un-ironed. Perfect for chronic snoozers.

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