What is Sateen Bedding? Talking Cotton Weaves

Shopping for bedding can be an overwhelming experience, filled with aisles of plastic wrapped products that all look the same. But choosing the perfect sheets should really be a simple 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. Who doesn’t want better zzz’s?

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 sateen bedding? Let us explain:

What is Sateen Cotton?

Sateen refers the type of weave used when constructing cotton sateen bedding. A sateen weave uses a ‘one thread under, three threads over’ pattern of construction.

How does it feel?

Often mistaken for silk, sateen cotton feels buttery soft and smooth to the touch, and has a subtle sheen that mellows beautifully after washing. Because of the extra threads used in its construction, it has a slightly heavier drape than a traditional percale cotton bedding, meaning it feels warmer against your skin, and is naturally wrinkle resistant (less time ironing, yay!). 

What is sateen bedding and how does it feel?

How is it made?

Sateen fabric is made in the same way as more traditional percale fabric, using the same cotton yarns and same machinery. The difference is in the weave - a sateen weave is constructed in a ‘one thread under, three threads over’ pattern (as opposed to a percale weave’s ‘one under, one over’ pattern. This type of construction exposes more of the threads surface, creating the unique finish and feel that a sateen fabric exhibits.

At Bedfolk, we use a sateen weave for our Luxe sateen bedding. It’s silky soft & opulent with a subtle sheen that mellow over time. Sounds dreamy, and it is.

How is sateen bedding woven? Cotton threads being woven at Bedfolk mill, Portugal.

Is Sateen Cotton Bedding for me?

The only thing to watch out for with sateen sheets, is that they can be a little like bit marmite. For many, one they’ve slept in them, they can never go back to a traditional percale weave. But for some, they feel a little too silky and different to what they’re used to.

The silky feeling and subtle sheen gives sateen fabric an element of opulence – so, if you like a dose of indulgence in your life, or are naturally a cold sleeper, then a sateen finish is definitely for you.

What is sateen bedding and is it for me? Bedfolk.

Percale or Sateen?

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

What are percale bed sheets? Percale bedding, unsurprisingly, is made from a percale weave – which uses a different thread construction to sateen bedding – in this case one thread over, and one thread under. You’re still following, right?

There’s fundamentally no difference between percale quality and sateen quality – the only difference is in how the two finishes look and feel.

Percale is a more widely used weave that produces a fabric with a matte finish which is cool and crisp to the touch. Like that favourite dress shirt you always wear.

How to Choose the Right Bedding

We spend a third of our lives in bed, so it’s worth investing in the right bed sheets – they can have a huge impact on how we sleep and how comfortable we are before bed and after waking up. But buying bedding can be a complicated experience – you’ll need to navigate thread counts, long- and short-staple cotton, weaves and finishes, before even thinking about where your bedding is made.

What is thread count? Put simply, it’s the number of threads in a square inch of cotton fabric. Over time, as retailers looked to differentiate between lots of bedding that all looked the same, thread count became a useful marketing tool – with higher thread counts becoming synonymous with higher quality. But much like cooking a nice meal, it’s the quality, not the quantity, of ingredients that really matters.

So if thread count isn’t the main marker of quality, what should you look our for when buying bedding? Check out our handy blog on How to shop for bedding, for the ultimate guide. You can thank us later…

You can also order sample swatches of our bedding, so that you can feel the difference between our three different cotton styles for yourself.

How to choose the right bedding. Bedfolk.

How are our Sateen Sheets Different?

As with all our sheets, we spent more than a year in product development - trialling different weights, grades, and finishes of cotton bedding – before settling on the perfect recipe.

 The result is our luxury sateen bedding. It’s breathable, light and soft with none of the heaviness of a typical sateen fabric (because we use high quality cotton, in a single ply weave). It’s lightweight but cosy at the same time.

These sheets look and feel high-end, but are conveniently low-maintenance (easy to care for and naturally wrinkle resistant).

SHOP SATEEN BEDDING