Remember a while back when I did a post about trying to find good sheets? It was like two years ago, so I guess that means only my sister was reading my blog then. But anyway, I had this fantastic sheet set, which I loved. It was smooth and crisp, cool and soft. And, surprisingly, it was only 180 thread-count. Eventually, though, the pillow cases ripped. Then the bottom sheet ripped. And I went in search of new sheets. But try as I might, I could not find sheets that were as smooth and cool as those 180 thread count Target sheets. I kept buying higher thread counts--200, 300, 400, 600. But they all seemed rough and scratchy against my face. I tried Pima, Egyptian, sateen, damask....nothing seemed to make a difference. Some seemed softER but not soft, not silky smooth.
And no one seemed to be able to tell me how to get those truly smooth, soft sheets like the ones you'd find on your grandma's guest bed.
UNTIL YESTERDAY. Fed up on fighting over the one good pillowcase we have that meets our strict smoothness specifications, Big Daddy and I decided to do some research online. Or, rather, he fell asleep on the good pillowcase while I did the research online. And I think I finally found the answer!
100% cotton percale. It's all about the weave. Not the thread count, not the type of cotton, and not the treatment of the cloth (although all of these do contribute to some extent). Mostly it's about the weave. Percale is weaving one thread over one, then under one. Sateen is weaving one thread over four threads then under one. Sateen sheets are by far the most common now. They have a lusterousness (according to the experts) and feel soft to the touch, but they have a warmness to them. If you want crisp, cool, smooth sheets, you want percale. And if you get a higher thread count percale, it will be more durable (unlike the 180 ones I had that only lasted a few years). And if you can get them with a "clean finish" or "pure finish" it means they haven't been treated with chemicals to make the wrinkle-resistant or color-fade resistant. It also means they will feel smoother sooner.
Some people like really soft sheets. But "soft" is a subjective word. New flannel is soft. Jersey is soft (think your brand new Hollister t-shirt). But neither of those are smooth or cool. They have a warmth to them. What I want is crisp and cool. Percale.
So after spending hours online trying to find percale sheets (which are surprisingly hard to find!), I finally found a couple of stores that carry them. Then I had to try to find them in a color that remotely matched my bedding (which I would classify as butter yellow/pale gold). No luck. Ivory was as close as I could come. And considering how many different shades of tan, beige, gold, mustard, yellow, and cream I've already bought in my quest for the perfect pillowcase, I am going to take a risk. I'm going to order these sheets and see if they meet my high expectations.
And, please, if you believein God at all, PRAY FOR THESE SHEETS!
Special thanks to EllenWarren for her article "Are Cool, Crisp Sheets Only a Dream?" It saved my sanity.