Am I the only one who gets cross-eyed in the bedding isle trying to sift through all the buying options when it comes to sheets?
Egyptian cotton, luxury sateen, pima, hotel quality, five million thread count... OK so that last one is stretching it a bit, but just a tiny bit. Does higher thread count really mean better sheets? Is Egyptian better than organic when it comes to cotton. Do I want Estate or Hotel Quality? I guess it depends on the hotel, eh?
Years ago, I remember my granny telling me not to buy less than 200 thread count. I have always kept that in mind in my quest for the sheets of my childhood. Anyone else long for the sheets of your childhood? For years it was like the holy grail for me and I always fell short.
Until one day, my friend Kelli shared one word with me that her mom had passed along to her. Folks, this one word was life changing. My nights have been better because of it and I'm going to let you in on the secret. Dramatic much? Well sort of, but seriously, this bit of info was the missing link. I now have all the knowledge I need to confidently purchase sheets. Sheets that will not pill. Sheets that feel smooth yet crisp against my skin. Not crunchy or rough, but crisp. And the good news is, this is one of those occasions that more expensive doesn't mean better.
What's the word? Percale. Remember hearing that word? It refers not to the number of threads but the way in which the threads are woven. In this case, very tightly. For every horizontal thread, there is a vertical thread. Sateen weave is much looser and results in a soft feel with a sheen, but in my experience those sheets pill terribly. It took me a while to learn this. Thread count still matters, but not nearly as much as the weave. No matter how high the thread count, if it is loosely woven, it will still pill and not be as durable.
I'm sure, like most things, this is a matter of personal preference. Some people won't love the feel of these sheets as much as me. Maybe it's just because, like I said earlier, they feel like the sheets of my childhood. If I were to sing my own version of these are a few of my favorite things, crisp, cool sheets that have been line dried would make the list. If you like the softness of flannel sheets, a percale weave probably isn't for you. If you are prone to hot flashes and like something cool against your skin, percale is definitely for you. They get softer the more they are washed but never, ever pill.
I have had no luck stumbling upon a great deal on some percale sheets at TJ Maxx or Target (I'm sure they have them at times, I just haven't come across them) but they are easy to find online. I've purchased several sets from Overstock and been thrilled with the quality every time. I just googled percale sheets and there were plenty of options at several price points. I always read the reviews when shopping for something I would normally prefer to see and touch before buying.
Here is an article that describes some of the other terms you will come across when shopping for sheets.
I hope this has helped to clear a little confusion if sheet buying leaves you crossed-eyed and confused, like I once was.
Go forth and confidently buy sheets.