The Sheet Quandry

The Sheet Quandry

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The Sheet Quandry

by Catherine Daley

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about bedding.

In his recent book Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World, Admiral William McRaven says that if you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. He goes on to say, that making your bed reinforces that the little things in life matter.


Thread count refers to the number of woven (horizontal and vertical) threads per square inch. A higher thread count correlates with longer wear, as well as increasing softness. Between 200 and 800 is common, but you might find sheets with 1,000 threads per inch.

Egyptian cotton refers to the country of origin, but it does not necessarily mean quality. Often described as the best cotton in the world due to its extra-long staple, which produces a soft, supple weave. Check the labelling to ensure that it says 100 per cent Egyptian cotton, as some manufacturers advertise their sheets as such, but they may only contain a few per cent.

Supima cotton is grown exclusively in the western and southwestern parts of the United States, and is known for its quality, strength and softness. Only three per cent of the cotton grown each year is worthy of the Supima name. Supima cotton is both lustrous to the eye and luxurious to the touch.

Percale refers to a plain weave fabric made from both carded, and combed, yarns, which can include cotton, polyester or other blends, and gets high marks for durability and coolness.”

If you’re a hot potato in the sack (temperature wise), linen, silk and bamboo are cool choices. On the cosier end, flannel sheets are known for their softness. A blend of wool, cotton or synthetic fibres may be used, and the nap of the fabric is often brushed to create the fluffy surface.

Tencel is a branded fabric made from lyocell, which is a form of rayon consisting of cellulose fibres dissolved from bleached wood pulp. While still botanic in origin, Tencel sheets are silky, breathable and less prone to wrinkling.

Polyester and microfibre are typically made from synthetic fibres, and are on the lower end of the sheet spectrum. While less expensive, these sheets don’t breathe well, tend to hold the heat and may pill after multiple washings.


Duvets are generally filled with feathers or down, which generate different warming, and cooling, properties. If you have allergies, natural silk is a good alternative, as well as synthetic fillings. It’s desirable to have interchangeable covers for different seasons, and for different reasons. But, ultimately, it comes down to personal preference when dealing with layered add-ons. Blankets, quilts, coverlets, or a matelassé (a weaving technique that yields a quilted or padded-like pattern) cover – all provide varying benefits as it relates to comfort and decorative ornateness.

You’ve made your bed – now lie in it!

Catherine Daley is Editor of Active Life magazine, HOMES Publishing Group.


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