What is Jersey cotton and why is it used in bedlinen?
Fitted sheets made from a stretchable fabric like knitted cotton has many benefits and are especially good when used with an electric bed or memory foam mattress.
The material can move and stretch when you operate the mattress or when the mattress moulds itself to the body as happens when you lie on your memory foam bed.
The fabric is light weight and very soft and is a very good alternative to regular cotton sheets which are woven. The stretch cotton was first used in clothing like tee shirts where you need the material to be flexible and regain its shape once pulled over your head, regular cotton would not give in this way and would not be as comfortable.
You get good idea of how Jersey Cotton is good for bedding just look at your socks, how they stretch over your feet and go back to their original shape when you take them off no matter how times you do it.
Jersey cotton sheets are normally made to a high standard and can be measured in grams per square meter or GSM.
Generally 140GSM is a good quality and the better and softer sheets are made from 160GSM. Good quality Jersey cotton is manufactured using a special machine that employs a series of needles that produce interlocking loops of thread.
The stitches are small, even and very consistent producing a jersey cotton that has a flat, smooth face with a slightly texture feel.
A very light and comfortable material that stretches easily and regains its original shape, most cotton comes in a variety of colours and made from pure 100% Cotton.
The other advantage of Jersey cotton fitted sheets are that they are fully elasticated all the way round which are preferred to standard sheets as they will grip the mattress all the way round which is ideal for electric beds.
When the mattress is raised standard sheets will just hang down loosely and look a mess whereas the jersey cotton sheets will be snug and close fitting all the way round.
The lush Nile Delta river in the upper reaches of Egypt create a micro climate which is only found in a few places in the world.
Ideal conditions for growing the long staple fibres needed to produce high quality Egyptian cotton sheets and bedding.
We are often asked what is the staple length of cotton, well Egyptian cotton is approximately 12 to 15 centimetres in length where as common cotton fibres are around 8 to 12 centimetres in length.
Although this may not seem very much that extra length allows cotton weavers to produce a longer, finer and more robust fibre which can then be spun into very fine yarns which are ideal for producing very high thread count luxury bed linen.
Why Egyptian cotton for duvet covers?
Quality Egyptian cotton is preferred for making duvet covers as the material is highly absorbent and wicks away moisture from the body whilst sleeping which reduces the sleeping temperature and enables us to sleep more comfortably.
Egyptian sourced cotton is much better at this due to the lush growing conditions making the bud of the plant it is picked from nearly double the size of ordinary cotton buds.
Cotton is now many peoples choice rather than other bedding materials such as polyester as the overall feel of cotton is cool, crisp and luxurious where as polyester is now deemed to be used mainly as a budget purchase.
Mercerisation and Sanforisation are modern techniques that help preserve and protect the cotton yarns, mercerising is a process which reduces separation and pilling of the finished fabric and sanforisation shrinks the cotton fabric prior to being dyed.
This process helps with the care of cotton, better washing, less shrinkage, easier to iron. Although the easy care properties are still not as good polycotton sheets they are still superior to ordinary cotton bedding.
Eqyptian cotton quality types
Most Egyptian cotton duvet covers are woven to a minimum 200 count or into a Percale quality, this is bed linen or cotton sheets that have a minimum thread count pick of 200 threads per square inch. This is an industry standard weave and ensures that the customer receives luxury hotel quality cotton sheets.
More and more customers are now being switched on to the benefits of the higher thread count qualities so, Egyptian cotton bedding producers have reacted to this new high demand for premium quality bed linen and they now produce fabrics that are spun to thread counts greater than 1200 per square inch.
In order to achieve that super fine, resilient and strong fabric only the very best cotton can be used and the length of the staple fibre has to match the quality of the Egyptian cotton.
More and more manufacturers are now using two ply technology to achieve this as the twisting of the yarns still give the same feel and texture of the linen but also adds the extra strength of two yarns instead of one.
This will give the bedding much more strength during washing and tumble drying.
With a full offering of fitted sheets, flat sheets, duvet covers and pillows in 7 pastel shades.
We also cater for the extra deep 15 inch and 18 inch box depth fitted sheets for those super thick mattresses or if you want to just add a topper.
Twisted technology and two ply yarns
Many Egyptian Cotton Duvet Covers are now woven using twisted technology or two ply yarns as it is more commonly known, twisting the yarns creates a much stronger and resilient fabric.
The technique has evolved over many years, adding the right amount of twisting results in a well balanced bedding fabric that will last much longer than other fabrics.
If you take two fine strands and twist them together they will create one single yarn that is not ideal for weaving, two ply yarns twisted in the opposite direction to one another makes them superior in strength and quality.
The majority of Egyptian cotton duvet covers and bedding bought in the UK and America have two ply yarns, anything over 400 thread count will almost certainly have incorporated this technology as they make the bedding impervious to twisting and snapping during hard use.
Egyptian cotton duvet covers are removable quilt covers that are designed to keep the duvet inside clean and dry, this was intended to prolong its life so less washing and airing was required.
The duvet cover could then be easily removed and washed within the day and replaced before bedtime therefore keeping the duvet inside and protected from the elements.
Modern duvet covers are now made from such fantastic fabrics, the most luxurious using high thread count cottons such as the Egyptian cotton and Pima cotton brands.
A wider range of duvet covers are printed and dyed to give a vast array of colour choices, pictures and designs to choose from, there is a duvet to suit all tastes and budgets.
It is important when choosing your new duvet cover to answer a few questions:
1: Who is the duvet cover for?
If it is for children, then you need to consider how the material will react to spills and accidents, is it machine washable? Will it shrink? Etc.
Good cost effective children’s quilt covers are made from polycotton as this is hardwearing and easy to care for and is also excellent for printing scenes from cartoon’s for example, which kids love!
2: How much do you want to spend?
If money is no object then we recommend a high thread count cotton duvet cover as they are undoubtedly the best in quality, being super cool and crisp. Hotel quality sheets offer the best in terms of durability and length of use so sometimes spending a little more is cost effective in the long run.
Unfortunately buying cheaper does not always work out best as the fabrics are made to a cost and sometimes are not the most refined and do not offer any long term comfort as some of the treatments that are applied onto the fabrics wash away after several goes in the washing machine and then render them useless.
3: Plain or Fashion duvet covers?
If it is the plain look you are after, more duvet covers are made from cotton as this offers that dull fabric look as any accessories stand out much more on the bed, such as bed runners, pillows and cushions, etc.
If it is a fashion statement you want, more covers are made from polycotton blends as they are much more robust than cotton and will dye better and also are much stronger and resilient when beads or sequins are attached to them.
4: Comfort and Coolness?
Cotton is best in terms of keeping you cool at night, quality cotton fibres absorb moisture from the body up to 5 times more effectively than other fabrics.
This wicking effect helps the body maintain that all important temperature control, not too hot and not too cold. Comfort is mainly due to cottons very soft fibre ends which are natural and not abrasive like some cheaper polyester duvet covers.
5: Duvet cover wash care?
How do you wash and dry your duvet, machine wash then tumble dry? If you have polycotton blend duvets, machine washing and tumble drying will present very little in terms of ironing problems.
Cotton however is very sensitive to heat which causes the fabric to crease when dry and heated too much. For best results tumble dry on a very LOW heat and remove whilst slightly damp, put them on the bed and within minutes they will be dry and crease free.
The term bedding is a generalised word covering the whole spectrum of products relating to the bed or more precisely, the linen cupboard.
When we think of bedding we normally think of either fitted sheets, flat sheets and duvet covers but this also can refer to other bedding items such as valances, bedspreads, duvets, pillows and pillowcases to name but a few…..the list is endless.
Other important factors associated with bedding is the type and quality of the fabric used to create the product, natural fibres such as cotton and silk are more well known and used but other man-made speciality linens such as polyester and Coolmax offer good levels of comfort and softness but will outlast other materials such as microfiber.
The most popular luxury bedding fabric has to be cotton or high derivatives such as Egyptian cotton and Pima cotton, these exceptionally strong and robust fibres can be woven to extremely high thread counts making them a premium product and only used for the very best premium branded bedding.
Thread count is very important when selecting a good range of bedding, this refers to the warp and weft of the fabric criss-crossing each other in a one inch square grid, this construction is then counted and the amount of time the fabric overlaps each other is deemed to be its thread count.
Some bedding manufacturers twist the yarns to produce ‘two ply’ yarns which can then be counted as twice the amount of thread count, in effect doubling it.
This is very popular with the very high thread counts which are over a 600 thread count plus, this method not only strengthens the fabric but stops the delicate yarns from twisting and snapping thereby reducing the effects of shrinkage and pilling which destroys the overall look of the finished bedding fabric.
Other terminology that is widely understood when used in the making of bedding is the term ‘Percale’.
This is often thought to be a type of construction or weave when is it really referring to a minimum thread count of 180 threads per square inch, any fabrics with a construction more than this will be deemed to be a percale fabric, this is the same for cotton and poly-cotton bedding materials.
Sateen is another term that refers to the way that the fabric is woven and constructed.
Most cotton bedding is woven to higher thread counts than the minimum percale weave resulting in a sateen finish, this is a shiny effect that makes the bedding look rich and lustrous and shimmery in different light conditions. This sateen effect will be present in most fabrics that have a thread count of 300 and above.
Modern bed linen trends move at a very fast pace, colours and fabrics account for the majority of the changes but more and more duvet covers now have adornments such as taffetta, sequins, pin tuck hem and many, many more.
Complete bed linen sets
A complete bed linen set may consist of
a fitted bottom sheet,
a flat top sheet,
pillowcases either plain hem or the modern oxford style,
duvet or quilt cover which has mainly dispensed of the traditional blanket.
The main reason for the disappearance of the humble blanket was mainly due to weight and hygiene reasons.
In the past bedlinen items such as a duvet cover were mainly a thing for the wealthy, the Egyptians used to adorn their cotton sheets with valuable items such as gold and silver paints.
Today this same type of adornments is achieved at a much more cost effective price using modern dyeing techniques and printing duvets with high gloss and resolution colours and graphics enhances the overall look in the bedroom.
With the bed now becoming the main focal point in the bedroom, matching the bedding with the walls and the curtains is now reversed with more and more pastel paints being applied to walls, the bedding has had to add that extra splash of colour.
Bed linen and colours
This is clearly the cheaper and much quicker option than repainting the walls every time you need a change, what could be easier than just going out to buy a new duvet cover or bed throws.
As more and more emphasis is made to fashion the bedroom has had to come to terms with changing trends, recent trends were often just plain white and ivory duvet covers with a brightly covered bed sash or blanket at the bottom.
This was first introduced in top class hotels with patrons wanting to emulate this feature in their own homes.
Although the pastel duvet cover still accounts for nearly 75% of all the colours sold, more and more brightly coloured sheets like cerise pink and fuchsia greens are now being purchased.
The hotel market has educated their customers to the real benefits of the cool crisp sleeping qualities of the finer bed linens.
More and higher quality bed linen of 400 thread count and over is now being sold. One of our best selling premium ranges is the Sheridan 1200 Count Millennia Stripe Bedlinen range, this is a technological marvel in terms of being a very high thread count cotton percale that is wonderful to sleep under, soft super cool and crisp-what more could you ask for!
Hotel quality sheets start at the entry level 200 count ranging up to the more luxurious 1000 count sheets, they are normally plain in style but more and more are now stocking duvet covers that have a self stripe in them, this is a great way of making a white or ivory colour much more attractive to the eye and makes the surface look much more rich in texture.
Bedlinen is a term referred to the complete collection of fitted sheets, flat sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers, they are then made to several sizes.
In the UK the standard bedlinen sizes are Single, Double, King and Super king, the lesser known options are the 4FT fitted sheets and the latest large Emperor sheet sizes.
Most fabrics used in the bedding industry are made woven using a ‘THREAD COUNT’ usually the higher this number refers to, the better quality the fabric is. This term refers to the numbers of threads both vertical and horizontal in a one square inch of fabric in both cotton and polycotton.
Percale sheets are perceived to be of a much higher quality than standard fabrics as the term ‘PERCALE’ refers to an industry minimum of 180 threads per square inch.
Advances in technology now allow for much finer yarns allowing manufacturers to produce percale fabrics with thread counts in excess of 1200.
All of the very best quality polycotton and Egyptian Cotton Bedlinen are both Mercerised and Sanforised to ensure that the linen is of sound durability and will last for many years without shrinking, creasing and more importantly pilling.
The growing importance of thread count
Thread Count is now becoming more and more important when making that all important decision to purchase a new set of bedlinen.
Standard ranges in polycotton sheets start at the entry level weave of 150 threads per square inch going up to a 200 count percale weave, most polyester and cotton mixes will not go above this level of thread count as polyester is not deemed to be a luxury linen and is mainly purchased for its non iron and easy care properties.
This is ideal for children’s beds as the fabric is hard wearing and very easy to wash and also ideal for the elderly and infirm who cannot spend the time ironing
large pieces of cloth. More cottons are woven to a minimum 200 threads per square inch while luxury brands of cotton like Egyptian Cotton and Pima Cotton which benefit from long staple fibres are used to weave the more complex 400, 600 and 1000 count fabrics.
Like all good bedding ranges colour is very important, most deep dyed options like black, brown and grey etc have been reserved mainly for polyester fabrics as cotton is very hard to dye and due to the cost was mainly only dyed pastel shades such as white and ivory.
Polyester being excellent at colouring made deep dyeing blended fabrics much more cost effective, now more and more deep dyes are being found in luxury cotton sheets as the demand for fashion as found its way into the bedroom.
Buying bed linen online
Bed linen is what we do! That’s why we’re called bedlinendirect.co.uk but we also offer a full advisory service so if you are not sure which of the many choices might be right for you do not hesitate to call or email us.