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.