There are several important questions you need to ask yourself when there comes the time to purchase quality bed linens. If you find exactly the right product, you will improve the quality of your sleep to an extent that you may not realise at first glance. And, if you improve the quality of your sleep, you will be sure to improve your life quality right alongside it. So here is how to pick between a sateen and a percale.
Does thread count matter?
The answer is yes, but maybe not in the way you think.
What is a thread count, exactly? Well, thread count, or TPI (threads per inch) is essentially a measure of the coarseness or fineness of a fabric. It measures how many threads you can find in one square inch (or 2.54 cm2). This will include both the vertical (warp) and horizontal (weft) weaves of the fabric.
A higher thread count can indeed mean that you are getting a softer, better quality sheet. It means there are more threads of yarn per square inch, and, as such, a tighter weave.
Let's look at some examples. If a certain product is advertised as having a 200TC, that means it has 100 vertical and 100 horizontal single ply threads per square inch. If it has a 400TC, that would indicate 200 vertical and 200 horizontal, and so forth. Of course, the thread itself also plays a role in this.
The thread itself is also very important
How fine are the yarns themselves? And how many are twisted together? Every thread in any fabric has a ply, which is in reference to the number of threads twisted together. Single-ply means every thread has a single strand of yarn, two-ply means two are twisted together and so forth. Thread count will reflect this, so a product with an 800TC can have 200 vertical two-ply threads and 200 horizontal two-ply threads, which will amount to a total of 800.
Two-ply and single-ply can present the same thread count but have a totally different weight. They will feel different as well.
So, what separates sateen and percale?
Their structure! Percale presents a traditional one-yarn-over and one-yard-under weave. Sateen, on the other hand, will have a one-yarn-under and four-yarn-over weave. They don't necessarily have different thread counts, just a different way of organizing the threads.
Percale is soft and durable, lightweight and perfect for summer months. The regular weave also means it will feel better every time you wash it.
Sateen on the other hand, with much more thread exposure due to the four-over, is warmer and buttery-soft. It is luminous and silky. It is also heavier in weight than percale.
Which one is better?
Both are wonderful. They just serve different purposes. It's up to you to figure out which one better suit your needs or, even better, get both!