What Is Cotton Percale? Everything You Need to Know
Cotton percale sheets are among the most popular bedding styles on the market today, but how much do you know about this particular fabric? Percale has a distinctive look and feel, due to the weaving technique used to manufacture these bed linens. These characteristics give it a singular quality and performance that make percale different from other types of bedding, such as sateen. Here’s what you need to know about percale bed sheets to determine if they’re right for you.
What Is Percale?
Percale refers to the type of weave. The yarns, or threads, form a grid-like pattern with a one under, one over weave. The threads are tightly woven together, which results in a crisp finish that’s been compared to the kind you’d find in high-end men’s shirts.
What Is Percale Fabric?
Percale bedding can be made from many different materials. These include rayon, bamboo and polyester, among others. But the most popular percale fiber—and the one that produces the best-quality bedding—is 100% cotton. Not just any cotton will suffice for luxury sheets, however; the finest percale fitted sheets, flat sheets and pillowcases use extra-long cotton fibers that are combed to remove subpar yarns.
What Is a Typical Thread Count for Percale?
Thread count—the number of threads found in a square inch of fabric— is a popular benchmark for a bed linen’s luxury quotient. Due to the nature of the weave and the thickness of the cotton yarns, percale thread count usually ranges from 200 to 400. Now, that may sound low compared to bedding with a thread count of 750 or 1,000. However, there are many other factors to look for when purchasing luxury linens, such as the type of material and quality of the fibers. Percale fabric with extra long, extra fine, 100% combed cotton fibers offers a sumptuous finish that feels wonderful to the touch.
What Are the Main Attributes of Percale?
Percale is the ultimate example of classic, crisp bedding. For instance, compare it to sateen. Sateen has a different weave pattern (typically four over and one under), adding silky smoothness and a slight sheen to the fabric. While percale also feels smooth, it has a matte appearance compared to sateen.
Perhaps the best-known quality of percale is its breathability. Crisp percale sheets are lightweight with an airiness to them—picture how a percale flat sheet wafts gently onto your bed as you’re making it.
The floaty feel of percale is a godsend for people who tend to sleep hot or live in warmer climates. In those cases, heavier sheets trap heat and make it uncomfortable to fall or stay asleep. Percale, on the other hand, keeps its cool throughout the night—you’re more likely to enjoy restful sleep instead of tossing and turning. Percale pillowcases are particularly good at maintaining a cool, comfortable sleep environment.
Top-quality percale is also durable. Fine cotton helps ensure longevity, and the fabric weave decreases pilling that detracts from the appearance and feel of your bedding. These sheets have a just-right rumpled and cozy look and a texture that continues to soften over time with each washing.
Finally, percale bedding is generally more affordable than other types of bed linens (although the price may go up somewhat for percale made with more expensive yarns). With all these factors in its favor, it’s no surprise that cotton percale is a go-to choice for anyone who wants luxury bedding that lasts over time.
What Kinds of Colors and Patterns are Available in Cotton Percale Sheets?
The design possibilities are endless with percale. Countless colors and patterns are available to match any home decor style. And, of course, there’s always the classic all-white sheet set.
Is Percale Right for You?
Percale is a versatile option for bed linens. They’re a sturdy choice for comfortable bedding that withstands wear and tear, and their easy-to-care-for nature makes percale perfect for everyday use. As noted before, percale works especially well during warmer seasons or for hot sleepers. And if you want to recreate the bedding at your favorite five-star resorts, well, they probably use percale, too.
Just be sure to read the label on the bedding before purchasing. Percale not made from extra long, 100% cotton can veer uncomfortably away from crisp to rough, and you won’t get that luxury finish you want.
Find Exceptional Percale Bedding at Elegant Strand
We’re proud to offer impeccably designed and manufactured sheet sets, pillowcases and full bedding collections. You’re sure to find something you’ll love, whether you want percale, sateen or something in between the two with our Euro-Weave fabric. All of our bedding boasts 100% extra long, extra fine combed cotton and the special touches that indicate superior quality, such as hand-guided embroidery, mother-of-pearl closures and other haute couture sewing techniques. Now that you’re a percale expert, you’re ready to go sheet shopping—explore the collections at Elegant Strand today.