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Friday, November 16, 2012

Sheet Dreams ....

While at a friend's home this past week-end, the topic of sleep (or better said - lack of) became quite an interesting discussion among the ladies present. Discussing bargain sheets to investment sheets! Caring for bedding ...then someone (may or may not have been me) mentioned how much they miss getting into a bed with properly ironed sheets ~ yes, a few eyebrows were raised. 
 We spend about one third of our life in bed, so why not make it a little luxurious!

Once reserved for the very wealthy, access to luxurious bedding has come a long way. Still many reach for the cheaply made bargain sheets, which only provide a false sense of saving, given the itchy, uncomfortable sleep environment created by pilling and the need to be replaced often. Over the years I have learned slipping into a soft, welcoming set of sheets is a relatively inexpensive luxury.

For it's year round comfort and easy care, cotton remains the go-to fiber for sheet sets. Cotton is sometimes blended with silk, poplin, sateen and percale to control texture, stretch and durability.

Egyptian cotton (my favourite) is truly a piece of heaven, in my opinion. The length of the cotton fiber produced in Egypt is what sets it above other cottons. The longer the fibers, the more durable and smooth the cotton becomes when it's twisted into thread and woven. Producing durable, luxuriously soft sheets which can start to look and feel just silk when you get into the 800 and up thread counts. 

Linen fabric is definitely the crown jewel when it comes to luxurious sheets. Raw material for linen sheets is derived from the flax plant, making it harder to spin into threads, thus linen sheets are typically more expensive than cotton ones. Linen's a true luxury fibre, requiring extra care to make sure it looks its best. However, if properly cared for, linen sheets will last for decades, unlike any other fabric. Old World French and Irish linen sheets are a much sought after treasure today.

A side from fiber choice, thread count is also something that needs to be considered when choosing a sheet set. In theory the higher the thread count (the quantity of threads woven into a square inch of the sheet's fabric) the softer the sheet. But what about the ply? A single-ply fabric is woven from one yarn and a two-ply fabric twists two sections of yarn together, then weaves them. Since some manufacturers consider two-ply as two separate threads, the thread count is allowed to be doubled. Therefore a one-ply 1000 thread count and a 600 thread two-ply fabric are very different. The package for the 600 count two-ply fabric is allowed to be advertised as 1200 thread count.

When it comes to thread count, numbers can sometimes be misleading, as you can see from the above.

Cotton is a great year round sheet choice, especially for the colder winter months, while linen is better suited for warm weather months. In my experience when you start getting over the 600 thread count it may uncomfortably trap body heat. I try to stay with a minimum of 300 - 600 thread count, lower count for warm weather and higher count for colder months.

Caring for your investment:

Like anything in life, the longevity of an item is not only dependent on its quality, but also the care it is given after purchase.

~ Launder bed linens weekly, wash them seperate from other laundry
~ Use gentle detergent (a baby or delicate item product)
~ Spot-treat any stains and use a gentle oxygen bleach (if required)
~ Wash in warm water and rinse in cold (I actually wash and rinse in cold)
~ Dry on a low heat and remove sheets just before they are completely dry
~ Iron - yes this can be optional (except if you have linen sheets) But, trust me on this ~ there is nothing better than getting into a bed with freshly laundered and pressed sheets. 

In the days when I could do all things for myself ~ ironing my bed sheets was one of those little things, I did for myself* with a little sprinkle of lavender ironing water on the pillow cases. If you iron your sheets, you know exactly the feeling I mean. If you don't,-  give it a go, you will be impressed how much better your sheets feel.

I can't be the only would who feels Egyptian cotton sheets are worth the investment: dreams of owning a set of linen sheets and thinks sheets should be ironed - Can I? 

~ please share you thoughts for selecting and caring for bed linens...

* Mr. G, bless his heart is getting better at ironing the sheets

Sharing this post with:
Rose Chintz Cottage for Home Wednesday ;My Simple Country Life for The Country Homemaker Hop ;Katherine of Katherine’s Corner for Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop; Kathy of A Delightsome Life for Home and Garden Thursday;Sheri at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home; Courtney of French Country Cottage for Feather Your Nest Friday;Alison of Stuff and Nonsense for Fridays UnfoldAt the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday; Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday. ~  What Inspires Me Friday


  1. Excellent post! I am a huge fan of fine sheets and an even bigger fan of Egyptian cotton lovelies!
    And I can attest to there being nothing nicer than slipping into properly ironed sheets. I actually find ironing very therapeutic (I know, I have been told I need therapy for that!-LOL!). Slowing ironing a sheet and watching the tiny wrinkles disappear into a smooth surface seems to be some kind of release. A little cuckoo yes, but it works for me!

  2. What a very informative post. I learned some new things about thread count. Thank you so much!

  3. Amazing post! I have to carefully select our sheets for durability lower heat and budget friendly. It's not always easy, but always worth it!

  4. I really learned from this post. All those counts confuse me. Thanks Celia....

  5. Dearest Celia,
    Already for decades I have used pure cotton bedding. That in combination with goose down comforters does make a difference in sleep comfort. When living in The Netherlands I had French bed linens from 3 Suisses and now we have French bed linens from Yves Delorme and mostly from Egyptian cotton. For a long time people did follow the 'hype' of high thread count without knowing that this could be very deceiving as you already pointed out with the 2- 3- and 4-ply threads. Again, a label stating Egyptian cotton might be misleading again. Look for those that read: 100% Egyptian cotton. Yves Delorme does have Outlets where you can by your 100% combed Egyptian cotton bed linens. The bonus of those high quality bed linens is not only a better night's rest but easy ironing. When I launder my duvet covers and fitted sheets with pillow cases, I set my Miele dryer on 'Hand Iron' and remove it prompt. I iron it in no time and spraying it with some Edith Mezard Eau de Linge Fleurs d'Oranger. My supply is getting low though... and they don't sell it anymore. Too bed as it really was heaven for getting into such a frangrant bed. The Outlet stores from Yves Delorme you find here: http://outlet.yvesdelorme.com/ for on line purchase as well as info below for visiting an Outlet Store.
    Hugs to you,

  6. Totally agree with you Celia. Not only must my sheets be Egyptian, but I only ever buy white sheets. I hate colored sheets and bedding. Is it just me?
    TYSM for you lovely comments over at mine xx

  7. I'm so fussy with sheets and I agree - worth the expense of Egyptian cotton.


  8. I have never had a high count sheets. I would love to have linen sheets, and when my old Ralph Lauren sheets wear out that is what I am getting. I purchased several sets when I got my new King size bed and need to like I said wear them out before I purchase more

  9. Hi Celia
    Yes, nothing like a fresh made bed with quality sheets. I probably don't buy the best there is but they work for me. I always iron the pillowcases that are 100% cotton but the sheets, ahem, have some wrinkles.
    My ironing board was a wedding shower gift and I'd like to purchase one of the wider ones because I do iron all my tablecloths. :-)

  10. I bought 1500 t/c sheets and wow, they were super heavy but silky soft. Can't see them in summer - very canvas-like heavy. Won't do again. I agree that life is too short to sleep on cheap rough sheets. I used to have to iron sheets as a girl so now I have to start again because your post has sold me! I learned so much - thanks!!

  11. this is a wonderfully informative post that made me
    miss my beloved father in law. he LOVED linen
    sheets. :)

  12. There is nothing better than luxury, ironed sheets! I still try to find to iron them, however there is a laundry near me that still will take care of that for me. Did I mention I have a love affair with my bed? Great post. I didn't know that about being able to double the ply....sneaky, sneaky!

  13. I am ready for a new set of sheets and your information on luxury sheets is wonderful Celia.

    A Special Scalamandre Giveaway

  14. Hi Celia,
    Nothing like clean sheets on the bed after a long day. I have thought about ironing them but I never have. I do well to iron my hubby's uniform. ;) I do like good quality but I have never bought Egyption cotton. Thank you for your very informative post and have a lovely week, my friend.


  15. This is such an informative post I really appreciate the information you wrote here. I should actually go to sleep myself now ;)

  16. What an amazing post Celia!
    No, you are not the only one...my mother ALWAYS did and still does iron sheets. I tried in the beginning but it quickly became too much with so many beds to change. I still try to iron the pillow cases just because I like the way it feels and looks.

  17. Hi Celia,

    I'm with you 100% on everything here.. including the ironing your sheets part ~ if I had time I'd do it routinely. The lavender is wonderful on sheets and Egyptian cotton is always my preference!

  18. Celia,
    Hi! Only high thread count sheets give the best feel to the sheets. I have never ironed my sheets but have ironed the pillow cases. Great post!
    Pat @ Pat's Pink Apron

  19. well written and great info too. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop xo

  20. I wish I had the time to iron. I like it too. Thanks for the info. I didn't know all that. Thanks also for linking to what inspires me Friday. Have a super week end!!!

  21. I do love good sheets. I usually buy Pottery Barn's, Williams Sonoma or Ralph Lauren. I do have a very expensive set from Italy, but don't care a lot for them even though they are beautiful. Lots of great info given. I do iron sheets for guests.

  22. Sweet Cecelia,

    I just recently GOT IT.....Meaning, that I just finally understood the reason why fine hotel sheets feel so much better than my own, and it all has to do with what you re discussing here! 100% cotton is for me from now on! AND WHITE...pure white, for it is the most calming color for me!

    HOW ARE YOU? I am so happy to see your visit yesterday! Much love and happiness to you as you celebrate Thanksgiving this year! Anita

  23. Dear Celia...
    Fabulous post ... My fondest memories were jumping into my Grandmothers handmade feather down comforter and clean ironed sheets and pillow cases...I remember the smell...

    Since a good nights sleep only needs one set of sheets and pillow cases ... Granny's advice was to sleep in luxury whatever the cost... and all good little girls listen ( Ha Ha)

    Counting threads and enjoying the richness of Egyptian linen and fine cottons has become a way of life . I personally touch and feel every piece of bedding that I buy ... and I try to wait for the sales.

    You can also buy fine cotton and linen materials and make your own pillow cases, then embroider them ... which is again something my Grandmother taught.

    My husband is an outdoorsman who loves to get a deal... but even he's counting threads when it comes to his sleeping attire....fussy fussy.

    Grand post Celia... You got me thinking about the one and two ply thread count...
    INTERESTING !!!!..ENJOY your Day , Sweet Lady....HUGS

  24. My mom would let me sleep in a linen that is not ironed so I cant imagine myself sleeping in one.

  25. I love you Luxury bed linen clothes. Thanks for sharing it.


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