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What Should I Consider When Buying Bed Linens?

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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Everyone needs bed linens, but often, people don't know much about how to purchase them. What is "TC" anyway, and why does it matter? What is the difference between a flat and a fitted sheet? What are "deep pockets?" Here are some answers about bed linens and buying them.

A typical sheet set, first of all, comes with a flat sheet, a fitted sheet and two standard pillowcases. The fitted sheet is elasticized all the way around the hem, with darts taken in at the corners to ensure a smooth fit over the mattress. The term "deep pockets" refers to fitted sheets that have more material to fit over the corners of the mattress. Mattresses are thicker than they used to be, and with the addition of features like the pillowtop, the fitted sheet needs to accommodate the corners without riding up.

A flat sheet is just that: a sheet that is hemmed all around and meant to be tucked in at the foot of the bed, over the fitted sheet. "Standard" pillowcases will fit over most pillows.

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When buying bed linens, the shopper needs to consider size. Most people have queen or king-size beds, and the shopper should look carefully on the package for the size of the bed linens. King-size sheet sets may also have king-size pillowcases. These fit pillows that are longer than standard pillows. Most bed linens will also have the measurements of the beds they fit on the package, so a buyer can come armed with the length and width measurements of his or her bed and should be able to find appropriate bed linens.

Thread count is another aspect to consider when buying bed linens. Thread count refers to the quality of the sheet material. The thread count of a sheet is the number of warp and woof threads in one square inch of the fabric.

The lower the thread count, the thinner and lower-quality the material. Most people will want to look for a thread count of at least 250. Some bargain shopping Web sites also have sheets with much higher thread counts at great discounts, and these are great places to look for quality bed linens.

An average, 200-thread-count sheet set will run about US$25-$30, and the price goes up rapidly as the thread count increases. Higher thread count sheets are softer, thicker and more durable. They will last much longer and will "sleep" better, so a shopper should buy the best bed linens he or she can afford.

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ktjo
Post 4

Try a high thread count: single ply, cotton sateen. Anywhere from 600 up. This will give you a tightly woven cotton sheet with the feel of silk and the 'airiness' you're husband needs

My husband has had the same complaint about sheets in the past, but is very comfortable (finally!) with the choice noted above. I hope it works well for yours, too.

You don't say what sort of comforter/bedspread you're using on top of the sheets - that could have a definite impact in the comfort department.

And, although much is advertised about the virtues of Egyptian cotton - don't be fooled. Not all Egyptian cotton is first rate. I like Pima cotton, wherever it's grown and most definitely single ply, *not double*.

Hope this helps you - good luck shopping! -kt

anon78971
Post 3

my husband finds certain bed sheets too hot, while others are cooler temperature wise. I have been trying to figure if the thread count would have an effect on this. As I buy sheets and they are too hot and I then need to buy more. Any ideas if silk or a higher thread count would make them "breathe' more or less?

ktjo
Post 2

My reaction is 'yes'. King size sheets fit a mattress 76" wide x 80" long, which would leave about 14" in length on the fitted sheet for you to contend with. You don't say how deep your mattress is and that could make a difference, too. You might be better off to go with a custom made fitted sheet and 'off the shelf' flat. This could be done in 1 of at least 2 ways. Purchase extra wide fabric and have the sheet made from that, or purchase 2 flat sheets and have 1 made into a bottom sheet, preferably with elastic all the way round.

Hope that helps, Kt

anon231
Post 1

Hi... I'm having a customized bed made. I've ordered the bed for the mattress size of 66" X 78". I realized that it's slighty wider the than a queen size (6" wider), for I found that queen size (60" in width)is just not enough for me, whereas the king size would beyond my budget. Would I have a difficulty in shopping for the fitted bedsheet? Thank you

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