GLOSSARY

There's a whole lot more to bed linen than just thread counts. But the many terms used can be rather overwhelming. Here you'll find a list to help you through this forest of words and jargon.

  • AMERICAN PIMA

    A strong, high-grade, long staple cotton quality grown in the southwest of the United States.
  • Combed Cotton

    A fine grade cotton which has gone through an extra manufacturing step called “combing”. It reduces the number of short, uneven fibers leaving only the longer, stronger staples for weaving. It also remove all the impurities before the fiber is spun into yarn.
  • DAMASK

    A woven cotton fabric made on a jacquard loom that has an alternating satin and matte texture to create a glossy pattern. Damask fabrics are reversible.
  • Egyptian Cotton

    Egypt produces the best quality, longest fibre and most valued raw cotton worldwide. It is grown and hand harvested along the fertile banks of the Nile river delta where unique climatic conditions give rise to the finest long staple and extra long staple cotton fibers that are woven into world’s softest fabrics.


    Embroidery

    Art of creating and producing raised designs or motifs on woven fabrics. Embroidery is made decorating fabric with needle and thread or yarn.


    Euro Sham

    A decorative pillow covering, constructed with a flange or trim.These are often placed behind standard size pillow shams as a backdrop for all of the other pillows.
  • Flange

    A border around the edge of bedding pieces that forms an additional frame.
  • Hemstitch

    A decorative stitch usually bordering a hem made by drawing out several parallel threads punching even rows of small holes and then stitching around the perforations.
  • Jacquard

    A technique of weaving intricate patterns directly into the texture of fine fabrics.
  • Long Stapled Cotton

    Cotton fibres >3cm are considered long stapled cotton. Longer fibres make a more uniform, resistant and smoother thread when twisted, creating finer fabrics. The differences between Egyptian, Supima, Microcotton, Xinjiang Long stapled cotton are geographical only.
  • Mercerized

    Mercerizing is a key step in the finishing process, in which caustic soda is used to give fabrics resistance and additional shine. The process also stabilises shrinkage, allowing the fabric to remain soft and loose when washed.
  • Percale

    Percale is a plain weave with a matte finish that is light, crisp yet incredibly soft. The fabric is created by weaving one vertical for every horizontal thread. The weave allows air to pass through easier than sateen, so percale is more breathable and lighter in weight, making it perfect for warmer climates.

    Since each horizontal thread passes over and under one vertical thread, the fabric is much more durable than sateen and is why it is used exclusively by most hotels, as percale fabric can withstand thousands of cycles of washing.


    Pilling

    Fabric pilling is the annoying formation of small, fuzzy round balls on the surface of sheeting fabric that make it look old, worn and uncomfortable to sleep on. Fabric pilling occurs either due to the natural tendency of fibers to migrate to the surface of a woven fabric or as a result of friction on the fabric surface, which loosens fibers and tangles them. This friction may be a result of wear and tear, or of improper laundering techniques. Poor quality cotton is more likely to experience fabric pilling than a finer weaved product.
  • Sateen

    Sateen fabric is woven to create a silky smooth surface with a luminous sheen and is known for its luster and drape. The fabric is created with one vertical thread woven for every four or more horizontal threads.

    The sheen of the fabric comes from the reflected light due to the increased threads exposed on the surface. The additional threads are what gives sateen sheets its softer drape than percale weave.


    Spinning

    It is the technical process of twisting together raw cotton fibers to make fine yarns that are then to be woven into fabrics warp and weft.


    Shrinkage

    The contraction of a fiber, yarn or fabric after washing and drying. All products made of natural fibers have a tendency to shrink 4%-8%.
  • Thread Count

    It is number of yarns per square inch in a woven fabric. While thread count is often quoted as the main indicator of fabrics quality, the quality of the yarn and of the raw cotton fiber, as well as the finishing treatments applied, should be taken into account to assess the real quality of any fabric. While it is true that with higher thread count, the weave is tighter, making the sheet more smooth and soft, thread count itself is just a rough indicator and cannot be used as the only reference to determine fabrics quality.

    A thread can be made using a single ply or several plies. In some cases the number of plies, instead of threads, is counted when calculating the thread count. This creates an inaccurate measuring unit, since a high number of plies does not correspond to a higher fabric quality.


    Twill

    This type of weave is characterized by the lines that are ribbed diagonally across the fabric.
  • Warp and Weft

    Warp is the lengthwise or longitudinal thread in a roll, that are held in tension on a loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads is called the weft, or the transverse thread.