What are the benefits of each bedding fabric type?
There are several types of fabric used in bedding like sheets, pillow cases, duvet covers and throws and it can be a little daunting for the buyer to decide what type best suits your personal needs. For instance you would probably not want to put the same sort of sheets on your child’s bed as you would on your own.
Not because your child is less deserving than you are but more because they would probably need something a little more resilient and washable than you might on your bed, where perhaps a little more luxury might be desirable. Cost can quite often be the deciding factor when new bedding is required and there are many perfectly good blended fibre materials on the market today to choose from. But let us take a look at the different types of fabrics most commonly used today in the bedding market before we make a final decision.
Silk and pure Egyptian cotton
Firstly let us look at the top end of the market where we find things like silk and pure Egyptian cotton. There is probably nothing more luxurious than sliding into a freshly made bed and the added luxury of silk sheets can make the experience a total pleasure. Silk sheets are made from the super soft extrusions gathered from the silk worm which is a moth larvae. This might not sound very luxurious but the finished fabric is incredibly soft, light and silky, making it perfect for bedding.
Silk also is naturally hypo-allergenic making it the perfect choice for someone with allergies or sensitive skin. Silk bedding is incredibly versatile and has the benefit of being cool in summer and warm in winter. Because it is a naturally occurring substance it takes very little to turn the silk ball into fine fabric, therefore making it a better environmental choice. The down side of silk is that it can be extremely costly and will need careful handling and washing.
Next we can look at cotton, which is a fabric made by spinning the cotton ‘flowers’ or seed heads into threads. There are many types of cotton fabrics on the market, the best and therefore most expensive is pure Egyptian cotton which originally was only grown in limited areas of Egypt but because of demand is now grown commercially. Cotton fibre quality is rated on several things and one of them is the length and strength of the spun threads.
The longer and smoother the threads the better the finished fabric and the higher the cost. Another measurement of quality is the thread count or the amount of warp and weft threads used in one inch of fabric, the higher the count the better quality the fabric. Cotton, like silk, is a naturally occurring and will be a good choice for sensitive skins, it is resilient, washable and durable giving warmth and softness.
Cotton sheets can often be tufted of ‘fluffed up’ to create flannel sheets, these are commonly used on children’s beds because they are cheaper, durable and because of the tufted finish give a snugly feel on cold nights. Normally only cheaper cotton is finished in this way. Flannel sheets will give warmth, durability and because of the price good value for money.
Polyester is a common fabric used for making bedding, it is made from chemical polymers combined with other elements and for this reason is not recommended for people with sensitive skin as the finished product can be rough and treatments to give a smoother finish can be slightly toxic to some skins.
That said polyester is often combined with cotton, referred to as polyester/cotton, to give a good quality durable fabric that will withstand considerable washing, drying and usage. It is one of the cheaper types of fabric and provides good durability and versatility for the 'average' type of bedding such as duvet covers.