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The Truth About Sateen vs. Percale

From wefts and weaves to thread counts and staple lengths, cotton terminology can get confusing. So, in the interest of upping your Cotton IQ, we’re here to share a bit of our fiber smarts. First up, the difference between two different types of cotton weaves – percale and sateen. Both are high-quality fabrics that utilize long-staple cotton – and in the case of Wamsutta sheets, both are made with PimaCott’s proven pure pima cotton. The difference is in how the cotton fibers are woven, which creates a different feel and experience – and which is better really comes down to a matter of preference.

Crisp, Cool Percale

If you’re looking for sheets with the same smart feel as a crisp white shirt, you’ll love percale. With it’s ultra-breathable weave, percale feels comfortable against the skin no matter what the weather, making it a great choice for summer sheets or warm climate bedding. Percale has a airy yet crisp feel, due to the combination of a lighter yarn weight and a tight, flat weave.

Percale is woven using a traditional one-yarn-over and one-yarn-under weave, giving it a matte finish and a cool feel that gets better with every wash. This casual, no-sheen finish means that percale is slightly more susceptible to wrinkles, but we love it both sharply ironed or left unironed for a lived-in look. This weave offers superior durability, and resists pilling, fading, or fraying. For warm sleepers, the crisp, cool breathability of percale can’t be beat.

Buttery Soft Sateen

For a luxuriously soft sheet, look no further than cotton sateen. With its unique satin-like weave, this dense fabric gives off a subtle sheen that is elegant to the eye and silky smooth to the touch. Sateen is woven with a slightly thicker yarn and utilizes a looser 3-over-1 weave which exposes more thread surface, creating its renowned soft feel and luxurious sheen.

Because of this, sateen is recommended for those who often find themselves cold while sleeping or live in cooler climates. Sateen offers a sumptuously warm sleep, perfect for cozying up in the winter months. Not only does sateen have a luxurious feel, but it’s hassle-free, with no need for ironing. The sateen weave is naturally wrinkle-resistant and drapes beautifully, hence its most common use in fine bed sheets.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference – the crisp, cool hand of percale or the silky luxury of sateen. Either way, you can’t go wrong with high-quality, 100% cotton bedding made from proven pure pima cotton.