Cotton might just be the most misunderstood textile out there. Choosing cotton bedding can be downright confusing, from thread counts versus staple lengths to jersey versus Egyptian cotton sheets. But not for long. We’re here to break down the differences between two unique weave types: sateen versus percale.
Nope, not satin. We’re talking about sateen.
Unlike many other textiles, cotton is separated into different categories — sateen being one of them. This distinction comes from sateen’s specific weave pattern, not a separate material. Sateen weave follows a strict one-yarn-under, three-yarn-over pattern. This technique exposes more surface area than other cotton textiles, making sateen fabrics smoother, softer, and silkier. Did we mention it’s wrinkle-resistant?
Like sateen weave, percale fabric is a category of cotton distinguished by its weave. However, percale follows a tight, grid-like weave. This material abides by a one-yarn-under, one-yarn-over technique. The result? A lightweight, breathable, ultra-durable textile.
You can think of percale like the linen of cotton, but crisper and with a soft matte finish.
Both percale and cotton make great high-quality bed sheets, but each has its pros and cons. Is one better than the other? Well, that ultimately comes down to personal preference. Let’s look at what each material has to offer to find which is best for you: sateen bedding or percale bedding?
Now that we know a bit more about sateen and percale’s benefits and downfalls let’s see how they compare to one another in some other categories.
Sateen is renowned for its smooth, buttery feel. This fabric’s silky texture is positively indulgent. However, it traps heat due to sateen’s relative heaviness, making it too warm for some but just right for others.
Percale, on the other hand, isn’t quite as smooth as sateen and has a crisp, cool texture. If sateen is luxurious, percale has a more laid-back, casual feel. This type of cotton breathes incredibly well, making it ideal for toasty summer nights or winter evenings with the heater on.
Both sateen and percale are tightly woven fabrics, but the latter’s grid-like weave is more compact. Thanks to these taut threads, these materials are excellent at reducing mites and preventing dust.
To ensure you’re purchasing the safest option possible, always look for Oeko-Tex certified organic cotton. This verification guarantees your bedsheets are free from toxic levels of over 100 harmful chemicals. All Or & Zon organic cotton holds this certification.
It’s no secret that percale bedsheets are crinkle-prone. While some aren’t into this look, we choose to embrace the easygoing, carefree vibes of percale’s wrinkles. To us, it radiates boho-chic. However, if you aren’t so into the crinkles, you may choose to iron your bedding.
If you’d rather go for a low-maintenance, effortlessly gorgeous look, give sateen a try. This fabric is wrinkle-resistant, keeping it crisp night after night.
Percale’s magical little secret is that it gets better with age. With every wash, percale grows softer. It’s like wearing in a new pair of shoes — the more you wear them, the more comfortable they are.
While sateen is definitely still durable, this silky fabric is notorious for pilling. This doesn’t mean that your sheets are low quality or falling apart, but these little fuzz balls are broken threads. To avoid this, try handwashing your bedding, turning it inside out before tossing it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, or using a razor to remove the pills.
So, which is better: sateen or percale? Well, that’s not up to us to decide. Each material has unique benefits. Sateen is luxuriously soft, naturally gorgeous, and incredibly cozy. On the other hand, percale radiates boho vibes, is ultra-lightweight, and improves with every wash. Ultimately, the choice is up to you. It’s all about personal preference.