What is Cotton Percale and What’s So Good About it?

Posted by in Fine Linens, Luxury Linens

Cotton percale is one of those terms that you come across a great deal, but which is rarely explained in full. Often used to make quality bed linen, it has a reputation as the crème de la crème for the discerning buyer. But what is cotton percale? And more to the point, what’s so good about it?

This post aims to dispel some of the myths surrounding cotton percale so that you know exactly what you’re paying for when you choose high quality bed linen.

What is Cotton Percale?

What is cotton percale?Contrary to popular belief, the term ‘percale’ does not describe a particular blend of fabric. It is actually a kind of weave: a plain weave (consisting of a simple criss-cross pattern) with the threads woven together very closely.

Cotton percale is therefore cotton, or a cotton blend, woven tightly to produce a firm, smooth fabric that is often used to make luxury bedding. Other varieties include silk percale, linen percale and cotton/polyester blend percale.

What’s So Good About Cotton Percale?

The main benefit of cotton percale is its tight weave, which gives it a thread count of at least 200, resulting in a very strong, crisp and hard-wearing fabric. Medium-weight, firm and smooth, but without being glossy, cotton percale is soft to the touch, yet it won’t have you suffering from the night sweats. You can think of it as being more like traditional, crisp B&B bedding as opposed to silky hotel sheets. This makes it ideal for spring and summer, although it is equally comfortable in the autumn and winter provided you have a warm, high-tog duvet.

Unlike many luxury fabrics, cotton percale is low maintenance and easy to wash, and again thanks to its tight weave, you won’t get it moulting and clogging up the dryer filter with great clumps of lint.

Another fantastic thing about cotton percale bed linen is the fact that unlike many high-end fabrics, it comes in a great range of colours and designs. You’re not limited to the standard whites and neutrals (although these are available); you can also get bright colours and patterns should you so wish. That said, some of the most elegant cotton percale bed linen I’ve come across is crisp white with opulent embroidery and eyelet detailing around the edges.

Cotton percale bed linen is more affordable than other varieties with higher thread counts. It is a common misconception that the quality of bed sheets is determined solely by thread count – but there are many other factors to consider, as this blog post explains. The quality of the cotton, yarn size and the finishing process all contribute to the quality of the fabric, so a lower thread count doesn’t necessarily make cotton percale inferior to, say, cotton sateen.

I hope you now have a clearer idea of what cotton percale is, and that you feel a bit more clued up on fabric weaves and thread counts. To browse and buy cotton percale bed linen online, go to www.woodsfinelinens.com/bedding. Woods supplies bedding and linens of the highest quality from all over the world, available to order for delivery throughout the UK and overseas.