Return to the Home Decorating Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Posted by illinigirl (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 4, 07 at 11:16

I usually go to BB&B but maybe they don't have the quality I am looking for? I prefer cotton, and I know the basics of threadcount, but why do I never come home with a set of sheets that really feels good? Please help me to understand some specifics of bed linens so I can find my perfect sheets (crisp yet soft)

much appreciated,
Jen


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Crisp and soft are generally used to describe the "hand" of the fabric, which means how it drapes. So a soft hand would be the opposite of a crisp hand.

I'm guessing that you want a crisp hand but you want the fabric to be very smooth, maybe?

Inexpensive all-cotton muslin sheets could be called crisp but they can also feel rough because they have a low thread count and the threads themselves are coarse in texture.

Sateen sheets have a soft hand, not at all crisp but usually very smooth. The weave is actually the same as satin, pretty much, and satin is very smooth.

Percale with a high thread count made of Egyptian or Supima cotton is probably what you want. It will be crisp but also silky smooth. Egyptian and Sumpima cotton has longer fibers than conventional cotton so there are fewer fiber ends sticking up. That's why it feels so silky. High end mens' shirts are made of this cotton. It's really nice!

The weave is one of the things (or the thing) that makes percale different. It is a simple 1x1 weave--one thread over and under another, no doubling up like in sateen. Muslin has the same weave but with heavier threads and fewer per square inch. I think muslin goes up to 160 per square inch or something like that. Percale can go over 300 per square inch. You won't get the really high thread counts that you get with sateen but that's only because sateen threads are woven differently. I think percale actually wears better than sateen.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

You look for high thread count, plus Egyptian Cotton. I'm not sure if you have a Kohl's near you, but they do ship, and right now, shipping is free. I use Martex sheets from Kohl's, have for years and they are seriously like marshmallow, I LOVE them!


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

My current favorite sheets are Macy's Hotel Collection 600 thread-count. I think they're a sateen weave. The high thread count gives them some heft, but they are silky smooth once broken in. In comparison with some 330TC sateen sheets I also have, the Hotel Collection sheets feel heavier and "crisper", not as silky-light as the 330TC sheets. They're a great winter sheet, while the 330TC are a nice summer sheet.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

If you want crisp, you want percale and Egyptian cotton.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I value ease of care more than anything else, so I buy cotton blend sheets, usually 60% cotton and 40% polyester. I realize that this idea is very, very unfashionable, so I will only add that, if you want a cotton-poly blend, the best I have found is the Mainstays line at Wal-Mart. Although the thread count isn't high by today's standards, they're very smooth, reminiscent of the percale sheets that I remember from antiquity, I mean, my childhood.

This evening at Kohl's I saw some "extra soft" sheet sets, made of 55% cotton and 45% modal. I had to look up modal. It's made from cellulose (as is rayon), but has characteristics similar to cotton, except that it is softer and silkier and absorbs moisture even better. What I want to know is, does it wrinkle like cotton?

I didn't buy the modal sheets, but I did buy some other things, and the checkout clerk, who appeared to be about 17, gave me the senior-citizen discount.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Check out Garnet Hill for lots of wonderful percales. Even the 200TC are smooth. And they last forever!


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I've been on a bit of a bedding *thing* lately, and here are the results:

Martex is soft, but it has a weird finish, so I'm not crazy about it. A friend of mine loves the Martex, though.

Pottery Barn sheets are okay (made in Israel). Restoration Hardware 464 Paradigm sheets are nice (made in Italy). But the nicest of all, imo, are Sferra sheets (made in Italy).

I buy my bedding off ebay, btw. :)


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Organic, are you done with your papers yet? (: I'm not... am procrastinating here.

Seriously, any tips re Sferra? Does one look for a particular make? How do you say "percale" in Italian? Any reliable cheapie Ebay sellers?


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Hey there! Done with papers??? I am NEVER done with papers!!! They are the BANE of my existence. :)

Actually, there are some GREAT linen sellers on ebay. I've bought from candlewickhills, islandhopper, lightningdeal4you, and judychina. Don't speak Italian, so can't help you there, but there are always a few Sferra sheet sets on ebay. I tend to wait for the better quality ones to show up. For example, the Sferra "Hotel Collection" looks nice, but the fitted sheets are only 13" deep--be sure to read the description and ask questions if the information you need is not there. There is one regular bedding site called "Beddingetc.," where I check for the retail price and detailed information on a particular design of Sferra. Then, when i see something I like on ebay, I check it out on beddingetc. It's worked very well for me. I've bought a matelasse coverlet and shams for half the retail price, as well as two coverlet/blankets for 1/4 the retail price. And a bedskirt for $125 that costs $450 retail. Believe me, I will never go back to retail stores again. :)


 o
RE: what do I need to really look for to find crisp but soft bed

walkin: One more thing, most Queen sheet sizes include a flat sheet that is 90" x 90", but I prefer a wider flat sheet. So I always look for a set that includes a fitted sheet for deeper mattresses (17"-18" deep) and a flat sheet that is sized 90"x98". That works better for me. :)


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

How do the Sferra wash? Do they come out all wrinkled and need pressing, or are they good to go?
Tuesday Morning has them as of yesterday. It's a discontinued style with a colored embroidered border, very pretty. The prices weren't cheap, but they were much cheaper than normal!

I didn't buy any, I purchased a set that are made of bamboo. DH has a pair of slacks from Nordstrom, that are bamboo and he loves the silky feel. I'm a bit worried if these will be crisp enough, but I'm pairing them with a RH sateen duvet and shams.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I bought the Restoration Hardware Paradigm sheets and absolutely love them. They are soft but also crisp. They really are the best sheets I've ever had. Pep


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

thanks everyone! I knew you could figure out what i was talking about. Now I understand that I want crisp sheets that are smoooooth to the touch!

I will start looking for percale sheets made of Egyptian cotton in the highest TC I can find and see where that leads me. Yay!

Thanks again!
Jen


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

We have 3 different sheet sets in the beds in our home. By far the crispest is BBB's Exclusively Ours Hotel Collection Sateen 100% Cotton Sheets with a thread count of 620. They looked like they are just ironed right out of the dryer. They are also very soft, but much heavier than any of our other sheets. We have these in our MB.

In another bed we have Egyptian Sateen by Wamsutta (extra deep) with a thread count of 300. These are very soft, but not as crisp and smooth as the Hotel Collection. We did have to replace a fitted sheet as it tore down the middle after only a few months of use.

By far the softest (but in no way crisp) are the Simply Organic 100% organic cotton sheets with a thread count of 230. They feel like butter against the skin but are very wrinkly after one night's sleep. Even though they have the lowest thread count, they have been very durable.

All the sheets above I purchased at BBB. The hotel collection and Wamsutta sheets run over $100 for the set. With their 20% off coupon, they don't do too much damage to the wallet.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I take my sheets out of the dryer the moment they're finished and smooth them, which helps. I have some Sferras, which I buy on ebay, too. I just look for Sferra sheets. I prefer them ironed but sometimes just get lazy and smooth them. My beds are good with the 13" deep sheets. I love the sateen and the percales which come in different thread counts. I think higher is softer.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I value ease of care more than anything else, so I buy cotton blend sheets, usually 60% cotton and 40% polyester. I realize that this idea is very, very unfashionable, so I will only add that, if you want a cotton-poly blend, the best I have found is the Mainstays line at Wal-Mart. Although the thread count isn't high by today's standards, they're very smooth, reminiscent of the percale sheets that I remember from antiquity, I mean, my childhood.

I bought those sheets for my son's bed and they do wash nicely, are smooth AND crisp, don't pill, and don't have to be ironed. I think I may need to get some for my bed.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I haven't tried them, but my neighbor just told me about the Modal sheets she got at BB & B. She says they are the best, most comfortable sheets she has ever owned. She was raving about them!


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I've been trying to refrain, but what the heck. I can't stand regular sheets in the winter -- they're ice cold and I never warm up in them. I spend my winters happily snuggled in coay flannel sheets and I'm surprised that the rest of you don't. They're so warm and soft! There, I said it, sorry. lol!


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Oceanna, I do the same. I like LL Bean's flannels the best.

Here is a link that might be useful: LL Bean flannels


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

If you really, really want crisp and smooth sheets, you need a rotary iron, aka a mangle. Seriously. It's wacky and retro, but I can't live without mine. Mine's old, but if I suddenly won the lottery, I'd buy a new one in a heartbeat.

Here is a link that might be useful: Miele Rotary Iron


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

At least 300 TC Egyptian Cotton, the more you wash the softer they get, while remaining smooth with a silky feel..
I buy mine online at great prices and deep pockets are a must...


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

thanks again. I know I may be strange, but even in winter I want a cool, crisp sheet. I keep warm by wearing flannel jammies, a fleece robe, slipper socks and then slippers, so actually the sheets feel good to me even on winter nights.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Count me among the flannel sheet users, from November through March. It's the most wonderful thing to crawl into flannel sheets and they're warm toasty and stay that way...even if I have to get up often during the night. And, they're downright difficult to crawl out of in the morning...they feel so good.

I have 3 different weights of flannel sheets, all of which were purchased 12 years ago. The lightest is from Portugal, and I use that in November and some of December. As the nights become colder (compounded by the kick-back thermostat which the house down to 60 degrees at night), I then move to the German flannel sheets (purchased from Garnet Hill 12 years ago....and they still look new. Absolutely zero pilling!) Then when the dead of winter has set in, I move to the English flannel, which is heavy, fabulous flannel -- again, purchased from Garnet Hill 12 years ago.

I truly love my flannel sheets, which look new, are a breeze to wash and dry, and never require ironing. I can't believe it took so many years for the clue bird to fly over.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

You must be aware about Thread Count! Sometimes you can see in Target, Wal-Mart or even Macy’s linens labeled as 1000 TC. This is a pure lie. If the basic thread constructed from smaller threads you must count the basic thread and not the small ones. They count all threads and arrive to 1000 TC, when in reality it is just 250 TC linen. I also purchased a few items on beddingetc.com website. Really good place to get expensive linens for much less.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

nataliets, I heard about that on the Today show recently too. You can't fit more than 350 threads in a square inch and the high numbers are really a deceiving way of counting the threads.

I got the JCPenney Wrinkle Free sheets this year and love them. Hubby was looking for something to keep him cool and these have a technology called Nano-Tex that pulls moisture away from your body. I would describe them as soft, yet crisp.

Here is a link that might be useful: Penney's Wrinkle Free sheets


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I slept on the most comfortable sheets ever last summer when I stayed at my 78 year old aunt's house in Italy. They were her embroidered wedding linens. The operative word is LINEN. Contrary to what you might think, they were not thick and rough, but were crisp, cool (in August!), and soft. Think handkerchief linen and you'll get the picture.

True linens are outrageously expensive, but I've seen quite a few in antique shops for less than what you'd pay at BB&B.

The bad news is they have to be ironed. Mangle, anyone?


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Ideefixe, thanks for posting that. NOW I understand why the sheets I slept on as a child felt different (better) than anything I've felt since. My mother always mangled them. Doesn't sound nice, does it? But that's what she did. I can still remember her cautioning us to stay back from the mangle.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I thought of this thread when I was at Bed Bath & Beyond a couple of days ago, cruising the sheet department since the fitted sheet on my last good set, my beloved old Waverlys, finally ripped because they were so worn. BB&B has those pillowcases dangling from the displays so you can get an idea of how the fabric feels, and although I do not care for percales I was pleasantly surprised at the soft surface of the Classic Percale which were 100% Egyptian cotton, 300 TC. It still had a real underlying crispness, though (too firm for me). If they go on sale after the holidays I'll get a set for my mother, who adores percale sheets. My grandmothers hung dry and ironed their sheets - neither had a house big enough for a mangle, although I'm sure one grandmother used one at her job as a maid for seriously wealthy (like Rockefeller kind of bucks) summer people - because both of them liked sheets that could practically stand up by themselves!

I am a super-soft-sheets gal, because of the fibro. No flannel sheets here because DH gets too hot (he throws all the blankets off in the dead of winter), so I put an extra blanket on my side and wear Polarfleece socks. So sexy, I know! LOL If it's really cold I sleep in good old-fashioned long johns, even sexier! Illinigirl, the Vermont Country Store has two-piece footie pajamas in grownup sizes. ;-)

VCS also has sheets they call "Clothesline Crisp", even when tumble-dried. There's also a comparison of different crisp sheets here that some of you might find interesting reading.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Trying to save a few dollars and not frustrate myself with another purchase from Restoration Hardware--I found some Wamsutta 400 TC sheets that look very good with my Italian Bedding from RH. When I took the pillow cases from the package they were quite wrinkled, but I decided to wash and dry them in my new Bosch FL'ers. When they finished in the machines I pulled out some very wrinkled sheets. Frankly I'm disappointed. I know the RH ones wrinkle too, my duvet and shams are proof of that, but these look even worse.
Do you have your sheets ironed or sent to the laundry? Other than a mangle or ironing the sheets, what can I do?
Is this endemic to all the cotton sheets or are these Wamsutta particularly bad?


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Front loaders, of which I have one, are notorious for twisting and wrinkling sheets. No help there, at least for me.

I lightly starch my sheets and then use an old mangle to iron them.
Nikki


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Hmm, how interesting - none of our sheets wad up in our Frigidaire FLs, and I do have a set of Wamsuttas (the now-discontinued and sorely-missed Supima Twill 360s). We do tend to take sheets out of the dryer and immediately put them on the bed, which also minimizes the problem.

If you can stand the stuff, Downy makes a liquid fabric softener that purports to minimize wrinkles even more than regular softeners do. There are less-allergenic natural brands for those who get itchy from fabric softener; although I've never tried them on sheets they do help some on clothing. Seventh Generation and Ecover are two brands I've used. Plain white vinegar also works pretty decently as a fabric softener/dewrinkler, 1/4-1/2 cup per load, and the vinegar smell does not stay - this is particularly good if you're on septic, since conventional (petrochemical) fabric softeners can gunk up the leach field.

Sometimes if I overdry cotton things on too-high heat they get wrinkly - thankfully the moisture sensor on our dryer is pretty good so we can pull things before they're "overcooked". The low and medium settings on our dryer get used almost exclusively, the high is just too hot. Don't let them sit in the washer, either, get them right into the dryer. If you're tall enough to do it without their dragging on the floor (I'm not), you can "snap" them out before putting them into the dryer.

FWIW, my mother insists that percale sheets wrinkle less in the wash. (I think if you suggested she iron sheets, she'd bean you one with said iron :-) and fitting a mangle in a <800sf cottage is a complete joke.)

I recently purchased a set of BB&B's wrinkle-free 100% cotton sheets (no formaldehyde and suchlike junk in the wrinkle-free treatment) and they are performing as advertised in the wrinkle department. Even after a few washings they're rather crisper than I would like though, so I may send them up to my mom. Crisp-sheet people with small sheet budgets may appreciate them though.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I must second organicdonna's recommendation of Sferra. Love them.

We iron ours. My dream is to one day own a Miele mangle (that's so pathetic). LOL.

Ivette


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Pirula,
I own a Miele rotary iron and I love it. Alas, it has made me lust after another ironing element, the Laurastar iS5 ironing system. Spare yourself the heart ache, it just creates more lust for something else. Someone my Naomoto iron is no longer good enough!

On the subject of sheets, I love percale cotton sheets. I am slowly adding some linen sheets to my collection and I love them too. Matteo for linens, Yves Delorme for Linens would be nice but I am not crazy yet! I love Bellini for Percale and Yves Delorme for their basis percale. I only use flat sheets because they are easier to iron and you can mix colors more effortlessly. I also love Gaiams organic sateen sheets. They are a great price, smooth ans soft to the touch. I find that the better quality sheets are also easier to iron and finish very nicely. I have a Miele Washer and dryer and don't find the wrinkling too bad.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Laurastar iS5


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I buy all my sheets at Walls, which is a chain of stores here (OK) that gets stuff from, who knows, floods and returns. I hated it as a child, but love it now. I can easily find 300-400 count Egyptian cotton of excellent brands at normal prices. Today we got a Ralph Lauren King set for $45, and I picked up a couple of king top sheets that were rejected at Neiman's because they got the monograms wrong. I really have no idea what count these are, but they are incredibly heavy, embroideried trim, will last forever. They were $7 each. If I'd looked longer I could have found the set. I think the random monograms are amusing. I have several randomly monogrammed Ralph Lauren towels from this place. My real prize are the Yves DeLorme French cotton damask sheets I'm making curtains out of. (Or the 80% off Bvlgari cologne I got SO for Christmas last year).

Here is a link that might be useful: Walls Bargain Center


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Thank you for some great info! I'm off to look for 7thGen or Ecover softener. I've been using vinegar in the towel washes, but they're no softer. I don't know if its the FL or not,but they're hardening/crisping first when I used Charlie's Soap and then 7th Generation. Sigh...
As to the sheets, I might have over dried them,but was hoping to get two sets, so that means I wont' be putting them back on the bed immediately. I remember the percale sheets of my youth and early marriage. They softened up eventually and wore like iron. Ironing or using a mangle just isn't in the cards. I might try using my new steamer. I wonder how that will turn out!
Wall's sounds like a fun place, but I live in L.A. so that's never going to happen! I'll recommend it to a forum friend from Tulsa though.
Sferra is still available this week at Tuesday Morning. They're closing for a few weeks in January. Yves Delorme look wonderful, but oh the price!!
I checked with my drycleaner/laundry and he wants $5 per sheet and $2.50 per pillow case...NOT! That's just crazy!

After two nights I'm happy to report that the new sheets feel great to sleep in, soft and nice, but I wish they looked a bit crisper. I think that may be what makes the Westin's Heavenly Bed just that much nicer. Crisp sheets and a nice soft mattress. Thank goodness the hotels have gotten away from those bricks we used to sleep on.
We're in the middle of choosing a new mattress now, the decision is so difficult!


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I wonder why your towels are coming out crispy. Do you have very hard water? Have you tried calling Bosch customer service? We use either 7th Gen or Biokleen laundry detergent - I prefer the liquids for less mess, seems like those powders end up all over the place! - in our FL with moderately hard water and we never have crispy towels. (We have Macy's Charter Club "Classic Solid" towels, nothing fancy at all. Well priced on sale and hold up beautifully.) I don't put up with crispy ANYTHING in the laundry! Fabric softeners can interfere with towels' absorbency, just as an FYI. I did just read today about putting a couple of clean (old is OK) tennis balls in the dryer with the towels to help keep them extra soft and fluffy. Cheaper version of those dryer balls, I guess! I haven't tried it with towels, although I do that with things like jackets and comforters. Might be worth a shot.

Just to clarify - is it that the appearance of the Wamsuttas isn't crisp enough but they're still crisp in texture? Or are they just plain soft? Which ones do you have? They make several 400TC styles. I'm thinking about getting the Egyptian cotton "comfort soft" ones but I am very much a soft-sheets gal (the modal - just a fancy name for rayon, BTW - and jersey sheets are too clingy though) and I don't want to get them if there's any crispness to them, especially since they're right at the top of my budget. I'm getting tired of the buy-return cycle. I couldn't give a hoot about whether they wrinkle, they're going to wrinkle the first time I sleep on them anyway, and the coverlet and shams hide the sheets/pillowcases anyway. :-)

They're rather pricey but did you know that you can purchase the Westin Heavenly Bed sheets that you rave about (the ones used in the hotels are actually a cotton-poly blend! the poly does reduce the wrinkling, FWIW)? Westin Store sheets department


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I live in L.A.

If you are having any problems with laundry, LADWP water probably explains it - lots of minerals and sediment. When I lived there I found it difficult to get any laundry really clean and nothing came out of the dryer as soft as it does here (with average water hardness).


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

I just want to thank everyone again for all their input....I still haven't purchased sheets (the mattress purchase has been quite a longer process than I imagined- anyone want to talk about mattresses? lol) Anyways, I did check out BBB today and to my disappointment the highest TC percale they had was 300 (or was it 350) and it really wasn't all that thick or crisp, it was soft though. Some of their higher TC sateen was definitely crisper than their percale but I don't want sateen.

I'm going to re-investigate some of the other suggestions here, websites, etc.


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

bump


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Not sure if you realize that percale sheets are made with resin which helps them crisp. I had one favorite set I used to wash weekly and put right back on and when I got to this 50 something age, they became unbearably warm.

I just purchased the most comfortable smooth, cool and soft sheets from JC Penney made of "Modal Jersey Knit". Best sheets I ever had and great for those middle of the night heat waves also! lol


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

Iron them!


 o
RE: what do I need to look for to find crisp but soft bed sheets?

If you're looking for sheets that are going to last a long time, consider using a poly/cotton blend. They feel a bit more 'crisp' than 100% cotton sheets, but they will last longer. Poly/cotton sheets will also shrink less than 100% cotton sheets. You can see the difference in price by comparing these hotel sheets


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Home Decorating Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here