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Q & A: What is the difference between Percale and Cotton Satin?

Au Lit Q&A

Q: What is the difference between Percale and Cotton Satin?


A: The way in which fabric is woven also has a major effect on its feel. Percale is woven in a basic criss cross weave (one-over, one-under) and has a thread-count higher than 200. It tends to be more crisp and cool, like a classic button down shirt. Cotton Satin fabric is made using a satin weave structure (four over and one under), which gives the fabric a sheen and silkier feel. But that doesn’t mean satin is better than percale, they each provide their own unique experience. 

Although high thread-counts have become something of a status symbol, the hand of the fabric – as determined by the finish and the type of weave – is entirely personal.

Peggy Byron, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, favours her 220 thread-count percale sheets over the best 1000 thread-count cotton satin sheets money can buy. Why? Because she happens to love the crisp, linen-feel of percale, and not the finer feel of a higher thread-count satin.

Though most consumers think thread-count is the way to choose quality bed linens, the truth is, it is the quality of the cotton and where and how it is woven, that matters most.