What is Percale?

What is Percale?

If you’ve ever slid between soft and luxurious bed sheets at a high-end hotel, you’re familiar with just how remarkable truly exceptional bedding feels. However, you may not know why those sheets felt so wonderful and welcoming.

Luxury hotels are all about delivering the finest experiences and ultimate comfort—from the second you wake up in the morning until you lay your head on the pillow at night. As such, the importance of amazing bedding can’t be overstated. This is why so many of the finest hotels choose percale bedding.

Wondering what percale is, what are the benefits of percale, and where you can find the best percale sheets? Read on to learn more about the wonders of percale cotton.

→ Shop Top Recommended: Nile Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set

Boutique percale sheets in white. | Peacock Alley

What is Percale?

Percale is a finely woven and highly breathable fabric that is often rivaled to the crisp feel of your favorite white button-down shirt. Percale fabric is woven using a continuous one-yarn-over, one-yarn-under crisscross pattern in which warp and weft threads are equally distributed. Percale is often compared in feel to linen, which makes sense as linen follows a similar weave pattern.

Many factors impact the quality and feel of sheets. These include fabric content, weave, thread count, and even color. While people often look to fiber content and thread count as primary factors when evaluating fabric, its weave is equally if not more important.

That’s where percale comes in. It is a type of weave that results from the way the fabric is woven on the loom.

During the weaving process, yarns go either lengthwise or crosswise in direction. The former yarns are called “warp” while the latter are called “weft,” or “filling”. Typically, warp threads are stationery, and lie parallel to the edge, or “selvage,” of the fabric. They provide support for the weft threads. The horizontal weft threads are then woven over and under the warp threads.

Depending on how warp and weft yarns are woven together to turn thread or yarn into fabric, the end result can look and feel very different.

Boutique Percale Sheet Set
Ribbon Stripe Percale Duvet Cover and Sleeping Shams, Fern Cuff Percale Sheets. | Peacock Alley

The Benefits of Percale Sheets

Percale more than earns its reputation as a high-quality bedding material. Here are some of its standout qualities:

  • Natural fibers. As a natural material, cotton percale is a gentle choice for your skin.
  • Amazing feel. Cotton percale is celebrated for its distinctive smooth, cool, and crisp feel.
  • Cool and comfortable. If you hate waking up in sweat-soaked sheets, the moisture-wicking, breathability, and lightweight feel of a percale sheet set makes this bedding type a must-have. Not only do cotton percale sheets avoid trapping heat, but they also allow air to pass through, which helps keep you dry.
  • High-end appeal. While you may not be able to put your finger on what makes percale bedding feel so luxurious, there’s no denying that it does.
  • Strength and durability. Not only are percale cotton sheets known for being able to hold up to years of wear, but they’re also tear- and pill-resistant.
  • Low maintenance. Cotton percale bedding can be washed in a washing machine and tossed in the dryer. Even better? Cotton percale sheets actually get softer every time you wash them.
  • Year-round usability. While some people prefer something more insulating for winter, cotton percale bedding is appropriate for all times of year.
Ribbon Stripe Percale Duvet Cover
Nile Percale Sheets and pillowcases. | Peacock Alley

What are Percale Sheets Made From?

Several types of cotton are used to make percale sheets.

One of the most popular? 100 percent long-staple cotton, such as Egyptian and Supima/Pima cotton. Cotton percale sheets made with long-staple cotton, such as the Nile Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set, are known for their smoothness, strength, breathability, and durability. They’re also prone to fewer wrinkles and less fraying.

Percale sheets can also be made from a blend of cotton and another material, such as polyester, silk, or rayon from bamboo. Depending on the type of blend, there may be added benefits, such as increased wrinkle resistance and affordability.

Wondering where thread count fits into the mix? This refers to the number of threads per square inch in a piece of fabric. However, while higher thread counts are often perceived as better in terms of softness and quality, this isn’t necessarily the case because manufacturers can falsely inflate thread counts by weaving thinner threads together.

In fact, some tests of sheets have found 280-thread-count cotton percale sheets to perform better to sheets with much higher thread counts. Because of this, the better indicator of the quality of bedding is the type of cotton used. Generally, long-staple Egyptian cotton is regarded as the premium option.

Nile Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set

Percale vs Sateen

Alongside percale, sateen is a well-known luxury bedding option. You may be wondering: what makes percale different from sateen?

It all comes down to the weaving pattern. As mentioned earlier, percale’s pattern comprises the weaving of an equal ratio of weft and warp threads. Sateen, however, follows a different pattern in which multiple weft threads pass over and under a single warp thread.

Depending on how many weft threads are utilized, this is referred to as either a three-over-one-under weave or a four-over-one-under weave.

While a high-quality bedding option just like cotton percale, sateen—which can also be made from 100 percent cotton or a cotton-blend, offers a different feel. This type of bedding is known for its buttery-smooth feel and lustrous sheen.

All of which begs the question: Are percale sheets or sateen sheets better? The answer may surprise you. There is no “right” answer to the question of percale vs sateen. Rather, it’s all about your individual preferences and goals for your bedding.

Where to Buy Cotton Percale Bedding?

As we mentioned earlier, some manufacturers take liberties when talking about thread count and other characteristics of the bedding they make and sell. At Peacock Alley, we take great pride in offering the most luxurious bedding around, including our exquisite percale cotton sheets and bedding.

This means using the very best long-staple cotton in every percale sheet set, percale duvet cover, and all other percale bedding we offer.

We apply the same standards to all our sateen sheets and bedding.

Sleep is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures, and yet it can be elusive. The right sheets can help you get the good night’s sleep you crave. That is where Peacock Alley’s extraordinary cotton percale sheets and sateen bedding come in.

To stock up on the finest hotel-quality luxury percale bedding, shop Peacock Alley today.