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.