Glossary Terms - Bedding

Thread Count

Consumers are being bombarded by thread count numbers that are truly bewildering. 500 thread count is the point where diminishing marginal returns set in. Why is that? To weave 600 or 800 thread count sheet would require a very high-ply yarn. This is very difficult and the resulting sheet probably costs thousands of dollars. Manufacturers will stretch the truth by selling 600 to 800 thread count sheets by using TWO PLY YARN. All that means is that two yarns are twisted together, woven to create the illusion of a higher thread count. So, a 600 thread count sheet may in all likelihood be a true 300 thread count-as it may have been woven using two-ply 60s yarn. A high thread count sounds good, but it means nothing if you are not getting correspondingly higher quality cotton. Its all about the cotton.

Linen Literate Glossary

Leggett and Platt has compiled a dictionary of terminology used within the textile industry. Some of these are very technical terms, but it does help to have a good education when you are shopping for beds and bedding sets.

 Absorbency - The ability of a fabric to take in moisture. Absorbency is a very important property, which affects many other characteristics such as skin comfort, static build-up, shrinkage, stain removal, water repellency, and wrinkle recovery.
 Baffling - A "baffled" construction has fabric walls sewn between the top and bottom of the comforter cover, which both prevents the down from shifting and allows the down to fully loft.
 Batting - Cotton, wool, or synthetic fiber used for stuffing furniture and mattresses and for lining comforters.
 Blend - A term applied to a yarn of a fabric that is made up of more than one fiber. In blended yarns, two or more different types of staple fibers are twisted or spun together to form the yarn. An example of a typical blended yarn or fabric is polyester/cotton.
 California King - Comforter dimensions are 106 in. L x 114 in. W.
 Chambray - A plain-woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns. Pronounced "sham-bray"
 Comforter - Two pieces of fabric stitched along all four sides and filled with synthetic or natural filling.
 Cotton - A unicellular, natural fiber that grows in the seedpod of the cotton plant. Fibers are typically 1/2 in. to 2 in. long. The longest staple fibers, longer than 1 1/2 in., including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, product the highest quality cotton fabrics.
 Damask - a patterned fabric: a reversible fabric, usually of cotton, linen, or silk, with a pattern woven into it.
 Daybed Ensemble - Includes comforter 55 in. L x 97 in. W, bedskirt, and sham covers (configuration varies by pattern). Width measured from back to front.
 Down - The three-dimensional clusters that are found under the feathers of geese or ducks.
 Duvet - A duvet is similar to a comforter and/or a quilt in that a duvet is also composed of two layers of fabric with an insulation substance between. However, the difference between a duvet and a comforter and/or quilt is that the duvet is to be placed inside a duvet cover. A comforter and/or quilt can be used as independent bed covers
 Duvet Cover - A giant pillowcase-like covering that fits over a duvet. It is open on one end, typically closed by buttons, ties, Velcro, or a zipper.
 Egyptian Cotton - Cotton grown exclusively in Egypt and the longest fiber staple in the world. This means less linting, more durability, more luster and a softer feel.
 Ensemble - Includes comforter, bedskirt and sham covers.
 Euro Pillow - 26 in. Square stuffed decorative pillow.
 Feather Bed - Feather –filled sacks made to fit under or on top of the fitted sheet
 Fiber - The basic entity, either natural or manufactured, which is twisted into yarns, and then used in the production of a fabric.
 Fill - The material used to stuff items such as comforters or pillows. Natural down and man-made synthetics are examples of fill materials.
 Fill Power - A measure of how many cubic inches one ounce of down will loft and expand to fill an empty space. Fill power usually ranges from 500 to 800 cubic inches, with 625 or greater considered excellent. A higher fill power means that the down will loft more, insulate better and provide greater warmth and comfort.
 Fitted Sheet - Has pockets at each of the four corners and an elastic band around the sheet.
 Flat Sheet - Hemmed on four sides usually with a larger hem or cuff at the top of the sheet
 Full - Comforter dimensions 92 in. L x 77 in. W.
 Full Extra Long - Sheet Set dimensions are 54 in. x 80 in.
 Gingham - A plan woven cotton and/or synthetic fabric. Most common patterns include checks, stripes or plaids. Available in a variety of colors and pastels against a white or ecru background.
 Jacquard Weave - A weave structure that creates a variety of patterns, such as damasks, florals and geometric. Jacquard weaves have a varying drape ability and durability depending on which fibers are used.
 King - Comforter dimensions are 97 in. L x 113 in. W.
 Linen - A fabric made from linen fibers obtained from inside the woody stem of the flax plant. Linen fibers are much stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Linen fabrics are very cool and absorbent, but wrinkle very easily, unless blended with manufactured fibers. Linen is one of the oldest textile fibers.
 Loft - is measured by fill power and is the ability of down to fill an empty space.
 Merino - A type of wool that originates from purebred Merino sheep
 Micro Modal - A natural fiber made of 100% beechwood cellulose.
 Microfiber Fabrics - Microfiber specifically refers to any synthetic fiber that weighs less than one denier per filament. To illustrate this nearly microscopic scale, consider that a filament of this fiber more than five miles long weighs less than one gram. Such filaments are much, much finer than a human hair. Because of the size of this fiber, many can be woven closely together to create a very tight, dense fabric. This density allows for more resistance to wear and staining. Because synthetic fibers are typically not as porous as natural fibers, further resistance to damage from dirt and spills is an added characteristic.
 Olympic Queen - See Queen Extra Wide.
 Organic - produced without the use of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants or pesticides.
 Percale - smooth fabric: a smooth-textured closely woven cotton or polyester fabric used for bedsheets and clothing. It sometimes has a glazed finish.
 Pima Cotton - A generic term for extra long staple cotton. (ELS) that is 1 3/8 in. or longer.
 Pique - A crisp medium-weight fabric, either knit or woven, with raised dobby designs. Pronounced "pikay".
 Plain Weave - A weave structure that has horizontal and vertical threads woven in a simple over under pattern with no variations such as twists or knots.
 Polyester - A manufactured fiber. It is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength, excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dry quickly.
 Queen - Comforter dimensions are 97 in. L x 97 in. W. Sheet set dimensions are 60 in. x 80 in.
 Queen Extra Wide - Sheet set including dimensions are 66 in. x 80 in.
 Quilt - Created by placing a layer of cotton or some other fill between two layers of fabric. Held in place by stitching or sealing in a regular, consistent, all-over pattern.
 Rayon - A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters, or other vegetable matter.
 Sateen Weave - A weave structure having single vertical threads woven over four to eight horizontal threads and under one horizontal thread. This weaving method gives the fabric a smooth finish and shows off shiny threads.
 Satin Weave - A basic weave, characterized by long floats of yarn on the face of the fabric. The yarns are interlaced in such a manner that there is no definite, visible pattern of interlacing and, in this manner; a smooth and somewhat shiny surface effect is achieved.
 Sham Cover - A decorative pillow covering with envelope back closure.
 Shearing - The process used to cut off surface fibers on fabrics.
 Snuggler Set - Includes a comforter with two fitted corners to hug the bed and a 200 thread count sheeting weight back, coordinating sham cover(s).
 Split King - Used for adjustable beds. Sheet set dimensions are 78 in. x 80 in. Includes one King flat sheet, two fitted sheets, and two pillowcases.
 Super Pack - Includes comforter, bedskirt, sham covers, tri pillow pack, euro covers, and euro insert pillow stuffers.
 Super Premium Pack - Includes comforter, bedskirt, sham covers, tri pillow pack, euro covers, euro insert pillow stuffers, and a complete Maxicale 200 sheet set.
 Terry Cloth - A typical uncut pile weave fabric. This fabric is formed by using tow sets of warp yarns. One set of warp yarns is under very little tension; when the filling yarns are packed into place, these loose yards are pushed backward along with the filling yarns, and loops are formed.
 Terry Velour - A pile weave cotton fabric with an uncut pile on one side and a cut pile on the reverse side. Terry velour is valued for its soft, luxurious hand.
 Thread Count - Measured by counting the number of threads per inch in the woven fabric in both directions of the weave (these directions are referred to as warp and weft). Generally, the higher the thread count, the silkier and lighter the sheets. (See end of glossary for outline)
 Ticking - A tightly woven, very durable fabric, usually made of cotton, and used for recovering mattresses, box springs and pillows. Ticking may be of launderable fabric, and is usually removable. Down filled pillows require closely woven ticking fabric and calendered finish to prevent the fine down fibers from coming through the top or bottom layers.
 Tri Pillow Pack - includes three decorative pillows of varying styles.
 Twin - Comforter dimensions are 92 in. L x 63 in. W.
 Twin Extra Long - Sheet set dimensions are 39 in. x 80 in.
 Viscose - The most common type of rayon.
 Warp - In woven fabric, the yarns that run lengthwise and are interwoven with the fill (weft) yarns.
 Weft - In woven fabric, the filling yarns that run perpendicular to the warp yarns.
 Wool - Usually associated with fiber or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or lamb. However, the term "wool" can also apply to all animal hair fibers, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers of the camel, alpaca, llama, or vicuna.