Sheet snob seeks advice ...
October 31, 2013 4:54 PM   Subscribe

I tend to like high thread-count cotton sheets (at least 400). Of course, they're usually pretty pricey. Looking for alternatives.

Tried the jersey sheets; don't like 'em. Ditto with flannel.

I recently saw a this set of microfiber sheets (queen size) for $25. Anybody have experience with these? Are they comfy? If you've used microfiber sheets, how do they rate compared to cotton?

posted by jrchaplin to Home & Garden (23 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I have had bad luck buying random sheets online. I'd buy them from a well-known store (The Company Store, Garnet Hill, etc.) online without touching them first, but otherwise I wouldn't. I have heard that "thread count" is not a hard-and-fast measure, a lot of companies just use thinner threads and jack up the "thread count."
posted by radioamy at 5:03 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Define "pricey." It's been a while, but at one point I had decent luck buying high thread count sheets on Overstock. Or, if you have outlet malls nearby, try something mid-range like a Ralph Lauren store; I also got good sheets at a Ralph Lauren outlet once. Usually they have small stitching errors or similar, but I personally do not care about that. YMMV.

That said, I am only sort of picky about sheets; I do prefer high thread count cotton but can certainly live with flannel, especially when it's cold. So these may not be good enough for you. Plus they will only be about half off the full retail price. You might have quite a tough time finding nice sheets if $25/set is your baseline, but you can probably do it for $50.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 5:18 PM on October 31, 2013

TJ Maxx/Homegoods have huge bedding sections, you might want to check them out.
posted by Fig at 5:24 PM on October 31, 2013

a lot of companies just use thinner threads and jack up the "thread count."

Wait, isn't that the very definition of thread count - threads per inch? So of course they raise thread count by using thinner threads. Smaller threads = finer texture = less coarse-feeling.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 5:25 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't remember a brand, but I used to have sheets made out of bamboo that were the softest, most luxurious sheets ever.
posted by Weeping_angel at 5:26 PM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

2nding TJ Maxx, I've gotten two great sheet sets there in the $20-30 range that run $60+ typically.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 6:06 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Keep an eye on the white sales in January.
posted by michellenoel at 6:23 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also: if you aren't on the mailing list for Bed Bath and Beyond, consider that. I get email and snail mail coupons. Just got one in the mail today that I've been waiting for - we need a new comforter.
posted by michellenoel at 6:28 PM on October 31, 2013

I have microfiber sheets on the beds at the cabin--so only used infrequently. They are fine for that, but I would never use them on our beds at home. There is something about them--I wouldn't say "slimy," exactly, but something is not quite right. The version I have don't fit very well, either, but that might be the brand. They definitely are not comparable to high count cotton sheets; not even close to regular cotton/polyester blend. We have had bamboo which were nice. My favorite sheets are 100% cotton from Target. Really, go to TJMaxx, Macy's, Bed, Bath, or anywhere you can touch the sheets. And where you can return them if you don't like them.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 6:51 PM on October 31, 2013

To clarify, what I meant was that "high thread count" used to mean that they were automatically high quality and soft. Now manufacturers are passing off crappier sheets as "high thread count" but they are not as high quality as you would expect. And Consumerist has confirmed that thread count isn't really a meaningful indicator of quality.
posted by radioamy at 7:03 PM on October 31, 2013

So you know where I'm coming from I like wamsutta all-cotton sheets. I don't remember the exact count though they can get pricey. I tried all-cotton sheets from IKEA and couldn't believe how much I liked them considering the cost savings. I can't remember the exact name as I think they changed the ones I bought. Your best bet if you try them is to go to the IKEA store so you can feel the sample fabric. Also use those BB&B coupons and shop the winter white sales in January.
posted by wildflower at 7:15 PM on October 31, 2013

If you have a Tuesday Morning nearby, they have high-quality sheets and bedding at deep discounts.
posted by candyland at 7:26 PM on October 31, 2013

I find getting cotton sheets in a sateen weave makes them feel more luxurious than they really are. It is to do with how the threads on the sheet are woven and it makes them feel all pricier than they are. It takes a couple of washings to stop them from being super slippery and to feel lovely and soft. I have found that even cheaper sheets feel upmarket no matter the thread count if they are sateen weave. The current pair we have I got from a local supermarket chain and paid a grand total of $40 for a king sized set, they feel just as good as the ones from the posh hotels to me. I think they were a pretty low thread count, I know it was nothing outrageous.
posted by wwax at 7:33 PM on October 31, 2013

Best answer: I don't know if its just the sheets I've bought, but...
The microfiber sheets I've tried have been dog fur magnets. I have a German shepherd mix who sheds, so some fur is to be expected. But this was nuts. The fur just sticks to the sheets and gets embedded in the fibers. I had to get rid of the microfiber sheets and go back to cotton.
That's my warning, if you've got furry pets.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:58 PM on October 31, 2013

I, too, like quality sheets. I do not like the microfiber, or at least the ones that I have purchased. They seem flimsy to me, although soft. They seem difficult to put on the bed for some reason.
I am a JCPenney fan. If they have a Home store near you, that is the best place to watch for sales. They usually have a nice selection and you can feel the sheets. Personally, I will never buy sheets again without being able to touch them.
posted by furtheryet at 8:01 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Microfiber sheets feel terrible to me. Bamboo sheets have the same problem as modal T-shirts, which is that they get balled-up and crappy after washing.

I've found Italian brands (Sferra, Frette, and Pratesi) at both Marshalls and TJ Maxx. If you love sheets, spending $100-$200 for the high-end stuff is a worthwhile splurge. For crisper cotton, the Ralph Lauren Home sheets (particularly the prints) are the best for about $40.
posted by purpleclover at 8:09 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am a huge fan of these, but they wear small holes quicker than cotton. I also love the pure beech jersey sheets.
posted by slateyness at 8:19 PM on October 31, 2013

Best answer: Microfiber is polyester. It has a soft, silky hand but very little breathability. It does not feel crisp or dry like high-quality cotton; it can actually feel a little sticky. If you are a hot sleeper, you will hate it.

TJ Maxx/Home Goods is great for high-quality linens at way way off retail ($50-$75 for queen sheet sets), if you don't have a devotion to a particular brand. It can be infuriating to shop there but patience can pay off.

Wait, isn't that the very definition of thread count - threads per inch? So of course they raise thread count by using thinner threads. Smaller threads = finer texture = less coarse-feeling.

The thread count confusion is around the practice of counting each ply in a given thread as a separate thread—if the yarns used to weave a fabric with a hundred and fifty warp threads and a hundred and fifty weft threads in a given inch are two-ply yarns, bam, you have a 600-count fabric, not a 300-count. A 400 thread count (200 warp and 200 weft threads per inch) is about as high in actual thread count as it gets.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:21 PM on October 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

Microfiber sheets are a blend of polyester (as in plastic). I find they sleep very hot and hate them. I usually will purchase 100% cotton sheets with a minimum of 300 threat count. My newest indulgence is Linen sheets. That is the sheets are made of 100% linen, not cotton. I have some from Pottery Barn and have also pick up few sets on ebay.

If you want to make them yourself, Gray Lines Linen sells bed sheeting in linen wide enough to make sheets. It's not hard to sew your own sheets. You basically make two flat sheets and use one of them as the bottom sheet, tucked in with hospital corners.
posted by JujuB at 9:44 PM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

I ordered antique French linen sheets from sellers on Etsy - they are cheaper than most manchester for sale in department stores, and once you've had linen sheets you realise, holy crap, they are the best thing in the world for sleeping under/on.
posted by honey-barbara at 12:27 AM on November 1, 2013

Sheets that I've purchased made of Supima cotton (in the 250-300 thread count range) have lasted for years. The first few weeks they were a bit stiff, but after a few washes they have been soft and luxurious.
posted by apennington at 7:08 AM on November 1, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I am indeed a hot sleeper, so it sounds like I want to avoid microfiber.
posted by jrchaplin at 4:32 PM on November 1, 2013

Spend the money and get them from Costco (or Lands End if you don't have a Costco membership/friend-with-membership). You may pay more than if you just found bargain sheets at Bed Bath and Beyond, but the return policy is great if you hate 'em (even after you wash them, even if it's six months down the line) and you're already getting a good deal.
posted by ariela at 6:47 AM on December 17, 2013

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