Chalet Shop’s Guide to Choosing Bed Linen

This guide will take you through the different terms that you will come across when you are shopping for bed linen and explains what each of them means.


Pillow cases

A Housewife pillow case is the same size as the pillow inside it.  An Oxford Edge pillow case has a border piece all the way around and would usually sit on top of a Housewife pillow. 


Fitted sheets are elasticated which make them easy to put onto a mattress and they stay in place throughout the night.  Make sure you buy a fitted sheet that will fit your mattress – some are deeper than others and a mattress topper can also increase the depth

Flat Sheets can also be used as bottom sheets, particularly for deeper mattresses.  If you are using a top sheet under blankets or a duvet, then choose a flat sheet. 

Duvet Covers

Like pillow cases, duvet covers can come with an Oxford Edge.  Most duvet covers are standard without the extra border.



This is the most widely used fabric for bed linen.  It is inexpensive and easy to launder.  Percale cotton with a 200 thread count is perfect for children’s bed linen as it is soft , hardwearing and easy to launder.Egyptian Cotton

This is well-known to be a luxurious fabric that makes excellent bed linen.  It is grown in Egypt but can be fabricated elsewhere.  Italy is regarded as the country that produces some of the finest Egyptian Cotton fabrics.

The thread count measures the number of threads per square inch.  As a general rule, the finer the thread, the higher thread count.  A high thread count does not always mean the highest quality however.  The quality of the yarn itself is crucial.  A 200 thread count cotton pillow case made with high quality yarn will feel softer to the skin than a 400 thread count cotton pillow case made from lower quality yarn.  Thread counts can go up to 1000 and above.  The higher thread counts become impractical for hospitality use, as by their very nature, they are harder to launder and maintain.

Easycare Cotton

Easycare cotton is a blend of cotton and polyester.  The combination creates linen that is easy to launder and requires little ironing.  The quality of these fabrics varies enormously and depends in part upon the ratio of cotton to polyester.   The higher the cotton content, the better the feel of the fabric.



The term Percale describes a close simple over and under weave. It has a smooth matt look.


This weave has more yarn surface on the face of the cloth (4 over, one under) giving a softer and more lustrous look resembling satin.



A simple and classic way to provide subtle detail to bed linen.  It comprises a single or double row of embroidered cords around the edge of a piece.

Pin tucks

A high quality bed linen piece will have crisp 90 degree angles.  This is achieved using tiny pin tucks.

Embroidery & Dye

Bed linens can be finished with hand embroidered designs and/or can be dyed different colours.