ASK AN EX­PERT

CUT­TING THE CON­FU­SION ABOUT CHOOS­ING SHEETS

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QIlove the idea of sleep­ing on beau­ti­ful sheets but there are so many op­tions. What’s the best way to choose sheets?

ACon­sid­er­ing you spend about eight hours a night be­tween your sheets, it’s worth in­vest­ing in a good qual­ity set. Not only be­cause they’ll look smart and last a long time, but they should feel good too.

Tra­cie Ellis (pic­tured), the cre­ative di­rec­tor for the Aura by Tra­cie Ellis bed linen and home­wares range, is pas­sion­ate about qual­ity sheets.

“There is a huge dif­fer­ence in qual­ity and com­fort when it comes to sheets,” she says.

“It has be­come quite a con­fus­ing pur­chase as sheets have been mar­keted as hav­ing a very high thread count in an ef­fort to con­vince cus­tomers of their qual­ity, but with no men­tion of the ac­tual yarn qual­ity, thread count re­ally doesn’t mean much any­more.”

Tra­cie is a big fan of nat­u­ral fi­bres, say­ing they breathe, they’re soft and they’re warm in win­ter and cool in sum­mer.

“Al­ways choose nat­u­ral fab­rics, steer away from any­thing that con­tains man-made fi­bres be­cause it sim­ply doesn’t breathe and will not give you a rest­ful night’s sleep,” she says. “In­stead, go for 100 per cent cot­ton or linen/ cot­ton blends.

“Our linen cot­ton is my pref­er­ence as the linen fi­bres re­lax over time and the prod­ucts sim­ply get bet­ter with age.”

Give me the sheets

Tra­cie says there are sev­eral types of cot­ton fab­rics avail­able for sheets. “Cot­ton fab­ric is made from short, medium or long sta­ple fi­bres,” she says. “These fi­bres are then combed and wo­ven into fab­ric. The best qual­ity sheets are wo­ven from the high­est qual­ity cot­ton fi­bres — long-sta­ple combed fi­bres. “The shorter the fi­bre, the harsher the sheets and the shorter the life span of the prod­uct.” In con­trast, Tra­cie says thread count is mea­sured by count­ing the threads, which is both the warp (length) and weft (width) within a small sec­tion of the fab­ric. “Thread count has be­come a mis­un­der­stood and overused term, and is cer­tainly not the mea­sure of qual­ity it’s thought to be,” she says. “In some in­stances, 1000TC (thread count) sheets can be of a lesser qual­ity than 250TC sheets.

Tra­cie says linen sheets aren’t mea­sured by thread count at all.

“Linen is a lux­u­ri­ous fi­bre that’s nat­u­rally thicker and stronger than cot­ton, so if you were to mea­sure them by thread count, it would sound low by com­par­i­son,” she says.

“Ig­nore the thread count al­to­gether and touch and feel sheets when you’re shopping as it re­ally comes down to per­sonal pref­er­ence.”

Tra­cie says it’s im­por­tant to en­sure you buy sheets that ac­tu­ally fit your bed.

“Sheets have their most wear and tear from not fit­ting around a mat­tress and from be­ing ag­i­tated in the laun­dry,” she says.

“Look af­ter your sheets by wash­ing them in a good qual­ity de­ter­gent on a cool cy­cle.

“We rec­om­mend wash­ing and dry­ing your bed linen inside out, out of di­rect sun­light at least every fort­night.”

Mai­son sheets and Sun­set bed linen from Aura by Tra­cie Ellis.

Choose bed linen by how it feels to touch, like the lat­est range from Sheri­dan.

Good qual­ity bed linen should get bet­ter with every wash, like these sheets and ac­ces­sories from Aura.

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