We are passionate about sheets. In fact, sheets are such a big deal that we’ll often pick a hotel based on the quality of the sheets (and it’s the first thing we talk about when we meet up in the morning). We’re so picky about sheets that although we’ve wanted to carry some good ones in our store, we couldn’t find any that fit all of the Huff’ington criteria: Super soft, all cotton, high quality, environmentally friendly, unique, durable and oh so pretty.
And then along came Maddy! As the owner of the premier luxury-rental agency in Paris, whose apartments compete with the fanciest hotel chains, she knows a thing or two about bedding. She is so passionate about quality sheets that it took her five years to design and source Paris Perfect sheets to perfection. Knowing that we are equally picky, and that we wouldn’t carry anything that we’re not 100% passionate about, she kindly offered us the chance to vet them … at a greatly reduced price.
Testing sheets is a fun exercise! Little by little, we’d come in every day and say, “Have you tried them yet?” “OMG, they’re incredible!” “So soft, so pretty, such a great fit” “… and the packaging is pretty!” Truly, we’ve all loved them. But before we could sign on completely, we had a few things to learn about sheets, to better understand what makes these Paris Perfect sheets so different and special. So we asked the expert:
- First off Maddy, how do you know so much about linens?
My first job out of college was on the Macy’s Executive Training Program and I was the assistant buyer for sheets. I loved it! It was the beginning of a new era, where sheets could be patterned, embroidered and sold in lots of colors to go with your tastes and ideas. Interestingly, sheets had just come into their own in terms of luxury quality and design; it would be several years before manufacturers started to create the beautiful sheets you can buy today!
- So what is the most important thing to look for in buying sheets?
I look for two things: long staple cotton and single ply. And then I look at the thread count. In my opinion the best sheets are made of single ply 100% long-staple cotton, and the best thread count is 450. They’re the softest and most durable, they are true luxury. And that’s our Paris Perfect sheets!
- Why is long staple, single ply cotton important?
If the package does not say long staple, single ply 100% cotton, I walk away. The best fabrics are made out of long staple cotton – and only long staple cotton can be woven as single ply. If the fabric is short staple cotton, you won’t see any description about the kind of cotton at all (ie long staple, medium or short staple) because experts know if they say medium or short staple, it is the cheapest cotton.
And along the same lines, if the cotton is stated as single ply then the yarn is woven from long staple cotton. Because only long staple cotton is long enough to be woven as one thread, or single ply.
If the package says your sheets are 2 or 3 ply (or more), even if they say 100% cotton and a huge thread count – walk away. 2 or 3 ply cotton fabric is made from shorter cotton fibres and have to be twisted together (2 ply or 3 ply) in order to make the yarn for the sheet. The problem with 2 or 3 ply cotton is the short fibres pull away which causes the sheet to pill and wear out faster.
- Wow! So what does thread count really mean?
There are some lies about thread count and what’s why it’s important to find out if the sheets are made with single ply (long staple) cotton first. Basically thread count is measured by counting the number of threads contained in one square inch of fabric or one square centimeter, including both the length (warp) and width (weft) threads. High quality luxury sheet manufacturers believe that 450 thread count is about the best, softest sheets you can buy. Anything more is generally a faked number.
- That’s funny because I always thought the higher the thread count, the better the sheets?
Actually, no. If you’ve ever purchased 800 ply or 1,000 ply sheets, you may have wondered why they became rough and pilled. Here’s why: Unscrupulous sheet companies multiplied the real thread count times the ply – or the number of cotton fibers that were twisted together to make a single thread. So if the thread count was really 200 per square inch, manufacturers who used cheap 3 ply cotton to weave the sheet — multiplied 200 thread count (real) x 3 (ply, the cheap short cotton) and came up with 600 thread count. That’s fake and the sheet will not last as long and it’ll start to pill.
When you read something like 800 or 1,000 ply cotton, beware. It’s extremely difficult if not impossible to weave 1,000 ply cotton. Our sheets are single ply, long staple 100% cotton and they are 450 thread count, which accounts for their softness and durability!
- What is the difference between sateen and percale and why did you go with percale?
It’s basically a personal choice. Percale is woven as one thread over and one under for both the warp and weft (the length and the width). I personally like its slightly crisp feel, and the total softness that you feel on the top or the bottom. I personally feel it lasts long.
Sateen is woven two threads over and one under, which makes it much softer on one side – but actually harsher on the other. So it’s great on one side, but I don’t like the feel on the other.
- You mentioned that your sheets are kind to the environment.
I wanted our sheets to be Oeko Tex certified, a worldwide certification for environmentally friendly and responsible manufacturing standards, free of harmful chemicals. So not only is the cotton among the best you can buy, so is the entire manufacturing process.
- By the way, the embroidery is gorgeous and bravo on the beautiful design! But will it hold up over time?
The embroidery is color fast mercerized cotton thread so it won’t run or fade. But most of all is the detail of the embroidery itself: A complicated Eiffel Tower which is beautifully reproduced and three lines that end before the Eiffel. The middle line is thinner than the two outer ones. It’s much easier to have the thread go all the way across because there’d be no thread to cut and it wouldn’t unravel. But we wanted this pretty design to end short of the Eiffel Tower so it framed it.
We tried different factories for almost five years until we found the right one. Most of the time, they couldn’t even produce one line which ended cleanly at the right spot. The factory we finally found does not outsource their embroidery; they have the top end Japanese made embroidery machines which are able to embroider with an accuracy and quality like none other.
- We noticed that some of the sheets have hidden green thread on the bottom , and others have red. What happened there?
Actually that’s something we insisted on to help differentiate the sizes in your linen closet! King sets have red thread, Queen sets have green thread, and that way you won’t get mixed up.
- That is so clever! Do you have any other secrets to share?
These are the exact sheet fabric used by the Ritz Carlton and several other luxury hotels.
We’ve seen, felt, tried, slept in, washed, vetted and loved some spectacular new sheets. And now Maddy is kindly extending her introductory price to our clients for a limited time. So we are able to offer our clients the chance to sleep in sumptuous, all cotton, high quality sheets that don’t just meet Paris Perfect’s exacting standards but actually surpass our pickiest expectations … at a very low introductory price! For us, it’s the next best thing to being in Paris. And that’s what we call sweet dreams!
P.S. If you’d like to take advantage of the introductory offer, you can purchase off our website or come in to Huff Harrington Home and feel the sheets for yourself.