What is cotton and how is it made?
Cotton is a natural product, derived from the cotton plant. This plant needs a lot of sunlight, which is why it grows mainly on large plantations in warmer countries. To put it simply: when white bolls appear on the cotton plants, they are picked using a special machine. The cotton bolls are then taken to the spinning mill, where the long and short cotton fibres are separated. These fibres are spun into yarns, which are then woven into the final cotton product (T-shirts, duvet covers, etc.).
The advantages of cotton fabric?
Cotton fabric has several interesting properties: it is soft, strong, moisture-absorbent and breathable. The fact that it is a very breathable fabric is one of the biggest advantages of cotton. The good air permeability ensures that the heat can easily escape and your body can cool off much better. As a result, cotton has a limited heat-insulating capacity. This makes a 100% cotton duvet cover wonderful to sleep in, especially in the summer months.
Since it is such a strong material, cotton duvet covers also have a long lifespan. This is especially true if you choose high-quality cotton. The length of the cotton fibres used plays a very important role in determining the quality of a cotton duvet cover. Cotton with short fibres is mostly used to produce cheaper bedding. This bedding feels less soft to the touch, as it has many ends. Each end of a fibre feels rough, and it is also less durable. Long-fibre cotton, also known as ‘long-staple’ cotton, makes for very soft and strong bedding, which is less prone to pilling.
Thread count (TC) also plays a role. This indicates the number of threads used per square inch. The higher the thread count, the softer and more durable the bedding.
But what is cotton sateen?
We often get questions like, “Is satin cotton?” or “Is satin made from cotton?” or even “Is satin warmer than cotton?”. All these questions indicate that many people think satin is a fabric, but that is not the case. Satin is a type of weave and not a material.
Please note that today ‘satin’ is also very often used to refer to the shiny fabric made from a synthetic polyester fibre. This fabric is not comparable with cotton sateen. It is a synthetic material, so it is not breathable or absorbent and it will make you sweat faster. Also have a look at our dedicated article about the difference between silk and satin for more information!
When we talk about a cotton sateen duvet cover, we actually mean a cotton duvet cover with a satin weave. Because of this different weaving technique, it often seems as if it is a different fabric, but a cotton sateen duvet cover is also made of 100% cotton.
There are two directions in the weaving process: warp and weft. When weaving a normal cotton duvet cover, the weaving technique consists of 1 thread up, 1 thread down. This is called a line weave. A satin weave usually features 3 to 7 threads up and 1 thread down. This weaving technique has a number of additional advantages. High-quality cotton sateen is usually made with long-staple cotton fibres. So you get the best of both worlds.
The advantages of cotton sateen, you ask?
A cotton sateen duvet cover is made of 100% cotton, and therefore has the key properties of cotton. But thanks to the satin weave, it has a few extra advantages:
- It has a slight sheen, which gives it a luxurious look.
- It is very supple, ‘crackles’ a little less than regular cotton and feels soft and smooth.
- Cotton sateen feels a little warmer than regular cotton because the yarns are knit closer together.
- Cotton sateen is not a non-iron fabric but it is easier to iron than regular cotton. Are you looking for a non-iron duvet cover? Then read this article!
- The weave allows the skin and hair to glide over the fabric better, but this does not compare to the benefits that a silk pillowcase offers for your skin and hair. Are you looking for a pillowcase that gives you a beauty treatment while you sleep? Read all about the benefits of a silk pillowcase here!