Choosing sheets isn't the easiest of exercises in the modern day due to the sheer abundance of options.
However with a little bit of advice you can safely navigate the choices and settle on the sheets that are best for you.
There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing bed sheets.
You have size, material, weave, manufacturing techniques and thread count. You have to weigh them all up together and then go with what you feel is best.
The main material for organic sheets is cotton. Cotton has a variety of different types however Egyptian is the best.
Egyptian cotton is a type of cotton grown exclusively in the Nile valley. It is world renowned for being the highest quality cotton in existence. Egyptian cotton is the traditional choice for people looking for luxury.
Thread count refers to how many threads there are per square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count the more luxurious the sheets feel. This is because there is a tighter weave.
The thread count is important, but it isn't the most important factor when choosing sheets. The quality of the material plays a bigger role. For example a lower thread count sheet made of Egyptian cotton will be better than a higher thread count of other cotton.
Any sheet with a thread count over 200 is a good quality sheet. Anything over 300 is right up there and 400+ is top of the line. The higher the thread count is the higher the comfort level will be, but also the higher the price will be. It is up to you to decide what balance you are seeking.
A higher thread count also holds up better after it is washed time and time again.
Weave is where some people start to get a little confused. This refers to the way a certain material is stitched. It is possible to take one material and produce several different weaves.
Sateen: If you take cotton and stitch it four over and one under you get sateen.
Pinpoint: If you take cotton and stitch two over and one under you get pinpoint.
Percale: One over one under stiching with any material becomes percale.
Many merchants will describe their sheets only as "sateen" and won't actually explain that it is cotton woven in a certain way. So you need to educate yourself so you know what you are looking at when choosing your sheets.
With a weave you are really considering two things: comfort and durability. Unfortunately these trade off against each other. Because the higher the level of comfort you go the less durable the sheets will be.
A weave that is four over and one under will be more comfortable and soft than a weave that is two over and one under. But because more stitching is exposed to the surface it becomes less durable and more fragile. Percale is the most long lasting because it is one over one under stitching.
You might also see some sheets referred to as jacquard. This refers to a decorative pattern that has been woven into the sheet.
It is good to understand some of the manufacturing jargon when choosing sheets in case you get confused by what you are reading.
Combed: This is a way of weeding out less desirable cotton fibers. By combing the short and uneven fibers will be removed, leaving behind the long, straight and even fibers which will create a strong yarn.
Flannel: Flannel can be made out of wool or cotton or a blend of both. However it is usually made out of cotton. The unique part about flannel is that is has been brushed in order to create a raised and fluffy surface. This is known as "napping."
Jersey Knit: Rather than being woven this is knitted, so you won't find a thread count. It can be made from wool or cotton. The finished product has two distinctive different sides, one smooth and soft, the other with a textured feel.
First of all you need to make sure you are getting sheets that fit your mattress. There's not much use in choosing sheets that don't fit.
I'm not talking about length and width; you can be safe with the standard sizes such as single, king single, queen and king.
I'm talking about depth. Mattresses can vary somewhat in the distance from top to bottom.
You need to measure the depth of your mattress and then allow a few extra inches to be able to tuck the sheet under. The easiest solution is to make sure you get a fitted sheet that is a few inches deeper than your bed.
Some merchants offer "deep" sheets. This means the sheet has extra depth to accomodate mattresses with larger dimensions. A standard depth is 7 to 9 inches, while a deep one is 10 to 15 inches.