Most cotton fabric is produced using a one under one over weave. Sateen is a variation of weaving Egyptian cotton fabric which uses a one under and four over weaving process. This process exposes more threads at the surface of the fabric which gives the fabric a very soft and silken feel. Sateen should not be confused with satin which is made from silk instead of cotton fiber. In order to achieve a softer feel, many sateen producers will use harsh chemical treatments. Unlike short staple cotton like upland and 100 percent Egyptian cotton fibers are so soft, chemical processing is not needed.
Egyptian cotton sheets are as beautiful as they are soft and durable. Available in a rainbow of decorative colors and patterns, 100 percent Egyptian cotton sheets will add comfort and style to any room decor.
Competition between imported Egyptian cotton and domestically produced cotton varieties is heating up. In 2001, growers of Egyptian cotton took a big step in the branding and promotion and the results have been significant. Adopting a logo that promotes products made from 100% Egyptian cotton, has driven sales in the U.S. market to new highs. Not surprisingly, the logo features a pyramid shape, symbolizing the Great Pyramid of Giza. The center of the pyramid features a cotton boll, the fiber blossom of the cotton plant.
Before the logo was adopted, exports to the U.S. of bed linens made from 100% Egyptian cotton were far below $5 million annually. Since the adoption of logo and expanded product labeling, imports of Egyptian cotton products to the U.S. has grown to well over $20 million annually.
Bed sheets and other linens made from Egyptian cotton compete directly with similar items made from Pima cotton fiber. Pima cotton is grown throughout South America and the American Southwest. Like Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton fibers are long stranded and very soft. Growers of Pima cotton, as well producers of Pima cotton products also introduced a licensing and certification program similar to the Egyptian program.
As with any attempt at branding and labeling, there is a risk that the labeling will become a target for unauthorized duplication. The intentional mis identification of certified products can occur at several levels. Unscrupulous producers may substitute lower quality fibers or use fibers that are not 100% Egyptian cotton.
Other producers may use a fabric sleight of hand. For example, a product content label may indicate that the loops of a terry cloth towel might be 100% Egyptian cotton without listing that the ground layer consists of other cotton types or generic fibers. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, a fabric content label must clearly state the weight of each fabric type by percentage. If the Egyptian cotton loops make up 50% of the fabric weight and Upland cotton is used for the ground layer, the product label must clearly indicate the percentage of Upland cotton.
A bargain price for a high quality item may be a red flag for consumers. If the price for Egyptian cotton linens seems too good to be true, it is. Buying 100% Egyptian bed sheets from a reliable and reputable source is one way for consumers to get what they pay for. Always look for the 100 percent Egyptian cotton label when shopping for bed sheets and other goods.