Barker Buyers Guide
From the experts in laundering fine linens
We at The Barker Collection aim to help guide you to make the right decisions when choosing your luxury bedding sets with important information to safe guard your investment when it comes to caring for your linen when laundering. After all, we have been laundering fine linens for decades, specialising in the care of fine bed linen for the Royal Family, homes to British gentry, luxury hotels, super yachts and private individuals throughout England. With many years of dealing with a huge variety of fabrics ranging in quality, it goes without saying that we have become experts in the process which has taught us what makes the perfect product and only the very best quality products qualify to join The Barker Collection.
Classic or Contemporary?
A good place to begin is to decide on the style that you are after. Do you want something that is classic and traditional or contemporary and modern? Decide what suits your personality and consider the environment and décor. When looking for clean white or cream bedding it’s easy to be overwhelmed when everything looks so similar.
Does Thread count matter?
Thread count simply refers to how many threads – lengthwise and widthwise – are woven into one square inch of fabric. With finer threads, more can be woven into each square inch and which produces in turn, a finer, softer and more flexible material. The higher the thread count, the higher the quality of the sheets. The thread count of basic or standard cotton is around 150 – good quality sheets start at 180 thread count and a count of 200 and higher is considered percale. Don’t assume the definition of luxurious bedding is always a high thread count. Whilst thread count is a consideration, there are features much more important to measuring comfort, quality, and value. This includes the type of cotton, the feel of the fabric and the nature of the finishing process.
It’s very important to measure your bed, mattress, duvet and pillows. Although double, king size, super king size and Emperor beds are popular description of the size, there are no exact absolute measurements for beds with these names. How thick is your mattress? Do you have a mattress topper? There is nothing worse than an ill-fitting fitted sheet that keeps riding up revealing the mattress. Are your pillows regular, European or king-size, square of rectangular? And what are the exact sizes?
We use international sizing across all the Barker Ranges, whilst sometimes this varies from brand to brand our products use the standard sizing used by the worlds top hotels. Our fitted sheets are all deep at 15” and all our products are made with a 3% tolerance to allow for shrinkage in the first ten or so washes.
Barker Duvets Covers
Single 53″ x 79″ 135 x 200cm
Double 79″ x 79″ 200 x 200cm
King 91″ x 87″ 230 x 220cm
Large King N/A
Superking 102″ x 87″ 260 x 220cm
Emperor 118″ x 94″ 300 x 240cm
Oxford Standard 20″ x 30″ 50 x 75cm
Oxford Large 20″ x 35″ 50 x 90cm
Oxford Square 26″ x 26″ 65 x 65cm
Housewife Standard 20″ x 30″ 50 x 75cm
Barker Fitted Sheets
Single 35″ x 75″ x 15” 90 x 190cm
Double 55″ x 75″ x 15” 140 x 190cm
King 59″ x 79″ x 15” 150 x 200cm
Large King 67″ x 79″ x 15” 170 x 200cm
Superking 71″ x 79″ x 15” 180 x 200cm
Emperor 81″ x 81″x 15” 205 x 205cm
Barker Flat Sheets
Single 75″ x 114″ 190 x 290cm
Double 91″ x 114″ 230 x 290cm
King 108″ x 114″ 275 x 290cm
Large King N/A
Superking 118″ x 114″ 300 x 290cm
Emperor 130″ x 114″ 330 x 290cm
Fabrics & Weaves
The way in which fabric is woven also has an effect on how it feels. Cotton sateen sheets are frequently softer than those with a percale weave. A satin weave has more warp threads on the top surface, resulting in a silk-like touch and attractive luster or glossy sheen. As to which is better, there is no answer as it’s a matter of personal taste; some people prefer the crispness of a percale weave, others like the softness of the sateen.
Choose a plain weave if you are looking for crispness. The simplest of all weaves and most common in manufactured products today. It has a medium weight and is firm and smooth but with no gloss. The warp (horizontal thread) and weft (vertical) are aligned in a basic crisscross pattern, overlapped. Both sides of the weave are identical, with each thread giving maximum amount of support to the adjacent threads making the texture of the fabric strong and fine, with friction and stress on the warp yarn reduced. Plain weave is simple and fuss free, creating a light, crisp and comfortable finish which washes very well.
Choose a percale weave if you are looking for crispness with a finer weave. The percale weave is much tighter than a plain weave; the fabric is made from both carded and combed yarns. Percale is still a plain weave with a thread count of 200 or higher and is noticeably tighter than the standard type of weave used for bed sheets. Percale sheeting offers a smooth, soft, silk-like feel yet with a matte look. A crisp and comfortable finish, that launders very well.
Choose sateen weave if you are looking for softness against the skin. The sateen weave tends to be used with cotton or rayon and produces a luxurious yet strong finish. In Sateen weave, no twill direction is formed on the fabric surface; the weave is a comparatively looser structure than a plain and twill weave. Featuring a ‘weft face’ construction, where the surface is almost entirely made up of vertical threads, it features a silky, glossy front and a plain, dull reverse. Giving a softer and more lustrous look to the front surface that resembles satin.
Satin weave typically has a glossy surface and a dull back. The satin weave is characterized by four or more fill or weft yarns floating over a warp yarn or vice versa, four warp yarns floating over a single weft yarn. Therefore it has the least amount of interlacing between the warp and weft as possible. Its construction is very similar to sateen except that it is made up of a ‘warp face’ weave, where the surface is almost entirely made up of horizontal threads, which lay flatter for a fine finish giving the satin fabric a high luster. Many variations can be made of the basic satin weave including a granite weave and a check weave. Satin weaves, twill weaves, and plain weaves are the three basic types of weaving by which the majority of woven products are formed.
A jacquard weave has a real luster for drapery with contrasts that catch the light, however it can have snagging potential but is still more stable and resilient than the basic weaves. It is created on a special loom and is characterized by complex woven designs, often with large design repeats or tapestry effects. Fabrics commonly made by this method include brocade and damask. It involves raising warp threads independently to form a tactile pattern and, as a result, feels thicker and more substantial because of the extra threads used to form it. Jacquard is usually a higher price point as it involves much more time and skill for the Jacquard cards to produce a new pattern and the weaving operation is very slow.
Silk is a delightfully luxurious fabric with an enchanting appearance and is a favorite for those wishing to portray decadence, often considered to be a symbol of royalty, and, historically, silk was used primarily by the upper classes. The shimmering is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fiber, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors.
Silk is a natural protein fiber; it comes from silk worms, the larvae that they use to form their cocoons, which is woven to create textiles. One should remember that because dupion silk is a natural product, it is almost certain to have a few natural flaws.
Characteristics of Dupion Silk:
- Dupion silk is a light fabric, with a shimmering, crisp texture – it has natural flaws.
- It is very resistant to wrinkles and can hold a crease pretty well, making it easy to cut and sew. It is also good for beading and embroidery.
- The double-thread nature of the silk makes it stronger than other silk variants.
- It is known to have many lumpy, lateral strands of thread that are called slubs.
- The fabric is usually made without the use of any chemicals, which makes it ideal for many color dye variations.
Performance when laundering
Check the care instructions. It is very useful to read the care instructions before purchasing your bedding linen. You may dream of silk bed sheets but will you be able to dry-clean them every week? Do you know the prices for this service? One of the beauties of cotton is its ability to be laundered and finished well and regularly. Our advice is always to follow the care instructions the manufacturer provided – your bed linen will serve you longer and the nice feel of the fabric will be maintained throughout its lifetime.
When laundering fine cottons they will become softer and more comfy with every wash, but it’s important not to over dry them, it’s best to stop your dryer and hang dry at the end of the process as the warm air from machine drying quickly breaks down the delicate fibers. This will ensure your linens stay beautiful for years to come.
Our advice is to invest in two sets of bedding, so that you can alternate them between laundering and sleeping. Because there’s nothing worse than returning home from a long day to realise that the bedding is still in the washing machine.
Finally, choose the best quality that you can afford. Ultimately, we spend one third of our life in bed, so allow that time to be exquisitely comfortable, pleasant and aesthetically pleasing.