Sateen and percale fabrics are widely used in bedding products. Contrary to what many people believe regarding sateen and percale, each are a type of weave. Sateen is commonly misunderstood as being a finish that gives the fabric its sheen, but in fact the sheen is the result of the milling process.
Fabrics consist of threads of yarn that are woven vertically and horizontally together. Warp threads run vertically up and down the fabric, while weft threads run horizontally. The thread count is derived by the number of threads going in both directions inside one square inch of the fabric.
Percale fabric is typically no less than 200 threads per square inch (200tc) and can be a cotton polyester blend, 100% polyester or 100% cotton. Woven with one thread under, one over, it creates a stronger, crisper fabric.
Sateen is a type of weave that places most threads on the surface (four over and one under). It has a luxuriously soft silky feel, although it tends to be less durable than percale. The bedding industry standard today tends to be toward sateen. Although percale bed sheets are still available, sateen has taken the lead in becoming the most widely used bed linen fabric.