Five things to look for in a silk pillowcase! February 24 2012

When you are looking for silk pillow cases, it’s difficult to say that there is such a thing as a bad silk pillowcase. There may be different weights and grades and qualities of silk, but at the end of the day, anything that is silky smooth and allows your face and hair to glide over the surface will be wonderful and will feel great as you sleep. There are a few things that you might like to consider when purchasing a new pillowcase. After all, an educated shopper will always make better choices.

  1. Mulberry Silk – Although the majority of silk in the world comes from silkworms fed mulberry leaves, some silk is made with other methods. Unfortunately this is a case of trying to fix something that is not broken. Mulberry leaves have been used for literally thousands of year to produce the finest, strongest, silkiest silk available. If you are looking for silk pillow cases because you want something that will be gentle, soft and silky against your face and your hair, mulberry silk is the top choice. Make sure the manufacturer specifies this or it can be confirmed. If not, you may not end up being happy in the end.
  2. Charmeuse – Charmeuse is a lightweight fabric woven with a satin weave, where the warp threads cross over three or more of the backing (weft) threads. The front side of the fabric has a satin finish—lustrous and reflective—whereas the back has a dull finish. It can be made of silk or a synthetic lookalike such as polyester. Silk charmeuse is more expensive and delicate but is softer and a better insulator.Polyester charmeuse is cheaper and can often withstand machine washing, but it does not breathe as well as silk. Charmeuse differs from plain satin in that charmeuse is softer and lighter in weight.
  3. Momme – a word about momme – it is the unit used when describing the weight of silk thread. For silk sheets a momme weight of 12-19 is considered good quality with silk sheets in the range of 16-19 being very high quality. Anything lower than 12 will result in sheets that are not as durable as they should be which means they will be more prone with damage and tearing. The standard for measuring momme weight is by using a piece of fabric that is 100 yards long and 45 inches wide. If that piece of fabric weighs 19 pounds then the momme weight of that silk is 19. The higher the momme weight the heavier the fabric which means a greater amount of silk was used in the weaving process. In a silk pillowcase you are looking for is something in the upper teens to very low 20’s at the upper end. 16-19 momme weight is best and what better quality silk pillow cases will be made form.
  4. Thread Count – Although the phrase thread count gets thrown around a lot, as long as your silk pillow cases are above 400 or so, it doesn’t matter. Extremely high thread counts are often not reliable and might be better avoided unless the manufacturer clearly states the facts behind the number. Some manufacturers will twist 2 or 3 threads together to make one yarn, yet use the number of threads in the thread count. That means that a piece of fabric that has a thread count of 200 may be marketed as having a 400 or 600 thread count because there were 2 or 3 threads used when making the yarn. The result is something that should feel ultra smooth but does not.
  5. The Feel – Make sure you have the opportunity to feel the silk pillowcases before you by them or are unable to return them. If they feel silky and smooth, then you will probably be happy with them. If they simply don’t feel as soft, silky and lustrous as you imagined, do not buy them! Remember, your silk pillowcases will be against your face every night and they should feel simply fabulous. Touch is one of our most important senses.

If you keep these five things in mind, you will do very well in your search for silk pillow cases. Actually, you could honestly not worry about number 3, momme, and number 4, thread count. As long as the pillow cases are made from mulberry silk and a satin weave, and they feel like nothing you’ve ever felt before, you will be well on your way to finding the best silk pillow cases. Good luck!