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If you're like most people, you've bought cotton sheets and pillowcases for most of your life. Now you've heard about the superior benefits silk has to offer as a bedding fabric. And of course, you've decided to look into buying silk sheets and pillowcases.
Your knowledge of cotton and the thread count of cotton may influence how you shop for your new sheets and pillowcases. In other words, you're not prepared to make heads or tails of terms, like momme weight, grade, OEKO-TEX, and more.
In this post, we'll take a look at the meaning of momme weight versus thread count. We'll also look at other factors you should look at when buying high-quality bedding, like silk flat sheets and pillowcases.
Momme Weight Vs. Thread Count: What’s the Difference?
Momme weight is a term that silk fabric manufacturers use. It can apply to things like bedding, or garments like blouses. It can even apply to curtains. Basically, anything made out of silk will have a momme weight.
So what's the difference? This is the basic idea between momme weight and thread count:
- Momme weight has to do with how dense or weighty the silk is
- Thread count deals with the number of threads per square inch in a piece of fabric
While there is such a thing as silk thread count, it doesn't play as big a role in silk fabrics as thread count plays in cotton sheets. Because silk is so fine, it is much less practical to try to count the number of threads per square inch. Instead, the silk fabric is weighed in units called "momme".
So momme weight deals with how heavy the fabric is. Thread count deals with counting strands of fabric.
Usually, the higher the thread count cotton sheets and pillowcases have, the softer they are. For example, the Sleep Foundation suggests that people look for cotton sheets with at least a 200 thread count. But you'll find a cotton thread count of up to 1,000 for a luxury sheet set.
This begs the question: If a high thread count means that you're buying quality cotton sheets, why isn't silk thread count important?
Why you shouldn't rely on thread count as a measure of silk quality
Silk threads are very fine threads. Because of this, more of them naturally fit into a square inch of fabric compared to other types of threads. In light of that, silk sheet thread counts are already high.
Another reason is that silk can have a high thread count while still being low quality. So silk thread count isn't as good at determining silk's quality. Momme weight gives a much more accurate picture.
So what is "momme weight", exactly?
To understand what momme weight means, let's look at 22-momme silk. This number means that a piece of silk material that measures 45 inches by 100 yards weighs 22 pounds. (The 45 inches by 100 yards is the standard measurement for all silk momme weights.)
Most people look for a higher thread count or a higher momme weight when they're interested in investing in quality luxury bedding. If they're looking for quality cotton sheets, they'll look for a high thread count. If they're looking for quality silk, they'll look for a high momme weight.
Both thread count and momme weight are very important when considering the quality of your sheet set. It just depends on whether you're shopping for cotton or for silk.
What Types of Silk Fabric Has Higher Momme Weight?
This post deals mainly with silk bed sheets and pillowcases. But it’s worth mentioning some other silk products and their ideal momme weights.
This allows you to better understand why certain momme weights are better for mulberry silk pillowcases, sheets, and duvet covers than others.
Luxury bedding: The momme weight breakdown
When it comes to cotton, higher thread count usually means better. But in silk manufacturing, momme weight doesn't always equal better silk. Allow us to explain.
A momme weight of 30 is very heavy and is an excellent fabric for heavy outer garments, like jackets, or in the home for curtains or for a silk duvet for the bed.
If you've ever seen a beautiful drape made of silk, then you know what we're talking about. This momme weight is perfect for curtains but feels uncomfortable against the skin. It's just too heavy.
A momme weight of 20 to 30 is used in the production of quality silk bedding, wedding dresses, and some scarves. If you're looking for items that have a luxurious feel and are visually beautiful, this is the momme weight range you want to look for.
A momme weight under 20 is very light and is associated with silk fabrics, like chiffon. A light summer scarf might be made from this silk momme weight.
What Should Be Considered When Buying Silk Sheets and Pillowcases?
The following list offers you some things to consider when looking for real silk sheets and pillowcases. Of course, there are other things like color, construction, or charmeuse weave. But for now, we will focus on the quality of the silk fabric itself.
If you want a silky smooth bedding set, then look for a higher momme weight. Most silk sheets will be between 22 and 25 momme.
Silk offers many benefits over cotton. Sleeping on a pillowcase and fitted sheet made from 22-momme weight silk does more than just prevent bed head. It can contribute to better sleep.
Grade 6A silk
Silk’s grade refers to where it falls on the quality scale. Silk with an “A” designation means it’s made from the highest quality silk. Silk with a “C” designation means the opposite.
Another measure of quality in silk manufacturing is the number. It works the same way as the lettering system: the higher the number, the better the silk. The numbering system goes from 1 to 6.
So the best silk sheets and pillowcases you can buy come with a Grade 6A designation.
OEKO-TEX 100 Certified Silk Bedding
Silk is a natural fiber that is naturally hypoallergenic. You of course want a bedding set that has a super soft silky feel. But you also want one that's free of chemicals and is good for the environment. To find silk with these qualities, look for the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 designation.
Within the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Classification, there are different classes. The top-quality products with the Standard 100 label get a Class 1 designation.
The Class 1 designation will certify that the pillowcase or sheet is made up of only natural fibers. It will also certify that the silk fabric is not only safe to wear against the skin, it's safe enough for babies too.
At Blissy, we make all our silk products from only Class 1 OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certified silk.
Country of origin
According to LiveScience, the archeology record suggests that the Chinese began manufacturing mulberry silk 9,000 years ago.
China is still the world's largest manufacturer of mulberry silk. Chinese silk is universally accepted as the finest-quality silk on the market.
Because of its long history, the production of real silk from China is often equated with the finest quality silk. But other countries produce silk as well, including Japan, India, and France.
It's a good idea to consider the manufacturer when you're researching where your silk sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers come from.
Here is our reasoning for saying this.
If a silk manufacturer has a good reputation, then you can assume that the manufacturer sourced the best silk on the market. The country of origin would have been one of the deciding factors in the sale of the silk.
What if a Silk Flat Sheet or Pillowcase Has no Momme Weight Listed?
Sometimes, the silk sheets and pillowcases you're thinking about buying don't have a momme weight listed. If this is the case, then you may want to look someplace else to buy your silk pillowcases and sheets. The best silk sheets and pillowcases always have the momme weight listed. (The silk sheet thread count may also be listed but not always.)
If the momme weight is not listed, it can sometimes mean the quality of the silk bedding is inferior (or may not even be real silk). Given the importance of momme weight in the silk industry, it's unlikely that a trusted silk retailer would leave that information off.
High-quality sheets and pillowcases come with labels that list the momme weight and the grade of the silk. It may also list other industry-standard markers (like silk thread count).
Final Thoughts on Momme Weight Vs. Thread Count
When it comes to silk bed sheets and pillowcases, comparing momme weight versus the thread count is like comparing apples and oranges.
As we mentioned, although there is such a thing as silk thread count, it can mean different things than cotton thread counts do. Because silk fibers are thin, silk fabrics almost always have a high thread count. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's high-quality silk.
Instead, it's best to look at the momme weight of the silk pillowcase or bed sheet you're interested in buying. At Blissy, our silk pillowcases are made from the highest quality 22-momme, grade 6A silk. Blissy is also a Good Housekeeping Bedding Award Winner.
We invite you to look at our collections to find the right silk pillowcase for your bedroom.
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- Co., D. T. (n.d.). fabric weight. Dharma Trading Co. https://www.dharmatrading.com/information/fabric-weight.html
- Fabric guide: what is silk? how to use and care for silk fabric. (2021, August 12). Master Class. Retrieved December 18, 2022, from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/fabric-guide-what-is-silk-how-to-use-and-care-for-silk-fabric
- Noyed, D. (2022, March 11). Best thread count for sheets. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedding-information/best-thread-count-for-sheets
- OEKO-TEX® Service GmbH. (n.d.). OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100. OEKO-TEX®. https://www.oeko-tex.com/en/our-standards/oeko-tex-standard-100
- Silk; raw silk (not thrown) exports by country |2019. (n.d.). https://wits.worldbank.org/trade/comtrade/en/country/ALL/year/2019/tradeflow/Exports/partner/WLD/product/500200