Best silk pillowcase and sheets sets & best silk comforter – 2017 update
17 silk sets and 8 silk comforters reviewed.
These are the top 3
Our regular reviewing methods weren’t good enough to put this guide together, so we needed help.
Here’s what we did to get to the results you’re about to see:
- We asked 3 material techonoly engineers to make an intitial selection.
- We bought 2 sets of each and sent them to our featured testers – these are people from all walks of life
- We asked them to use the sheets for a year and rate them in 5 quality categories
The ratings and results you’re about to see are fruit of the 1-year long process.
Before Investing in Silk bedding…
Know Your Momme
When sourcing silk online or in a store always know the momme (pronounced ‘mummy’) weight before you buy. If it is not mentioned in the description, or the salesperson can’t tell you, you could be buying products that will not be suitable, nor will it last. Quality silk fabric is sold by the weight. The unit of measure is a momme. One momme is 4.34 grams per square metre, or 8 momme is around 1 once per square yard.
A higher momme weight does not necessarily mean it is better or suitable for the purpose. The heavier it is, the more durable the weave, but also more opaque. A lightweight silk blouse would have a low momme weight being correct for the style of garment.
For example, if you bought Charmeuse pyjamas weighing 25 mm the sleepwear would be more durable and withstand many washes, but much heavier to wear than pyjamas with 19 mm.
Good silk sheets have a momme weight of 19-25 mm
If the momme of sheets is lower, they are being sold as inferior quality. Quality silk bedding linen should be a minimum weight to withstand the rigours and cleaning of bedding. Bedding sheets with a momme weight of 25 are classes as luxury bed sheets.
Although thread count is pertinent for cotton sheets, due to the thread varying in diameter and length, thread-count for silk is not crucial but something to be aware of. Momme weight is more important than thread count.
As a guide, fabric with a momme weight of 22 mm, with a thread count of 600, would be advertised as luxury silk bed sheets, and you can be assured of buying quality sheets. the same goes for the best silk pillowcases.
Best silk sheets & pillowcases
All quality ratings syde-by-side
red, burgundy red, taupe,
navy blue, purple,
royal blue, silver grey
light blue, red, taupe beige,
royal blue, peacock blue
blue, pink, sand
The best silk sheet and pillowcase set
What was better about it?
As you can see in the table of ratings, all three sets are high-end products in all quality aspects, but the Celestial silk set DID stand out.
There are subcategories that go into the ratings above but they can be all boiled down to the 5 quality aspects. Rated at 9.66/10 the best silk sheets set is the top rated in all quality aspects.
Finest finish and shape retention
Two things that stood out the most are finish/softness and shape retention, which is included in the rating of fiber quality.
The Celestial set, as our testers reported, practically didn’t change at all, and (we are told) that’s an indication of the mulberry fiber quality.
Main PROs & CONs of the best silk sheets set
- The most luxurious and softest finish
- Dense weave that feels thick and high-quality
- No change in shape or color
- Although the lable says to hand wash & dry, we’ve seen no reports of issues when washed on “delicate” cycles and machine dried on low
- Not all sizes available
- Priciest set among the top 3
- No duvet included
- Sheets not fitted
Best silk comforters
All quality ratings syde-by-side
& California King
& California King
The best silk comforter
The Camel comforter has been voted the best silk comforter by a not-so-narrow margin, especially having in mind the margin between the runner-up and the 3rd best comforter.
It’s better rated by our testers in pretty much every category, but one particular category stands out.
9.8 / 10 in Finish & Softness
Our rating system is planned to rate all products within a range of 1-10 and this comforter is one of a handful of products that was ever rated above 9.7 in any category and we reviewed over 800 sleep-related products over the years.
That speaks volumes about the experinces and the nights of peacufull slumber our testers got with this comforter.
Second best rated silk comforter in the category is Moon’s Sleepwares aka. Moon’s Sleep at 9.4/10.
Let’s see what made the Camel the best silk comforter.
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Silk in Chinese folklore - origins
Silk is one of nature’s marvels. It is also one of the oldest materials manufactured by humans. Its origins are shrouded in folk lore.
One version has a princess in Ancient China drinking tea in the royal garden. A cocoon fell into the hot tea and loosened the strands.
The most reliable version described in Chinese literature is recoded around 2,600 BC. The Empress Si-Ling is said to have raised silkworms along with inventing a loom for the manufacturing of the fabrics.
How is silk made?
Japan produces some of the world’s finest silk. It is also the first country to study silkworms and the qualities of the fibre using scientific ethology. Silkworms are caterpillars of a moth called Bombyx mori.
One cocoon comprises of two elements: fibroin which is the fibre itself and makes up most of the cocoon, and Sericin which is the gum holding the fibre together. A cocoon produces around a thousand feet of filament. One yard of the material requires three-thousand cocoons.
Breeding silkworms for production is called Sericulture. Sericulture is an ancient cultivation practise that has not changed through the ages. Science has tried to imitate the qualities of the fibre in the manufacture of polyester and nylon.
As yet, science has not bee able to imitate the same molecular structure of liquid secreted by silkworms before solidifying into strands stronger than the equivalent steel. For this reason, the wondrous natural fibre created by thousands of tiny caterpillars, is still a fine choice when choosing fabrics.
Less binding and less het-conducting
Silk is less binding to the wearer. For this reason, it makes perfect bedding material due to elasticity. Fibres can stretch to around one-fifth of the initial length and then return to the original size.
It means bed sheets will consistently look attractive on the bed due to the absence of bunching and sagging after a night’s sleep. On top of that, the fabric has increased resistance to wrinkling.
Because it’s a protein, it is a non-conductor of heat, unlike synthetic fibres.
One “imitator” is rayon. So called a ’semi-synthetic’ fibre because it is chiefly made from wood pulp. The pulp is then chemically converted into a soluble substance. Rayon fibres are easily dyed and highly absorbent making them cool to wear in humid climates.
Rayon does not insulate body heat as well as the real thing. It is also described as having a slimy feel to the material. The qualities of silk is suitable for bedding over a wide range of climates from tropical heat to winter chill.
In nature, predators are numerous such as birds, other insects, and bacteria to name a few. Silkworms are vulnerable when awaiting metamorphosis to moths. Evolving over thousands of years, this combination of fibres and the gum sericin, provide an effective defence against predators.
In modern life with the use of synthetics, chemicals, and food additives, allergies have risen significantly in the last fifty years. Sufferers are well award of the problem of dust mites, mold, fungus, and pesticides. Silk has a natural defence against such allergens and yet processing cocoons into the strands consists of nothing more than water and steam.
Fabrics such as cotton and rayon are frequently sold with small bags of chemicals such as silica gel, activated alumina, or anhydrous calcium sulfate. These chemicals help absorb moisture, deter mold growth, and stop pests such as silverfish.
It needs no chemical interference for defence as the fibre is a natural hypoallergenic.
Silk absorbs moisture and repells dirt
Silk is a natural absorber of moisture. Depending on the type, the fibre on average can absorb eleven percent of its weight in moisture. Absorbency also permits dyes and patterns to be easily printed giving lasting vibrancy.
Due to a lustrous finish, sheets will not attract dirt and stains as easily as other fabrics. Gentle washing with mild soap is all it takes to look after the best silk sheets. The one exception is washing with chlorine bleaches such as sodium hypochlorite that will deteriorate the material.
Types of Silk – from production to the best silk pillowcases
Production and trade
The first thing to know about the fabric is how it is made. ‘Throwing’ is the process for producing silk yarn. A single cocoon makes roughly three-quarters of a mile of single thread.
Raw material is twisted into one continuous strand. The main types of twists are: Crepe whereby the individual strands are doubled and twisted again; Tram is two or more threads twisted together but only in one direction.
The fibre has a prismatic-like structure refracting light as the light waves hit the surface at different angles giving bed sheets a shimmering look.
The United States of America is the world’s largest importer of the material.
Charmeuse Silk is named after the satin weave whereby the wrap threads cross four or more of the backing threads.
A characteristic of this type of weave is the smooth satin finish on one side while the back has a dull feel to the fabric. The material drapes well but charmeuse can cling against the body. A good choice for lingerie and the lining of men’s jackets, handkerchiefs, ties and boxer shorts.
Charmeuse has many lookalikes such as polyester. But like most synthetics, the polyester is not as wearable, lacking the breathable, moisture absorption of pure silk.
It’s lightweight and suitable for pillow cases and sheets. It is made from farm worms that are cultivated purely for silk production. It’s main advantage is that it causes least hair damage – you can see our guide on sleeping with long hair here.
Habotai is a Japanese word meaning ‘feather two layers’. It is a shimmering material once used for making kimonos.
It is often found as an ivory color. Today the traditional Japanese plain weave is done in China.
Mostly utilized for t-shirts and lampshades, Hobotai is the cheapest type to buy and is generally less durable than other types.
Dupioni has been produced by generations of Ansari people in India. The material supplies wedding dresses in that country. It is a tight-woven yardage with two or more entangled cocoons in the weft.
It is heavier and thicker than other types and rather coarse, not ideal for bed linen. The technique of using differing colored threads throughout the warp and weft gives an iridescent effect.
It’s popular for bridal formal wear, upholstery and curtain drapery, but must be protected with underlining as the material degrades in sunlight.
Tussar silk is unique. Silkworms are tended by tribal Indians in the Malda district of West Bengal. The industry in Bhagalpur has about thirty-thousand handloom weavers in a century old industry.
In recent years, fashion designers are increasingly discovering Tussar silk for their designs. The bespoke garments are exported to Europe, the Persian Gulf, and the United States.
Also known as Kosa it is made from wild silk worms in forest trees known as Terminalia (terminal) and the Shala Tree. Tussar is valued because of the natural deep gold color.
It is regarded as a forest product and said to have more texture than mulberry. It is less durable than other types however due to shorter fibres.
Mulberry silk is by far the most popular bedding sheet material – it’s the type of silk that most of the best silk sheets and best silk comforters are made of.
First cultivation of Mulberry was by peoples of the Indus Valley Civilization who took wild silkworms to start the first sericulture. China is the largest producer of the Mulberry followed by India.
The cocoons are dun colored and live exclusively on leaves of the white Mulberry tree. Today, Mulberry silkworms, Bombyx mori, are bread indoors.
In bygone eras, silk was the elite possession of the rich. It was considered an appropriate gift for the Emperor. Mulberry silk is renowned for it shine and softness. Robes and gowns were noted for the richness in pattern and color. Apart from the sensuous feel of a luxurious fabric, it is exceptional for bedding because of knowing health benefits. The hypoallergenic properties are the reason why the best silk pillowcases are made using Mulberry.
Health benefits of sleeping on silk
Silk acts as a lightweight insulator on your bed. Perfect for all seasons, the best silk sheets do not need seasonal changeover.
There is no need, for example, to have cotton sheets in summer and switch to warmer flannelette sheets in winter. One set of sheets is suitable for both seasons. And here’s why: the ideal weight for bed sheets is between 13 to 19. The same momme weight is also used for the best silk pillowcases.
Mulberry must be 100% pure silk, and not a blend of polyester weave. A test is to determine if a fabric is pure is to see if both sides of the material is shiny. Synthetic imitations made from non-natural material such as satin and sateen will look lustrous on one side.
Stops the cold or warm air
Pure silk stops cold air from sinking into the mattress material.
On hot nights when seeking relief from fans or air-conditioning, cool air circulating the body will not escape as it would through cotton or synthetic sheets, but rather stays for comfort.
Conversely, cold air as a result of moisture build-up in mattress material is transferring cooled air into the warmth of a body on a winter’s night when warmth is needed most. Mulberry sheets act as a natural barrier to heat-loss transfer.
It’s also the reason why the best silk pillowcases are praised, especially for people who are exptremely hot or cold sleepers.
Mulberry sheets also act as a natural deterrent. The ongoing debate as to why mattresses gain weight over time is one of intrigue.
Dead skin, colonies of dust mites, oil, and moisture build up in the average bedding.
Karen Mahoney from The International Sleep Product Association claims to have heard of mattresses doubling weight in just eight years.
Ohio State University found in a study that on average a mattress can hold up to ten million dust mites inside the materials. A natural deterrent to micro organisms makes for a sound night’s sleep.
Other factors ensuring a better rest on silk sheets is the elastic nature of the fibres. The facbric is less likely to bunch up. Bunching robs areas of body warmth. Flat sheeting distributes warmth evenly.
This combined with the knowledge that body heat is not uniform throughout the duration of a night’s sleep, especially evident in many women. What is a comfortable heat at the start of sleep will find many in a lather of sweat during the early hours before dawn.
Due to the high absorbency, excess moisture produced through overheating and sweat is wicked away from the body allowing a comfortable night.