Percale Fabric – A Plain Weave Fabric

Percale fabric is a plain weave fabric. Percale is also a popular weave used for bed linens. Percale fabric can include other fibers such as cotton. Percale is not really the fabric, but the type of weave used in the fabric. As a result bed linens can be cotton percale meaning that cotton is woven into the fabric using the percale weave, resulting in a 100% cotton percale. The plain weave is created from two interwoven threads and thus is the simplest and most popular of the weaves.

Pale Pink Percale Sheet Fabric

Fabric Characteristics:

• Most plain weaves are easy to sew

• Many shrink and wrinkle badly

• Plain weaves can be difficult to ease

• Plain weaves have poor elasticity and tear easily

• Many plain weaves can be successfully washed

• Sheets created from plain weaves are frequently off grain

Working With These Fabrics Requires:

• Sewing machine needles recommended are 60/8-80/12 sharps depending on fabric weight

• Hand sewing needles recommended are sizes 7-10

• Sewing machine settings recommended is a stitch length of 2-2.5 mm with a balanced tension

• Thread recommended is all purpose cotton, polyester, and cotton/polyester blend for stitching and for topstitching all-purpose top-stitching thread

• Machine sewing feet recommended are the zipper, even-feed, roller, and blind hem foot

• Layout should be double layer, right sides together

• Markers recommended are all types

• Seams and hems recommended are for seams plain, French, topstitched, double-ply to name a few, for hems plain machine rolled, hand blindstitched, machine blindstitch to name a few, depending on fabric weight

• Seam and hem finishes recommended are single or double-ply, serged, pinked, zigzag to name a few

• Edge finishes recommended are all types

These Fabrics Are Suitable For:

Percale weave is primarily used for sheets and sometimes for shirts.

For information about the notions, tools, and equipment required to complete a sewing project, click here to view the sewing notions home page

For more information about this family of fabrics some great references are:

Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide

For more interesting information about percale fabric click here on and click here on for some information about the history of percale

To continue exploring information about fabrics follow the links below.

Pique Fabric
Fabric Facts
Fabric Content
Return to Sewing Fabric Home Page
Return to Sewing Home Page