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Design Notes

Luxury Sheet Lovers Will Cotton to This

September 12, 2002|JANET EASTMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Those who are concerned about wrinkles in bedsheets or the time it will take to iron them smooth can finally unfurl their foreheads.

A new technology makes it possible for cotton sheets to be pulled from the dryer crinkle-free.

Many polyester sheets achieve permanent-press status by undergoing a treatment that uses formaldehyde resin, which health experts and environmentalist dislike because it can be toxic.

And comfort hounds who insist on sleeping on fine Egyptian cotton sheets turn their noses up at polyester's smell and feel.

In the past, the only way to have smooth cotton sheets was to drag out the ironing board or hand them over to be professionally laundered.

"Inventing a no-wrinkle, no-iron Egyptian cotton sheet without the toxin is a breakthrough," says Beth Edwards, vice president of Between the Sheets, the only stores in the U.S. that carry the new sheets.

At $500 a set, they are comparable in price to other fine Egyptian cotton sheets. Luxury bed linens are judged by the quality of the cotton used, the thread count (the higher the better), and the workmanship in the spinning, weaving, finishing and dying process.

The German mill that makes the chemically untreated bed linens won't reveal its process, but the outcome is soft, durable 425-thread-count sheets.

After dressing a bed with these pricey sheets, plain-Jane accent pillows may seem out of place.

One option: a personal pillow hand-painted with an image you hold dear. Between the Sheets stores have commissioned artists to take a customer's photograph of a loved one and transfer it onto a Dupioni silk pillow.

From the time of order, it takes two weeks to immortalize Mom, Fluffy or your constant companion--yourself. The cost is $350 for an 18-inch-square pillow.

Between the Sheets stores are at Fashion Valley, 7007 Friars Road, Suite 691, San Diego, (619) 299-9300; the Gardens on El Paseo, 73545 El Paseo, Suite G1704, Palm Desert, (760) 779-8500; Fashion Island Shopping Center, 401 Newport Center Drive, Suite A220, Newport Beach, (949) 640-9999; www.betweenthesheetsinc.com.

Ah, Shucks

Like those who take comfort in them, pillows have an inner life and an outer one. They have been filled with everything from feathers to foam. But corn syrup?

Not exactly, but a new pillow on the market makes use of that Midwestern staple. Cargill Dow LLC of Minnetonka, Minn., has found a way to ferment corn sugars to create a polylactic acid, which is spun into a fiberfill it calls NatureWorks. The company says this process uses 20% to 50% less fossil resources than conventional ways that require petroleum.

The result? A $25 pillow developed by Pacific Coast Feather Co. of Seattle, Wash., that has the practicality of polyester synthetic and is hypoallergenic. The filling is also used in comforters. The bedding line is at Bed Bath & Beyond stores. Call (800) 462-3966; www.bedbathandbeyond.com or www.natureworksfibers.com.

*Janet Eastman can be reached at janet. eastman@latimes.com.

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