Alterra Pure Profile
Alterra Pure was built on pillars of social and environmental sustainability, and maintaining a transparent and ethical business is their main goal. In order to live by their values, they pride themselves on giving back to the environment and those who produce their products. This means purchasing fair trade cotton from farms that use only rainwater to water their crops—they also recycle all water used in both fabric production and fabric finishing. To uphold their strong social standards, they hold no secrets—transparency is one of the most important principles a sustainable company must practice. Every step of Alterra Pure’s supply chain is Certified Organic and/or LEED Certified—from seed to gin to wheel to loom, nothing is overlooked. All water and materials are reused if possible, and as I mentioned before, even their packaging is made of biodegradable, scrap cotton and recycled paper. They are proud of the work they do and the products they create, so every ingredient and process is meticulously graded and tweaked to make the best fabrics. Their small lot and artisanal production scale is ideal for maintaining these tenets of sustainability and ethicality while staying afloat financially.
Alterra Pure sent me their Traditional Organic Bundle to review. The shipping box held two off-white boxes that were constructed from re-constituted/up-cycled scrap cotton and recycled paper. The boxes are not smooth, nor are they shiny or sleek—they have a more Earthy feel to them.
“ALTERRA PURE” is scrawled across the linty paper exteriors, with a seam dividing the two words. The seam (and the two box halves) is held together by a single piece of terra cotta-colored tape.
After gently peeling off the tape—attempting to keep the boxes’ finishes intact—I found the sheets and duvet neatly folded, and tucked away in each box.
I love the boxes—they’re gorgeous; the textures, colors, and fonts are beautifully executed; and the structure and overall design are not only effective in function, but also in reusability and general purpose storage. I plan to keep them around for a bit because I’ve got some magazines that could use a nice, new, organized home.
Alterra Pure Construction
I removed and unfolded the sheets to get a better look at the collection. They sent me a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, two pillow cases, and a duvet cover—all pieces are made of organic cotton percale fabric. Initially, the sheets had a kind of parachute fabric feel to them, which I assumed would just wash out in the first laundry cycle, but I was wrong. After following the prescribed wash and dry instructions, I was left with sheets that feel nearly the same as when they went in.
There was quite a bit of shrinkage, but I think Alterra Pure accounted for that when they made the sheets because despite the pockets shrinking almost 2 inches, the fitted sheet grips my mattress perfectly.
In addition to the texture and shrinkage, I noticed that they stayed quite wrinkly, despite finally trying the damp washcloth method (which worked minimally). All of the set pieces don two very classy pinstripes close to the edges—one red and one blue—which serve as functional stitchings.
The coconut buttons on the duvet are a good size relative to their respective holes, which I really appreciate because tough buttons can really beat up a set of fingertips.
My Alterra Pure Findings
As I mentioned before, the sheets maintained their parachute-esque feel even after washing. I was a little skeptical going into this review, because the only other percale set I’ve reviewed so far is the Primary Goods set, which placed quite low on my list. Surprisingly, Alterra Pure’s collection does not remind me of the Primary Goods’ percale set at all, which honestly is a giant bonus in my book. The sheets have a kind of slick feel to them making movement easy and slightly slippery. The percale fabric is very breathable and comfortable no matter the temperature—I actually find it more temperature regulative than some of the other cotton sheet sets I’ve tried.
My Alterra Pure Recommendation
I really love these sheets. I ended up liking the slippery texture, and the temperature regulation is aces. Everything from the red and blue stitching to the box design has me smitten, which is rare for cotton sheets—cotton sheets are pretty hit and miss for me. I love everything Alterra Pure stands for, and I commend them for taking such a firm stance on their values in every aspect of their production line. Their prices are on par with other organic cotton sets—$160 for queen size sheets, $160 for a queen size duvet cover, and $285 as a bundle. Primary Goods sells a queen size percale cotton bundle for $269 normally, but occasionally marks it down for $179. While Primary Goods percale set is considerably less expensive during markdown times, the quality of materials, comfort, and values woven into each inch of Alterra Pure’s bedding make the price worth every penny.
Homestead Sheets Construction
Now the sheets, at first they felt soft, but if I’m honest, I was slightly disappointed when I slept in them the first time. For the first few nights I really couldn’t see what was so great about them. They felt almost exactly like one of my other, cheaper bedding sets made of 60/40 Pima cotton/polyester that I got for $50 at an overstock store. I admit I was wrong. This is my first set of high quality sheets, so I didn’t know exactly what to look for.
Like many others, I was under the impression that a higher thread count meant higher quality sheets, but after reading up on the subject a bit, I found out that is not necessarily the case. The quality of the sheet comes from the materials used, rather than the thread count. In this case, Homestead uses organic, long staple cotton and special weave techniques to achieve their highest quality sheets (a cotton staple is the unit used to measure the length of the plant fibers). The longer the week went by and the more I slept in them, the more I was able to differentiate them from that kind of harsh, cold, feel of my old sheets. While Homestead’s 300 thread count cotton sheets felt softer than my 500 thread count polyester blend sheets, they somehow did not feel as soft as my 700 thread count 100% polyester sheets. I think that what held me back from fully appreciating Homestead’s sheets was how they didn’t quite match the delicate feel of those 700 sheets, but while softness is important, it is not everything.
My Homestead Findings
At the end of the day (or I guess week), I’ve slept quite well in them, and have even had better nights sleep than with my old sets. After a week of breaking them in, the sheets really came into their own and I started to feel that warm cotton feel that they tout. As someone who tends to run hot at night, when I read on their website that the sateen weave yields a soft and warm sheet, I was concerned I might get too hot—there’s nothing worse than a sweaty night’s sleep. I realized later that while they were definitely warm, they weren’t too warm, which was a relief. Homestead says that with every wash, their ultra-soft sateen sheets get softer, and seeing as I’ve only washed them once and they’re already quite soft, I’m curious where they can go from there.
After washing the sheets, they fit well and there was no shrinkage. The seams were 14.5 inches from corner to the inside of the elastic band; 15 inches to the outside edge. I followed the instructions on the tag to wash them in cold water and dry them on low heat, so I expect they might shrink in a warm wash and dry cycle, like most cotton fabrics.
Cost and Benefits
The sheets come in at around $200, but while you get a warm embrace to coerce you back into REM sleep, you also get a sound 8 hours knowing that your money went to an exceptional cause—something that not many bedding companies can say. While you can get 100% cotton sheets just about anywhere for much much less, you’re contributing to the fair trade industry by just investing a little bit more in sheets like these from Homestead.
Homestead prides themselves on promising high ethical and environmental standards every step of the way. No forced labor or discriminatory practices are used in their manufacturing process, and all production workers along their supply chain are paid a fair, living wage for their work, with benefits. The cotton behind Homestead’s line-up is 100% organic, which means no pesticides, insecticides, or fungicides are used in the the cultivation of their crops. Cutting out these sprays means also cutting out the greenhouse gases that would normally be emitted during their manufacturing operations.
My Homestead Recommendation
Trying Homestead’s 100% organic cotton sateen sheet set has opened my eyes to a new world of bedding, through an experience that isn’t accessible to everyone. When I was last shopping for bedding (and I bought the 700 thread count set), I was more focused on the thread count and price rather than the materials and footprint it might have. Of course while budget is not always flexible for some customers, thread count and material are definitely variable choices that can be made. Next time you go shopping for sheets, consider weighing material over thread count and you definitely will not regret it. When you buy Homestead’s products, you’re not only investing in your sleep, but you’re also investing in social and environmental good for a better humanity, and I think that is what really gives these basic cotton sheets their value.