This tidbit comes from "A House and Its Furnishings" ©1869 with regard to the types of sheets available at the time. What I love about this tidbit is how the author wrote it as a young woman was asking her mother advice for setting up her home. Enjoy!
"But, dear mamma, not very much linen will be required. I do not expect to have linen sheets. Calico will do very well."
"True, Lizzie; but there is calico-and-calico, now-a-days. Ten years ago that valuable material was differently manufactured. If a piece of calico be held against the light, in some you will see knots all over it. This is made with the short-length cotton, and is badly spun, will not wear well, and, when washed, will be rough. Calico should have a regular selvage, and be made with evenly-spun cotton; the threads should be round, and the weaving regular, and it should have very little dress in it.
"The same evidences of excellence are applicable to linen as to cotton textures, only the uneven threads in linen are more mischievous than in calico, inasmuch as the coarse thread will, with wash and wear, separate from the fine, and thus leave a space in the material unfilled. Never buy a piece of linen with uneven selvage; it is a sure indication of being irregularly woven.
"For health, cotton sheets are generally preferable to linen, though by many the latter is preferred. Persons subject to rheumatism should not wear, or sleep in linen; indeed, should sleep in blankets only. Persons so liable to be afflicted would find a slight attack yield to this remedy, and the painful disease most likely be warded off altogether by a continuance in thepractice—at least, I have known many cases of such cure. It is singular that those who have been once induced to try to sleep in blankets never forsake them; but it is very difficult to find one willing to adopt the plan."