The total number of warp and weft threads found within an inch square of cloth is referred to as the thread count. The threads in each additional layer of fabric that is stitched together to make up a multi-ply fabric count as well. Frequently, a higher thread count denotes finer yarns: More thin yarns can fit into a square inch than thicker or coarser strands can. Since finer threads are believed to make the sheets softer and more durable, high thread counts have come to be associated with high-quality fabric. However, when choosing sheets, other factors such the fiber quality and weave are more crucial. The fineness or coarseness of a fabric—typically bed sheets and towels—can be determined by its thread count.
Does Thread Count Affect Sheet Quality?
Thread count is significant for bedsheets primarily since a low thread count is a solid indication that the fabric is either excessively thick or loosely woven, both of which can make sheets feel scratchy. Up to a point, sheets with more threads per square inch seem softer. A single-ply sheet set, for instance, would have a thread count of 300 if it had 150 weft threads and 150 warp threads per square inch. The thread count of that same sheet set would increase to 600 if it were made of two-ply yarn. Only single-ply cotton fibers are useful for the thread count measurement: Some linen manufacturers utilize multi-ply thread to boost their thread count numbers since non-cotton fibers like polyester are so thin and may create thread counts in the thousands without feeling nearly as soft as a lesser cotton thread count. A common marketing trick to get a high thread count while still utilizing inferior fabric is to add many layers of fabric.
Things to Remember:
High thread counts and the use of only the finest yarns characterize the best luxury sheets.
Thread Count: For bedding, single-ply cotton sheets with a thread count of 200 to 400 are best. The best sheets tend to feel thinner and smoother than sheets with thread counts that are above or below this range. Fabric construction: Sateen and percale are the two most common types of sheet fabric construction. Manufacturers of linens use a “one thread over one thread” plain weave for percale sheets while a “four threads over one thread” satin weave is used for sateen sheets. Percale bed linens are particularly breathable and have a crisp texture. Sateen sheets are less long-lasting than percale sheets but are silky-smooth to the touch, have a light sheen, and are relatively wrinkle-resistant.
Fiber Content: Premium long-staple cottons with longer cotton fiber threads are used to create the best yarn. These longer cotton fibers aid in maintaining the flat, smooth weave of the warp and weft yarns, making for softer, longer-lasting fabric. Due to their long-staple cotton fibers, Pima cotton, Supima cotton, and most Egyptian cotton sheets are regarded as opulent. When to completely disregard thread count Thread counts are likely to be inaccurate or irrelevant if the sheets are not made of 100% cotton with a single-ply weave. Why thread count is irrelevant for other materials is as follows: Multiple-ply yarns are used by gimmicky marketers to double or triple the thread count using two- or three-ply yarns. A thread comprised of two smaller strands that have been twisted together is referred to as two-ply yarn. Fortunately, you don’t encounter this false claim as much anymore. Good Housekeeping originally exposed it back in 2002.
Polyester or Mixes: Unlike cotton, polyester fibers can be made to be extremely thin, hence polyester and cotton/polyester blends can have thread counts that are thousands of times higher than cotton. In order to increase the claimed thread count, producers are actually developing methods for using thin polyester yarns. One of these strategies is used in a 1,400 thread count cotton/polyester sheet set that we recently evaluated; unsurprisingly, it didn’t do particularly well. Polyester does offer some advantages over cotton, such as being stronger, less expensive, and more wrinkle-resistant, but it doesn’t have the same sumptuous feel.
Silk and Linen: Like polyester, these fibers cannot have thread counts that are on par with cotton. Silk is often assessed by weight since it is so thin, whereas linen is thick and has a naturally low thread count. Although they are frequently made of cotton, knit and flannel textiles are unlikely to have thread counts listed. This is due to the fact that jersey-knit sheets are fundamentally different from standard woven sheets in terms of manufacture and flannel sheets are offered according to fabric weight.