Thread Count Info

One of the most frequently asked questions when working with our clients is, “What is the Thread Count?”


Although this measurement may be helpful as a tool it isn’t the primary gauge of product quality.  Just as a bottle of fine wine is not measured by the quantity of grapes therein, but by their species and the expertise with which they are processed, the same is true of fine linens.

Thread count is determined by counting the threads that have been woven in a square inch of fabric.  The warp (length) and weft (width) threads in the square inch are counted as single units. However, the measurement becomes contentious when the yarn has been split and counted as two threads, therefore taking a 300 thread count (TC) to an unwarranted 600 TC. 

More important than thread count is the quality of the yarn. The base yarn must be of the highest quality to be used in the weaving of luxury linens. Even the finest finisher cannot disguise poor yarn and the number of threads will not improve the quality of fabric exponentially. There is a shortage of fine long-staple cotton in the world and the price of the sheets generally reflects that.

Originally the measurement was used to distinguish “percale weaves” of 200 TC or greater from Muslin.  It became a marketing tool among domestic mills and occasionally the European Mills to help North Americans understand their product. Hence you may find a 500 TC sheet for $100 or $1,500. But they are not created equal. The”ASTM”, a volunteer consumer group, was the first to define the meaning of TC. Some companies were taken to task for false advertising, but without a stringent regulatory agency we must rely on trusted distributors.

So what is the best way to navigate your way to the right buying decision?
Very simply we call it the “hand”. Let the feel of the product lead you to the quality and comfort level that you desire. When in doubt always buy the best quality that you can afford.  European mills have almost always used this method. Their weaving styles are often very complex and the fabric finishing and sewing are done by generational craftspeople.

Defining the quality of the yarn, the spinning, weaving, construction and finishing all need to be considered.  A well- trained Linen Consultant can help you determine which linens will afford your greatest comfort.

When buying linens for Fino Lino we draw on the following information.
Base fiber/species
Origin
Short or long-staple fiber
Dyeing process
Weaving style
Drape of Fabric ~ soft and silky, crisp and cool
Weight
Surface finish
Craftsmanship/ sewing, embellishments
The Hand/ Feel
Design, colour and texture
Value
Care
Customer Expectations