What does thread count really mean? Your questions answered!

What does thread count really mean? Your questions answered!

In today's Journal entry we're going to delve into all things thread count, with some of the most common questions we get around the subject hopefully being answered. What is thread count? Does linen have a thread count? Should I be looking for high or low thread count? If you've found yourself asking these questions before, this may be the Journal post for you. And if you're a bit stuck for time and need a very brief synopsis of the subject it would be this: high thread count equalling high quality bedding is somewhat of a myth, and we are here to debunk it!

What is thread count?

To put it simply, thread count is a numerical measure of how tightly woven a fabric is. The number represents the total number of threads (lengthwise and width wise) woven into one square inch of fabric. So if something has a thread count of 200, this means there are 100 lengthwise threads woven with 100 width wise threads in one square inch of that fabric. 

Should I look for a high or low thread count then? 

Firstly, good question imaginary question asker: this is in fact where it gets a little murky. Typically we see bedding marketed as better quality if it has that high thread count that we associate with 'luxe' hotel suite bedlinen. By this logic, this would surely mean that the highest thread count sheets are the nicest - end of story - and yet, of course we know this not to be true. Ever found the high quality thread count sheets in a hotel room feeling quite stifling? This is because the higher the weave count, the higher the amount of hot air that is going to find itself trapped between your skin and the sheet. 

Generally speaking, quality sheets range from 200 - 800 thread count, but ultimately there is no perfect number and thread count should be taken into consideration alongside other determining factors, including...

Sun Baked Washed Cotton Percale 

Taking into account the type of weave and the material

The type of material AND the type of weave are some of the most important things to consider alongside thread count when shopping for bedding - it's not enough to simply consider the fact that it's made from 100% cotton for example, as cotton bedding comes in a range of different weaves. Our Washed Cotton sheets feature a Percale weave: a simple one over, one under pattern. Percale sheets tend to range between 180 and 200 thread count (Piglet's are the latter), while Egyptian cotton, in comparison, typically has a thread count between 300 and 400. 

Seersucker, a puckered fabric that is created by weaving the cotton on twin looms at different speeds, again tends to range between 180 - 200 thread count, with our new Seersucker bedding coming in at 200. 

When it comes to 100% linen bedding, thread count is thrown up into the air entirely. Piglet's linen bedding is made of 100% natural stonewashed French flax linen. Thread count is not normally used as a measure of quality for linen for two reasons: linen is a much looser weave than cotton, which is part of what makes it so breathable, and linen fibres are much thicker than in cotton, so it is not a representable indicator of quality. But in case you're still interested, our linen thread count is around 120, with linen typically ranging between 80-140. 

Lake blue linen beddingLake Blue Linen Bedding

Last but not least, don't forget to consider quality of the yarn and quality of production...

Both linen and cotton come in a variety of different qualities, meaning if you've spotted inexpensive linen or cotton bedding on the high street, this is likely an indicator that the material isn't of a high quality and therefore won't last as long. Look for materials that are 'OEKO-TEX Standard 100' as well, as this means that the textile is certified to not contain any nasty chemicals. 

To conclude...

Thread count is certainly one thing to consider when shopping for new bedding, but by no means the ONLY factor. Consider thread count alongside the type of material, the type of weave and finally the quality of the material and the quality of production (product reviews from other customers are usually a good place to start!). 

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