OK! Tell Me about Thread Count!

7 Jul

This is actually the 10th e-mail, that I received on this topic, so I’m thinking if they are inquiring, there may be others who want to know also!  And I was right!  Cynthia Espinosa, mother of two beautiful girls (6 yr old and a 3 yr old) wrote me this morning and wants to know what does the thread count mean when buying bedding sheets?

Thread count is often used as a measure of fabric quality; it’s a measure of the coarseness or fineness of fabric, and is also known as the number of threads per inch or TPI. It is measured by counting the number of threads contained in one square inch of fabric or one square centimeter, including both the length (known as warp) and width (know as weft) threads.

It’s the number of threads counted along two sides (up and across) of the square inch, added together.  It is used especially in regard to cotton linens such as bed sheets, and has been known to be used in the classification of towels.

The “standard” cotton thread counts are around 150 while good-quality sheets start at 180 and a count of 200 or higher is considered percale.   Some, but not all, of the extremely high thread counts (typically over 500) tend to be misleading as they usually count the individual threads in ‘plied‘ yarns (a yarn that is made by twisting together multiple finer threads).

For marketing purposes, a fabric with 250 two-ply yarns in both the vertical and horizontal direction could have the component threads counted to a 1000 thread count although it really about how the threads are spun in order to count each thread as one, even threads spun as two- or three-ply yarn.

Too busy? I agree!  I find all this, to be a bit confusing to a buyer and when explained, it’s done with so much difficulty.  The buyer just wants to know, if what they are buying is worth it, does it look good, does it display quality and will it give longevity.    Really, it depends how it feels to YOU and can the same texture be retained after you’ve cleaned the fabric.

I know, I know!  Some of you may have linen given to you by your Mom or grandmother, which still is beautiful and holding up pretty well!  I can remember when I was a child, my mother washing the linen, hanging them on our clothes line, then after drying from the sunshine of the day, the ironing board would be pulled out and she would get the Argo starch and iron them to perfection, then fold them (sounds so crazy doing that today)!   This is why they are still as beautiful; because of the care applied!   While on the other hand, my Uncle Al  (mother’s brother) thought of linen in a different way!  He served in the U.S. Army (parachute trooper) and always made me as a little girl make the bed up in military style (crisp corners & a quarter test), til this day I make the corners like he had taught me!  So tight, that I often have trouble turning in the bed, when sleeping!  LOL

I digressed, OK..back to Cynthia.  So what’s my favorite?  Let’s say 7 years ago, I had purchased linen from QVC and I kid you not, when cleaned the conventional way, they still look beautiful and feel the same.  The sheet manufacturer ‘s name is Northern Nights and their products are still sold on QVC.  There are also other great brand names; which also retain their feel and texture.

Now, it’s really up to the Cynthia to find out what she likes; without spending a lot of money!  She can first buy a sheet set, 400 or 500 thread count as a starter, knowing the thread count does play a part in the price.  She has to keep in mind and make sure the package is read thoroughly for the details.

If Cynthia or you decide to invest in a higher thread count, for a higher price, the upkeep is also higher.. not the regular detergent and softener would do.   The higher the thread, there may be guidelines to follow to keep the texture, feel and appearance, like taking them to the dry cleaner!  However, there are blow out sales, discontinued styles and outlets;  which would give the opportunity to buy a nice set; at a bargain.

Bottom line, its best to look at the thread count, the brand, the style and decide which is best for you; so the next time you are shopping, look carefully at the different thread counts and find which is best for your personal style and comfort.   I’ve asked Cynthia to give some feedback after she goes shopping, I’ll be sure to share it with everyone!

Hope this information was helpful!

Be well- Letia  🙂

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3 Responses to “OK! Tell Me about Thread Count!”

  1. johnNckQueens July 21, 2010 at 5:16 AM #

    Great post, I will be sure to recommend to friends!

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