Hands up, those of you like myself, who believed that the higher the thread count, well obviously, the better the quality of the bed sheet! I’m sorry to say, we have all been swept off our feet by some outdated marketing concepts.
The truth is, the quality and feel of bed linens really has more to do with the quality of the cotton used to spin the yarn, the quality of the equipment on which the fabric is woven, and the finishing process used to enhance the performance of the fabric.
It used to be that in order to weave high thread count fabrics, it was necessary to use high grade fine yarns because inferior yarns would not hold up to the weaving process. With the advent of new equipment and new weave geometries it became possible to crowd more average yarn into a square inch of fabric in order to meet the demand for higher and higher thread counts. This has resulted in fabrics being available in the market place that are underwhelming in both feel and longevity.
So where too from here? If we can’t trust the thread count, how do we know that what we are purchasing is a quality product?
Quality products are spun with quality yarn, and quality yarn is spun from long cotton fibers known as Long Staple Cotton. Long Staple Cotton, when spun, creates a yarn that has greater integrity because there are less twist ends. Twist ends are the little pieces of fiber that protrude from the the yarn once spun and are the weakest points of the yarn. Twist ends are where laundry chemicals begin to eat away at the bulk of the fabric, breaking down the integrity of the fabric as it eats through the fibers. This is where holes will start to appear in the fabric and pilling will occur. In contrast, a quality Long Staple Cotton fabric will be softer by nature, have greater surface sheen, and be less likely to pill.
Be careful too, not to be seduced into choosing products based on the region the cotton comes from. Terms like Egyptian and Turkish cotton are used loosely, and do not necessarily mean they are quality long staple yarns, and are only genuine if grown and produced according to specific stipulations.
My advice when deciding on the right brand for you is, do your research, read the labels, product descriptions and customer reviews carefully. There are some outstanding products available on the market that will deliver as promised.