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The ins and outs of thread count - your simple guide

15 September 2021

Our guide to thread counts is designed to make the bedding buying process that little bit easier.

We’ll cover what thread count means, how a thread counts affects your sleep, and why you should look out for this special number when you make a new purchase for the bedroom.

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What does thread count mean?

Put simply, thread count is the number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric. It’s made up of crisscrossing threads that appear lengthwise (warp) and width wise (weft) on a wide range of textiles. In other words, it tells us if yarns are tightly woven in a fabric.

Is a higher thread count always better?

Most people assume a higher thread count means a better product but this isn’t always the case. More tightly woven fabrics may feel softer but they’re often heavier than their lower thread count equivalents. This usually gives sheets and duvet covers a more premium feel but it isn’t ideal if you’re buying bedding for the summer.

Items with a higher thread count are also more likely to limit airflow and breathability, and are best avoided if you struggle to stay cool at night.

There are other factors to consider too. It’s important to remember the old adage ‘quality over quantity’, as the quality of yarns is more important than their quantity, or thread count. The weave or the pattern of threads is also key. For example, a percale or plain weave sheet tends to have a lower thread count than a sateen weave sheet by its very nature.

Then there’s workmanship to consider. A high thread count doesn’t guarantee that your bedding has been made to the highest standard.

Some thread counts may also be inflated by using double- or triple-ply threads. Counting multiple fibres in a single thread can instantly multiply thread counts to make them appear more luxurious. Multi-ply yarns usually aren’t as soft, breathable or hard-wearing as single-ply alternatives.

What is a good thread count for sheets?

There’s no golden thread count for fitted bed sheets or flat bed sheets but consumers usually look for fabrics around the 200 thread count and up – anything lower may not feel soft.

A good thread count can also vary by material. It’s generally accepted that the sweet spot for cotton is around the 200 to 400 thread count, while bamboo bedding is usually best around the 300 to 500 thread count

If you’re buying bedding for colder months, you might want to pick up items with a much higher thread count for a heavier and warmer feel. If you want more breathable bedding, you should try to find items with a lower thread count. The choice is largely based on personal preference.

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Are all materials measured using thread count?

Thread counts aren’t very useful when buying linen products. The material typically uses much lower thread counts than other textiles so thread counts shouldn’t be used as an indicator of quality. In fact, thread counts are rarely given on linen sheets and pillows.

Some materials use alternative units of measurement to thread count:

Flannel, Jersey and Microfibre often use GSM, or grams per square metre. Our Madison Bathroom Towels measure 600 GSM to create a product that dries brilliantly and stays soft and absorbent after multiple washes.

Silk, on the other hand, uses ‘momme’, a Japanese unit of measurement for the weight in pounds of a piece of fabric 45 inches wide and 100 yards long. Our luxuriously soft Mulberry Silk Pillowcase comes in at 16mm, or momme.

Our products according to thread count

Our extensive product range is available across a wide number of thread counts from 200 to 1200.

For example, our 200 thread count Easycare collection features smooth weave polyester across pillow cases, duvet covers and fitted sheets. Meanwhile, our fine Egyptian cotton blend is available in a 200 thread count, 400 thread count and a super-luxurious 1000 thread count range.

For that high-end hotel feel, the 600 thread count cotton sateen uses the perfect weave for a lovely drape and fine lustre. Our highest thread count is found on our cotton sateen 1200 thread count products. Their superfine yarns are tightly woven for a silky smooth finish and our quality guarantee for seven years.

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