The truth about thread count

In a cotton fabric for bedsheets, you count the warp threads in one  inch and the weft threads in one  inch:
the THREAD COUNT (TC) is the total of the two numbers. 
The THREAD COUNT is definitely a parameter to consider in the evaluation of bedsheets, but it is not the only one and not even the most important .



The best quality cotton is the “Extra Long Staple” or ELS. Staple refers to the length of the cotton fibre: the longer the fibre the better because it produces more resistant and finer yarns.



This refers to the fineness of the yarn used. Finer yarns allow you to obtain lighter and softer fabrics. The highest THREAD COUNTS are obtained with finer yarns since a greater number of threads can be inserted in a square inch. Ultra fine yarns can be twisted together to create 2-ply yarns which produce a more resistant fabric.


After the cotton yarns have been transformed into a fabric, the latter undergoes the finishing phase.
Gassing (or singeing) is the process that burns the superficial lint on the fabric that could give rise to pilling on the sheets later on.
The mercerisation improves the shine, the resistance and the dye affinity while improving the dimensional stability of the fabric.
Lower quality bed linens may not have been singed or  mercerised.



This refers to the way in which the THREAD COUNT is obtained.

To obtain a higher THREAD COUNT, sometimes 2-ply yarns (twisted) or  “multiple-picks ” are inserted  (i.e. parallel untied weft yarns).

If one considers quality in terms of the weaving alone, the best fabric is obtained using SINGLE yarns and inserting SINGLE PICKS . The highest THREAD COUNT that can be obtained with this type of construction is about 400 TC.
Above this THREAD COUNT, 2-ply yarns and/or the insertion of “multiple-picks” must be used. 


Weaving 2-ply yarns which do not have a sufficiently high count produces finished fabrics with a heavy blanket type hand.
The insertion of “multiple-picks” (parallel yarns) often makes them visible to the naked eye; this practice increases the thread count but, on the other hand, it has no real practical or useful purpose. The difference is clearly seen in the image on the left where, in the upper photograph the wefts are more obvious than in the bottom photo, which shows a satin weave with the insertion of a single-picks.

In a quality product, the incremental value of comfort bestowed by Thread Counts exceeding 400 TC is very small.

We aim to encourage our customers to give less importance to extremely high Thread Counts and focus more on other quality indicators: i.e. the quality of the fibre, the yarn count, the finishing and construction processes. In this way you will obtain more comfortable products that really do represent quality and value.


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