Why thread counts

Sweet Dreams

“Although it may seem like a boring purchase, nothing compares to crawling into a fantastic-feeling bed.” 

Once you have the perfect mattress, nothing can enhance your sleeping experience more than luxurious sheets.

When choosing sheets you should consider thread count, fibre quality, yarn size and finishing.

While many consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the sheets, this is not always the case.

“Thread count simply refers to how many threads there are in a square inch of fabric,” says Sara Lesieur, owner of Bedside Manor.

“In general, the higher the count, the finer the fabric is, or should be. This will vary, though, depending on the quality of the fabric.

“Personally, I don’t count. I prefer to know the quality of those threads. I would rather have a higher quality thread with a lower thread count, than a high thread count with poor quality fabric. The finer the thread, the better the fabric.”

Sheets made from 100 per cent cotton are the most popular on the market, with Egyptian cotton, known for its extra long fibre, particularly favoured.

Sara usually advises customers to choose sheets with a thread count of 200 or more, depending on personal tastes.

“I often ask people their preference before pointing them in the direction of a certain sheet, regardless of the thread count,” she says.

“If somebody wants a crisp, sturdy sheet then a percale, which offers a tight, uniform weave, would be perfect. However, someone wanting a silkier, lighter feel would probably prefer a sateen finish.”

The yarn size of sheets simply refers to the fineness of the yarn with the higher the size indicating the finer the yarn, typically ranging between 40 and 100 in quality sheets.

Once cotton yarns are woven into a fabric, they need to be finished. In superior quality bedding this is done by singeing, which burns off fuzz to stop pilling, or by mercerising, a process that increases the sheets’ strength, lustre and affinity for dye.

“There are many factors to consider [when buying sheets] such as the weight, your preference of feel – silky, soft or crisp,” Sara explains. “Again, depending on the fabric, a higher thread count can mean a heavier weight, which can result in you feeling warmer than you want to be.”

Sara recommends considering the overall feel of the sheets and deciding what you will find most comfortable while sleeping. She says it is worth investing in the highest quality set you can afford.

“Although it may seem like a boring purchase, nothing compares to crawling into a fantastic-feeling bed and, for the price, a great set of sheets will last for years.”