Don't judge a sheet by the thread count number!
You first need to understand what creates the softest hand, the finest
drape, the most lustrous finish, and the world's most luxurious linens ,
you must consider more than just thread count , which is a measure of
the number of yarns woven into one square inch of fabric. Thread count
is important, but it is only one part of the story. The quality of a
sheet is determined by three other key components as well, but it all
starts with the quality of the fiber itself, and the yarn made from it.
The Quality of the Yarn
The world's finest cotton is grown on the banks of the Nile River in
Egypt. There, as the river recedes, it leaves a particularly fertile
swath that nourishes the very best cotton. Egyptian cotton is renowned
because it yields the longest-staple cotton in the world (the staple
being the individual cotton fiber or "hair"). While others may claim
their sheets are Egyptian Cotton , the luxury linen companies are
directly involved in the creation of their sheets every step of the
way, allowing them to hand-select only the very best cotton from the
Nile River valley. Once they ensure the superiority of the cotton, they
have the raw fiber cleaned and spun into smooth, silken yarns by their
master craftsmen in Italy.
The quality of the yarn is largely a function of the length of the
staple, or cotton fiber. This is because long-staple cotton can be spun
into a smoother, stronger, much finer yarn, so that it is possible to
weave more threads per inch into the fabric, resulting in a higher
Certainly, many inferior, short-staple cotton yarns can be jammed into
a square inch to create a high thread count, but the resulting fabric
can feel heavy and coarse, never comparable to the luxury linens like Sferra or Frette .
In Italy they are known for enlisting the world's finest
spinners, weavers, sewers, embroiderers and artisans to craft their
Thanks to generations of experience and expertise, in Italy they
understand yarns the way a vintner understands grapes: what type and
fineness of yarn to choose for each weave, and how to fine-tune each
technical factor, from the number of picks sent through the shuttle to
the diameter of the yarn, to create the desired hand: chamois-soft or
crisp percale, silken sateen, lustrous jacquard. They build
relationships with the best mills who blend centuries-old history and
knowledge of their craft with cutting-edge textile technologies, looms
and facilities. How they create the world's finest cotton percales,
sateens and jacquards are trade secrets, and we are the beneficiaries.
Many Italian linen companies use a variety of yarn sizes (and thus,
yarn fineness) to produce the different desired attributes and
qualities of our sheeting: For example, Sferra Bros. Celeste 406
percale has a chamois-soft hand, while the 800 count Sereno makes for a
very crisp and cool percale. They also have been able to spin a yarn so
fine that they created the world's first 1020 thread count sateen
After the world's finest cotton has been selected, spun and woven into
cloth of the very best quality, the process doesn't stop there. The
attention to detail continues into the fabric finishing and
sewing can also dramatically affect the feel and the quality of
the final product.
Most all of Italian Luxury cotton sheets are mercerized - a process
that helps plump the fibers, giving the fabric greater luster and
strength - some linen companies don't Sanforize their sheets (a process
designed to help reduce shrinkage), preferring instead to cut their
fabrics generously to allow for shrinkage.
The state-of-the-art finishing brings out the subtle sheen of a sateen,
the softest nap of cotton, the richest, longest-lasting colors and
enhances both the feel of the fabric and the quality of the weave. The
fabric does not leave the mills unless it is as unblemished, smooth and
sleek as possible, and unless it has achieved exacting standards
and impeccable quality.
They offer several collections where the embroidery is done entirely by
hand, whether it be subtle hemstitching, scalloping, or intricate
embroidery. This allows for an attention to detail and a special grace
that machine-sewn items will never emulate.
The end result of all this care and attention, every step of the way,
is a difference you can feel, in sheets that are woven with the luxury
of fine heirlooms. But don't take our word for it: feel a Sferra or
Frette sheet for yourself.. Trust your hand, because nothing feels
better than getting into bed at night nestled in the world's most
Understanding Thread Count for Linens
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