The thread count façade
Connoisseurs of luxury linens and lesser-informed shoppers (like me) often go out and buy the highest thread count sheets. We pay a fortune for 900-thread count or an outlandish 1200 thread count sheets. After all, the higher the thread count, the better the linens, right?
Sorry fellow shoppers, unfortunately we have been duped. The 900-thread count bed sheet is actually a 300-thread count sheet made from poor quality multi-ply yarn.
By now your wondering, what a multi-ply yarn is or how the thread count is inflated,Let me explain by starting with a few basic concepts:
What is thread count?
Thread count is the number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric.Therefore, if a sheet contains 150 horizontal and 150 vertical threads in a square inch, then the thread count is 150 + 150 = 300.
What is yarn?
Cotton fibers are spun into yarn using a process similar to how hair is braided. When stronger, softer and more durable long staple fibers (such as Egyptian cotton) are twisted around themselves, we get a single-ply yarn.
Whereas Multi-ply yarns are made by twisting 3 or 4 threads. The cotton fiber used here is weaker and that is why 3 or 4 threads are used to achieve the same strength and durability as a single-ply yarn made from long staple Egyptian cotton.
Now that you know what thread count is and what is yarn is, understanding the thread count façade is simple math.
Here is a simple Thread count formula:
Thread Count = Yarn type * (No.of horizontal threads + No.of vertical threads)
Lets apply this formula to a couple of sheets available in the market:
1) Aplus sheet: 300-thread count percale made from single-ply yarn of long staple Egyptian cotton.
2) 900 Thread count sheet available in Malls and Designer stores
Buyers (like me) that fell for trickery and bought the 900-thread count sheet paid more for an actually poor quality product. The weaker fibers used to spin multi-ply yarns are prone to pilling, fading and tearing. Finally, lets address the obvious question about the optimal thread count.
What is the ideal Thread count?
Karin Sun, founder of bedding company Crane & Canopy says “A high-quality sheet is usually within the 300-400 range. "Anything higher is often creative counting — either through ply or pick, or manufacturing methods," she says. Plus, the higher the count, the thicker the sheet, which can make for less breathability, says Tannen.
We agree Karin’s observation. With long staple cotton fibers such as Egyptian or Supima, the maximum you can fit is 300-400 threads in a square inch.
At Apluslinen, after much research we zeroed in on a 300 thread count. Aplus sheets are made from single-ply yarn of handpicked long staple Egyptian cotton. Our 300 thread count percale sheets not only feel luxurious but also allow air to pass through. A steady airflow ensures that you do not overheat.