Thread Counts Explained

What is a thread count? 

Before we can explain this, we need to understand how fabric is woven. There are two yarns needed to weave fabric, the warp and the weft. The warp is the vertical yarn, threaded onto the loom. It takes a whole day to do this at the factory, and if you could see it, you’d understand why. A lot of it is done by hand, and it is a work of art. The weft is the yarn woven through the warp from right to left. When we are weaving, we tend to use a different colour for the warp and weft to show off our designs.

So now we all know about warps and wefts, the thread count is simply the number of threads (warp and weft) in a square inch of fabric.

How important is thread count?

Sometimes it feels like thread count was just invented to baffle people into buying textiles. Over the years, we have been bombarded with a minefield of information, and everyone seems to have a differing opinion on the truth about thread counts. In fact, the most important factor for bed linen is the quality of the yarns, not the thread count itself. The finer the yarn, and the longer the fibres, the better the quality. We only use long staple yarns (of which Egyptian cotton is most recognised), but actually any long staple cotton yarns will feel amazing.

What is the best thread count for bed linen?

This is where it becomes trickier. See it would be simple if all yarns were created equal and therefore, the higher the count, the denser and more durable the fabric, and therefore the higher the quality. This is true in some sense, however, over the years, retailers have cottoned on to the fact that people expect higher thread counts to be the best, and have started to cheat by using lower quality, thinner yarns. 

So the best thread count, we believe to be between 200 and 1000. With long staple (the longer the yarn, the better the quality), 100% cotton yarns, you can achieve a fabulous quality and feel at this level. Anything below 200 will look cheaper, feel rougher and you will be able to see the weave in the fabric. 

What thread count is best for sheets? 

When it comes to sheets, we would say that the higher you can afford to go, up to a 1000 thread count is the best option. Your sheets will have more wear and tear than your duvet cover, and the stronger the fabric, the longer it will last.

If you have any specific questions relating to thread counts, you can drop Molly a line at As a textile designer, she has a wealth of experience, and could talk about it for hours. Really, she can…zzzzz.