Written by: Stephanie Lichtenstein Ramos
Thread count is a complicated concept for most beginners to understand. If you’ve been around the block before, you know that thread count refers to the amount of threads used per square inch of fabric. You might have also heard that these threads are directly related to the softness and durability of the material itself. There are a host of rumors and misconstrued ideas involved in determining optimum thread count. For instance, Laura Ashley bedding is known to be cotton based, but each style can differ dramatically in both look and feel. Know that it is largely up to your preference, but also understand that there are real repercussions to choosing a fabric with a good thread count.
The notion that thread count is directly related to softness is somewhat untrue. It is true that in most cases a higher thread count will be a softer fabric, but there is no guarantee that a high thread count will be the softest bedding collections you can buy. Many of these styles commonly come in 200-300 thread counts, while others will go as high as 1200. However, the kind of fabric used is also critical to the softness of the bedding.
Most duvet covers are made of cotton-based fabrics, but a few will have alternative materials instead. Silk is popular, and it is very soft to the touch no matter what the thread count. You can also get fabrics that blend cotton. Shoot for around 250 threads and you’ll have something perfect for a kids or guest bedroom. You should also be aware that no matter what the material is, repeated washings will eventually soften the materials.
Weaves are largely ornamental in purpose, but can affect the softness of sheets. Especially patchwork type patterns. Sateen sheets, for instance, are a four-yard under one-yard over style of weave. The fabric is durable as a result, but durability increases the stiffness of the fabric. The best kind of weave for both softness and durability is one-yard over one-yard under. Different materials use these weaves for various effects. Sateen sheets, for instance, are shiny.
In the bedding industry, the action of feeling a fabric with your fingers is called “giving it a hand.” You want to feel the fabric whenever possible before you make your final determination. However, don’t trust feel exclusively. Polyester, for instance, feels soft to the touch as you buy it but quickly falls apart as it is used.
Stephanie Lichtenstein Ramos writes on behalf of BeddingStyle, where customers can browse a large collection of designer bedding.