Thread Count 101
Tips & Advice

Thread Count 101

The truth about thread count.

First, a basic definition: thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. Thread count has become a popular buzz-word over the years, but very few people know that there are other more important components that make a sheet luxurious and long-lasting, and that the thread count is really just a personal preference.

Beyond thread count: 3 Components of a Great Quality Sheet

  1. The type of cotton. Egyptian cotton is considered to be the best in the world, due to the strength and length of its extra-long fibres.
  2. Where the fabric is woven. Italian mills are the world's foremost experts thanks to their long history of weaving and superior technology.
  3. The thread count. Look for a thread count higher than 200 t.c. (less than 200 t.c is called muslin), but remember, thread count is a personal preference!

    Au Lit Fine Linens - Thread Count 101Thread count is important, but equally significant is where the cotton is grown and where and how it has been woven. Egyptian cotton is acknowledged to be the finest cotton in the world, just as the Italians are renowned for their long-standing tradition of weaving. The softness of your sheets depends more on the quality of the fibre - the raw materials - which is why a 220 thread-count sheet can feel softer than a 500 thread count sheet that uses an inferior grade of cotton or a twisted yarn. (The lower thread count sheet using long-stem Egyptian cotton and woven in Italy will last longer than a higher thread count sheet woven from inferior cotton.) Remember, ten Chevy's don't make a Jaguar. Higher thread counts can often be a mask for inferior cotton and weaving.

    Discerning consumers should always look for Egyptian cotton sheets, but be forewarned! Labels can be misleading. While numerous brands claim to use Egyptian cotton, their linens may contain as little as one percent. Look for packaging that says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton, like ours. Also, where the product is made is not necessarily where the fabric is woven. If you find a very inexpensive sheet with a really high thread count, it's probably not pure Egyptian cotton, and/or has an inferior weave.

Beyond thread count: Types of Weaves

Percale Weave

Cotton Satin Weave


The way in which fabric is woven also has a major effect on its feel. Percale is woven in a basic criss cross weave (one-over, one-under) and has a thread count higher than 200. It tends to be more crisp and cool, like a classic button down shirt. Cotton Satin fabric is made using a satin weave structure (four over and one under), which gives the fabric a sheen and silkier feel. But that doesn’t mean satin is better than percale, they each provide their own unique experience.

Although high thread counts have become something of a status symbol, the hand of the fabric – as determined by the finish and the type of weave – is entirely personal. Some folks just love the crisp, cool feel of percale and not the finer feel of a higher thread-count satin.

Our Thread Count Bar ranges from 220 Thread Count Percale to 1030 Thread Count Cotton Satin, to ensure that all of our customers can find the unique sleeping experience that they desire.