Thread Count Information
Most people associate thread count with quality. As with most other things, you get what you pay for and those 1,200 thread count sheets are superior above all else, right?
First, let's clearly define what thread actually count is. This number printed on the label of your sheets refers to the number of threads in one square inch of the fabric. If that confuses you a bit, you're not alone. How does anyone fit 1,200 threads into a square inch?
In short, it's not possible. So what are you getting when you're buying sheets with a thread count of 1,000 or more?
In reality, you're probably getting about half that. You won't know the difference because sheets with a thread count of 300 or more already have the super luxurious feel you'd expect to get when buying sheets with high thread count.
So what are you actually paying for when you're picking out 1,200 thread count Egyptian cotton?
Far more important than thread count are the length of the fibers and the type of weave used to turn them into fabrics. While the thread count of your sheets does affect softness and just how well it wears over time, thread count means absolutely nothing if the quality of the fiber and the construction of the fabric are low.
No matter the material, longer fibers make for softer and more durable fabrics. Using two techniques referred to as combing and carding, high-end fiber manufacturers are able to remove the short fibers responsible for pilling, rough texture and weak spots. When only the best fibers are used, a sheet will feel luxurious at thread counts as low as 200.
Well-known brands like Austin Horn also combine combing and carding with superior weaving techniques to create soft fabrics that are durable and affordable. Most of our bed sheets feature 300 or 400 threads per square inch and are woven percale. A percale weave places each warp thread over one weft thread, then under the next warp thread, and so on. This basic over-under method produces a strong fabric that's crisp, breathable and easy to care for.
Because percale cotton is tightly woven, it naturally comes in thread counts of 200 or higher. Its medium weight means fewer wrinkles and warps, and easy washing. All of our sheets can be put in the washer at 30 C.
Percale versus Sateen
Sateen fabrics use a satin weave, which is created when the threads are woven using a four-over/once-under method. Unlike percale, this creates a much looser weave that's less durable and more prone to wrinkling, but is also exceptionally soft. Just like with any weave, the quality of the fiber plays a major role. Look for long combed fabrics, as these are softer and will last much longer than fabrics using short fibers.