THREAD COUNT SCHMEADT COUNTWhen looking for the perfect linen,all you have to do is look at the thread count,right?
There's a lot more to linen than just cramming threads into them. There's also the cotton quality, yarn, weave and finishing processes that goes into makes fine linen...fine.
But that's not what most would understand, because it's much easier to get everyone to pay premium prices for a high thread count product, while corners are being quietly cut in other areas that actually matters.
Here you will learn about all the little things to consider when picking up quality linen. But the rule of thumb is this - the higher the claimed Thread Count and discounts handed out, the more cautious you should be.
Without further ado...
THREAD COUNTWhat is thread count? The million dollar question for bed linen. Thread count (TC) is defined simply as the number of threads on the weft (horizontal) + warp (vertical) in 1 square inch of fabric. Refer illustration below.
As TC is just a unit of measurement, a high TC fabric does not indicate how good a fabric is. Quite the contrary it is the quality of the yarns that goes into weaving the warp & weft threads that willl determine the final fabric quality.
At Plume, all of our linens are weaved with the finest yarn to create a truly stunning fabric that is luxuriously smooth to the touch. Should you feel so otherwise, you have 7 days to return the product in its original packaging absolutely free.
But 800 TC, 1000 TC, 1200 TC sheets, they certainly sound impressive
Safe to say, that 95% of high TC figures you see has been manipulated. When low quality cotton is used, multiple coarse yarns are twisted together before weaving the fabric. This is the most cost effective manner to increase thread count, as 2 ply yarns means TC x 2, and 3 ply yarns means TC x 3. So you end up with a high TC product that feel no better than a gunny sack.
Multiple plies coupled with the help of creative mathematics, can easily inflate a 260 TC / in2 fabric into a 800 TC / 10 cm2 fabric, giving you headline grabbing numbers that consumers love. I guess teachers in school were right when they said that mathematics are important.
OK but what if they are heavily discounted?
After being thouroughly “impressed” by such a high thread count beddings, sometimes all we need is just a little push. With unbelievable discounts up to 80%, consumers lose all sense of rationality while rushing to the checkout queue.
Little do they know that the discount has already been factored into the price, along with retailer’s margin, and the distributor’s margin, and the brand loyalties, and the logistic costs. Which can add up to 75% of the product price.
At Plume, we choose to invest all these costs into quality raw materials instead of fluffy marketing.
So what we pay for is what we get?
There are no shortcuts to create truly great bed linen. So, the next time you see a high TC bed linen at prices too good to be true, you are probably paying for a product with inflated thread count numbers made from low quality cotton.
Here at Plume, our luxury linen are only made from 100% Extra Long Staple cotton, weaved with the finest single ply yarns. When our flagship product is rated at 300TC, you can be sure that we are darned proud of it.
And with our direct model, what you pay for isn’t what you get, it’s a whole lot better.
COTTONCotton is your best friend in the bedroom. Chances are you've spent more time with it than any other person in the world. Popular for being comfy and cool to sleep on, the best cottons are made with long staples (that’s industry-speak for fiber length).The longer the staple the finer, smoother and softer your linen will be.
What are Egyptian cotton, Supima Cotton and Microcotton?
Egyptian cotton is a term usually applied to the extra long staple (ELS) cotton produced in Egypt. Supima cotton and Microcotton, similar to Egyptian cotton, is a patented label that is given to ELS cotton that was developed by the US.
The branding of Egyptian cotton can by misleading, since any cotton produced in Egypt can technically be labeled “Egyptian cotton”. In fact, your linen could be made of a lesser grade, non ELS quality. Some are labeled Egyptian cotton but may only contain as little as 1% within the yarn!
Ultimately Egyptian cotton does not always mean superior quality. The more expensive your bed linen are, the better the chances are that its made from the finest cotton.
At Plume, all our linen are made from super fine yarns spun from 100% ELS cotton for unparalleled smoothness and softness.
YARNA great yarn is a fine yarn. In the industry, the fineness of a yarn is measured by yarn size. Yarn size for linen exists in 40s, 60s, 80s and 100s.
Low yarn counts are spun from cheaper grade cotton and have lower tensile strength. These are more likely to be combined into multiple plies prior to weaving.
Finer yarns have higher yarn counts. Only long stapled cotton can be spun into finer yarns – the increased surface area of long fibers provide superior tensile strength.
Traditionally high TCs are associated with better fabric, as finer yarns allow for denser and stronger weaves. But these days, high TC products are often made with coarser yarns simply to pass off as a luxury product, and can often feel no better than a gunny sack.
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Plies are just a way of making thread into a teeny tiny version of rope; just twist two or more threads together. Plies help to increase the tensile strength of lower grade cotton.
On the flipside, it multiplies the thread count easily for producers. For example, if a 200TC linen is made with 2-ply yarn, it’s marketed as 400TC. This allows cheeky producers to use carded cotton with short fibers to cut costs.
The important thing to remember is that while multi-ply threads can produce higher TCs, they aren’t as strong as threads weaved from long stapled cotton. Therefore, fabrics made with multiple plies are coarser, heavier and less breathable.
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The choice between percale and sateen is simply a matter of preference. Want a honeyed touch and a luminous shine? Sateen is for you. Prefer a crisp and matte surface? Percale is the way to go.
PERACLEPercale is an upscale plain weave characterised by its crisp and matte finish. The weave is more breathable and lighter in weight and has enhanced durability over sateen weave linen. It is the preferred weave of luxury hotels all over the world.
SATEENSateen is an elegant weave that places more threads on the surface of the cloth. This gives it its characteristic lustre, shine and superior drape.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PERCALE AND SATEEN WEAVES Weave Percale Sateen Material Cotton Cotton Look Matte
Cool to the touch
Thread Count 200 and Higher Varies Warmth Retains less heat Retains more heat Strength Strongest finish Weaker finish, but still durable
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