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What’s a “High” Thread Count?

We’ve all heard the hype: higher thread counts mean softer, more luxurious <a title="Sheets" href="http://www.atgstores.com/sheets_12772.html?linkloc=topnav" target="_blank">sheets</a> – but what exactly qualifies as a “high” thread count? It’s a subjective question, of course, but if we’re trying to draw an objective conclusion we have to establish some kind of scale; some ability to draw baselines. To start, we’ll remove as many variables as possible so we’re left with thread count (and manufacturer, by necessity) as our only criterion. <strong>Sheet Material</strong> Let’s stick with Egyptian cotton. It’s got a good reputation and is very popular when compared to Pima, American Pima or other types of fabric. <strong>Ply Type</strong> Single-ply sheets are made from individual un-plied threads, which typically result in higher thread counts, and since that’s what we’re after we’ll use this as the standard. Double-ply sheets are heavier and stronger, and can also feel very luxurious, but we want to keep our focus on fine threads. <strong>Weave Type</strong> The big choice here is between percale (standard), flannel and sateen, and we’ll use percale as our baseline, but more importantly is that the cotton is <em>combed</em>. Combed cotton is much softer than conventional carded cotton and can impact the feel as much – if not more – than thread count, anyway. So, that means we’re comparing sheets of varying thread counts that are all made of 1) combed 2) single-ply 3) Egyptian 4) percale-weave cotton. Whew! So, finally … <strong>Thread Count</strong> As a reminder, thread count refers to the number of threads woven together in one square inch of the fabric; the total calculated by adding the number of horizontal and vertical threads. Theoretically, higher density means a softer feel … but the scientific reality is that sheets with astronomical thread counts (say, anything above 400) <em>won’t fit into our scale</em>. Why? Well, because it’s almost physically impossible to squeeze more than 400 individual threads into a square inch of single-ply cotton fabric – anything above that number requires double-ply thread and marketing razzle-dazzle. <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Conclusion</span>: A thread count of 400 is actually very high for single-ply cotton sheets; anything more than that and it's either a two-ply sheet or a second cousin to a magic carpet. <a title="ATG Stores Homepage" href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> hopes this helps you select the right sheets for your sheep-counting siestas.
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