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What is Thread Count?

Thread count is a term used to measure how fine a fabric is, and is usually used when talking about cotton bed linen. Thread count refers to the number of threads contained in one square inch of material. This is calculated by counting the number of individual threads counted along two sides of the square inch and then adding them together.

Thread count

Thread count is normally used as a measure of the quality of a fabric, where the higher the thread count the better the quality.


To give you an idea how thread count affects the feel of a fabric, consider that a thread count of 150 (75 threads one way, 75 the other) produces muslin, which feels a little rough. Good-quality bed sheets come in at 180, and anything above 200 is considered better quality.


Luxury bedding would generally be anything from 400 thread count Egyptian cotton all the way up to 1000 thread count (the highest thread count available).


Some manufacturers have been known to claim thread counts of over 1000 but these are false claims. It is simply not possible to fit so many threads into a square inch of fabric.


In order to make their products appear superior, manufacturers will not count the threads but the fibres (or piles) that make up the threads. One individual thread may be constructed from 4 piles twisted together. Whereas most of us would refer to that as one thread, some of the more creative manufacturers will call it four.


At Yorkshire linen, our sheets start at 180 thread count (percale) and go all the way up to luxury1000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and pillowcases.