While thread count is a worthy feature to keep in mind, this number alone doesn’t determine the quality of the linens you’re buying. Numerous high-end linens manufacturers, such as SFERRA and Peacock Alley, agree that quality depends on more than just the closeness of the weave. When you shop for sheets, you want to look not only for thread count, but also for the weight, the fiber, the finish, and the feel of the fabric.
The weight of the material is simply how heavy it is. Some fabrics are very light, while others can feel heavier — and this factor partly depends on the fiber used. “The finer the fiber, the finer the sheets,” says SFERRA in their “Lose Count” promotional video. Long-staple Egyptian cotton is a great material, because the length of each fiber allows it to be spun very finely, resulting in higher quality sheets.
The finish of the sheets is essentially how the fabric is treated once it is woven. This process is a large influence on the color, luster, and feel of the material. Many mass-market brands have poor finishes that come off after just one or two washes; but high-quality brands will put on a finish that makes the fabric feel more luxurious the more often you use it. This feel is ultimately the most important factor in choosing your sheets. If you enjoy the touch of the sheets, you’ll like using them.
So next time you’re in the market for new bedding, remember that while thread count still matters, it’s not the be-all and end-all when it comes to quality. Once you’ve also considered the weight, the fiber, the finish, and the feel, you’ll be able to make an educated and knowledgeable decision on the type of sheets that you want.