Things you need to know before buying sheets
What Is Thread Count in Sheets?
Thread count is simply the sum of the warp (lengthwise) and weft (widthwise) woven together in one squire inch of fabric. In general the higher that number, (thread count) the better the fabric. But in our days, I have to say that thread count has almost nothing to do with the fabric quality and became only of a marketing tool.
Around 20 years ago, Textiles Mills around the World would use one type of quality yarns woven in the same exact process, so whomever achieved higher thread count in those days, did in fact achieved better quality fabric.
In our days, things have changed dramatically. As technology advanced, what was not possible for the older generation of textile manufacturers became available for this one. Lower quality fiber which was not used in making T250 sheets for example, now were able to be use even in up to T300. Weaving looms were updated as well to able to weave fabric in many methods and speeds.
To simplify things, a 300 Thread count sheets made with quality yarn from quality fiber, woven in an authentic weave can well be of much better quality than a T500 or even higher. Does thread count is sheets still means quality to you?
What is Cotton Quality or Yarn Quality?
Quality of the fiber used in spinning the yarns can be of the most important in sheets making. Longer fiber such as Egyptian cotton or Pima cotton can produce much better yarns than other cotton which lacks such fiber. Combing is additional process in which Raw cotton is blended and cleaned from short fiber. Fibers of 1.25 to 2 inches in length are of Egyptian cotton while 7/8 of an inch for those of Pima cotton. The longer the fiber, the better, stronger & smoother fabric can be constructed.
What are the weaving processes?
The way in which the fabric is woven has very important effect on the finished fabric. The old traditional weave, plain weave or percale weave is one process in which the fabric is woven in one over one. It produces much stronger fabric but also limits the ultimate thread count which can be archived to 400 thread count.
Sateen weave or satin is the weave in which the fabric is woven in four over one; it means four yarn acts as if they were one. In this weave most of the yarns would be on the top surface of the fabric, resulting in silky smooth touch. In this weave higher thread count can be archived, even up to 1000 thread count per squire inch.
Just as the previous steps were effects by the advanced technology, weaving also received its share. The term insertions started to be used, the more insertions used in weaving a fabric the lesser quality it will get. For example a T400 woven with one pick insertion can be of much better weave of a T1000 woven with 10 pick insertions. It means 10 yarns were being inserted into the fabric from the weft (widthwise) as if they were one single yarn, creating a thicker heavier fabric as a result of the yarn build up.
Bamboo Cotton Blended With Egyptian Cotton Sheets
As soft as cashmere, as smooth as silk... bamboo sheets are todays luxury bedding choice. It seems strange to those who have not slept on bamboo sheets or tried other bamboo fabric products, but when bamboo grass is spun into fabric is quite literally is like a blend of cashmere and silk. People all over the world are switching from cotton to bamboo sheets and bedding... once you try it, you will never go back.
For starters, did you know that bamboo sheets are actually temperature-regulating? Bamboo fabric naturally stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter, making it the perfect choice for sheets. And let's not forget that bamboo fabric is naturally antibacterial and allergen free... what more could a person really ask for?
But bamboo sheets are not just heavenly to sleep on -- they are also environmentally conscious! An ever-important factor in making any decision, bamboo sheets are made from one of the worlds fastest growing, greenest, most renewable resource -- bamboo! Bamboo plants can grow up to a foot per day (unlike those slow-growing (lucky bamboo plants, which coincidentally are not really bamboo), so there are really no worry about deforestation. Another wonderful factor: because bamboo can grow so densely, a bamboo forest has around 40% more biomass than a regular hardwood forest. That is 40% more carbon-reducing power!
As for herbicides and pesticides and other nasty chemicals, bamboo simply does not need them. This makes bamboo a naturally organic product -- unlike cotton. Despite the fact that it is a natural fiber, cotton production is a very unnatural process using more pounds of chemicals per pound of cotton than any other crop. Of course, some of this ends up in clothing and other products made from cotton, but the vast majority ends up in the rivers, and ultimately in the Gulf of Mexicos (Dead Zone.) Think you are doing the environment a favor by eating organic foods? Your clothes, sheets, towels and other textiles likely have more of an impact.
Bamboo sheets are also the vegan/animal friendly choice for luxury... unlike silk or cashmere. This means you can sleep peacefully knowing no animals were harmed for you to sleep on your comfy bamboo sheets.
Superior Egyptian cotton Percale Sheets In Plain Solid Colors
Percale stands for the weaving process in which the fabric is woven by. In percale the yarns are woven in one over one, unlike Sateen where it is four over one. The one over one (percale) weave create a much even, stronger, denser and softer fabric, which can stand the test of time and gets better and better feel the more you wash it. It is just like your favorite old shirt, the more it is laundered the softer and durable it gets.
Superior single pick insertion of 300 Thread count Percale make this better than a 600 Thread count with 4 pick insertions as most of the T600 are. Insertions means when weaving the fabric, you have the vertical yarns being inserted or hemmed by the horizontal yarns. If the horizontal hemming yarns are being done with 1 yarn at time , it is called single pick insertion, if it is using 4 yarns, it is called 4 pick insertion. The higher the number of insertions the faster the weave and the less quality fabric gets. Have you ever wondered why your old 200 or 300 thread count feels better than your new 600 Thread count sheets? The reason is simply because new high thread count sheets are being woven with a higher and higher insertion to save money. This is not the same thing as 2-ply sheets. The 2 or 3 ply sheets refer to the yarn being used in weaving and not how it is being woven.
Finally, this superior weave, woven in the best authentic way is done using the best cotton in the world. Egyptian cotton, it is not just cotton grown in Egypt - it is a particular type of long-staple cotton originally grown along the Nile. Egyptian cotton has the longest fibers. That is, when you pull the cotton from the cotton plant and remove the seeds and waxes, Egyptian cotton has longer fibers available for spinning into yarn than other cottons. When intertwining strands of yarn to make a larger product, long-staple cotton has fewer connection points, and therefore a greater percentage of area is the natural softness of the cotton.