Removing the mystery...
Thread count (i.e. the number of threads in a sheet) is one key measure of bed linen quality.
The other measure is thickness of the thread used - two fabrics with same thread count can feel and look very different if one has fine threads and one thick ones.
Thread counts are calculated by adding the number of threads in the warp and weft in a specific measured area.
Square inch versus 10cm box?
Traditionally thread count has been given in inches but times change and so must we so we are now using what has become the industry standard of a 10 square centimetre box which measures 3.16cm x 3.16cm.
What does this mean?
Thread counts look higher than they used to! What was 144 is now 180! What was 250 is now 312.
Apples with apples
When comparing products from different suppliers it is important to get clear information on how the thread count is calculated.
Converting metric thread count to inches - The calculation
Metric tc divided by 1.25 = the great imperial inch thread count
Thread count is actually measuring the amount of threads counted in 2 given lengths - the height and width of the box. NOT the volume as many people assume and therefore wrongly calculate when converting. This means that the 2 counts are added NOT multiplied as in an area calculation.
This is important as many people apply simple maths that works for area, not realising it is not an area measurement.
Like maths? Okay here you go:
Using the 10 centimetre standard gives us 2 lengths of 3.16cm each. The number of threads found within the prescribed distance along these 2 lengths (the warp and weft threads or up-down, and across) are counted and ADDED together.
So in SuperCale we have 112 along one 3.16cm side and 138 along the other 3.16 side, making 250 thread count.
The old inch box was 2.54cm on each side. So what we need to do is count the warp and weft threads in this new smaller length.
So we are turning a length of 3.16 into 2.54 which is best achieved by dividing it by 1.25 (3.16/1.25=2.53 (close enough!)).
So 250 tc per 10cm square = 200 per square inch (250/1.25).
Our standard PC is 180 tc per 10cm square and CottonRich is 220 tc per 10cm square .
Our better PC is Supercale at 250 tc - highly recommended if looking at own laundry as it is easy care, less creasing, better feeling.
Top is Douceur striped at 312 tc. This is the highest threadcount recommended. A higher tc is usually somewhat of a false claim and is often made with very fine thread and does not breathe well or absorb moisture, or made by simply winding 2 threads together before it is loomed (a 250 becomes 500) but with no real advantage.
Our 100% cotton is 150 thread count and is not designed for high end hospitality - it is hospital sheeting.
Just feel it
To make matters harder different materials feel and act very differently with different thread counts. For instance pure cotton needs a lower thread count to achieve the same sense of thickness and weight as a higher thread count polycotton. Also SuperCale can feel thinner than Standard polycotton despite having a higher thread count as its threads are finer.
Too high a thread count, especially in polycotton, is unpleasant as the fibre can no longer absorb moisture as effectively.
We make our sheeting in what we and the commercial users we supply, consider to be the correct material for the stated job.
The best thing you can do is to ask for a sample and feel it, remembering to wash it once first to remove the finishing coat.