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Counting Threads…

With all the different sheets we have tried at home over the years, we get to be a bit picky about the quality of our bed linen. For the consumer there is actually quite a lot to know when setting out to buy new sheets. So often we have customers come in who have recently bought what they thought was quality, elsewhere, only to be disappointed with its feel or, in particular, how it breathes.

The ‘marketing gurus’ at the large department stores have done a great job convincing people that the thread count of bed linen is the single greatest indicator of its quality. This is simply not the case. There is no point in knowing how many threads are in a sheet without knowing how thick the yarn is and the type of construction. There are so many variables.

In the old days of imperial measurements, ‘quality sheets’ were normally only 140 or 160 thread and probably what they called 40’s yarn in a conventional weave .This was the ‘hotel quality’, crisp, thick sheet that lasts and lasts. I remember buying brands like Dorma and Wabasso from Canada when I was first married that were still in good nick 20 years later.  Sadly this type of manufacture is no longer available as modern high speed looms use finer and finer threads to make more metres per minute.
Very high thread count sheets are usually made in a sateen construction using very fine yarns. The resulting product is softer in the feel but because it is so tightly woven it does not breathe and is hotter to sleep in. Also, the thread is so fine that the sheet surface is more likely to ‘pill’ (go into little balls). Some manufacturers add an anti-pilling agent but often this washes out after about 10 washes. This type of construction is more likely to tear as the sheet ages especially if a non-iron treatment has been added to it.
A more conventional sheet construction is one where the threads meet at right angles, thicker yarns are used that are crisper in the feel, breathe better, last longer and are cooler to sleep in during those hot summer nights. Generally these are about 3-400 thread count.
Of course the type of cotton and where it is grown has a big influence on quality as well. I have driven past cotton fields in Asia and been told that this area grows Egyptian cotton. Seems the farmer went to Egypt and brought back the plants to grow at home. Incidentally, I have also seen Hungarian duck down being grown in China with the same explanation that it is a type of duck down, not a geographical location, but I digress.
At Home Fabrics we have four, soon to be five, different qualities in our cotton sheets sourced from, and genuinely grown in, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and China. Each has its own different qualities and feel.  We have samples of each on display so you can easily see which you prefer. The one we like sleeping in best at home, because of its crisp smooth feel and ability to breathe, is far from the most expensive.
Thank you to all the many entrants in our Luxury Bedding Draw .The winner of the Feather Mattress topper, duvet and pillows was… Julie Applegren of
Beach Haven!

Julie Applegren of Beach Haven was the winner of our recent Channel competition and won a Feather Down Mattress Topper, a 50/50 Goose Down Duvet and set of two Luxury Hotel Pillows. Congratulations!

Home Fabrics, 28 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna Beach, Phone 486 1103, Email: or Visit:

by Channel Editorial