Thread Counts, Materials and Quality- Oh My!
So you need a new linen set?
Wait, don't rush to take out money from your bank just yet. A good quality linen set does not have to empty your wallet.
So, what should you spend money on? A very high thread count, a good cotton material? What is important in your bedding set and what is just nice to have but not essential?
Here is all you should know before you shell out hundreds of dollars on linen sets of ridiculously high thread counts:
Choosing a linen set can be confusing but one thing is for sure, 100% cotton, is the only way to go. It is very worthwhile to spend money on a cotton set. Yes, I know we are talking about saving, but this is not the area to be cheap in.
Why not? Polyester is an imitation man-made material that just can't compare to it's original- cotton. While polyester does not tend to wrinkle like cotton does, it is a much less breathable fabric, it is harsh on sensitive skin and can get very easily torn or pilled. Poly-cotton, a blend between the two, should also be avoided.
Look for sets that are 100% cotton. What's the deal with cotton, you ask? Well for one, cotton sets are breathable, made-well and stay nice for a while. They don't rip or tear easily and are gentle on the skin. Basically, cotton is everything polyester is not.
Ok, So now that we got that down let's talk about thread counts.
The Great Thread Count Myth:
Thread count refers to the number of single-ply threads used horizontally and vertically per square inch. (Hence, your 300 thread count sheet has 150 vertical threads and 150 horizontal threads per inch while a 500 thread count set has 250 and 250 in each direction.)
Generally, the higher the thread count is, the softer and more durable the material is. The reason is, because the higher you go, you more you need to use a thinner and silkier thread to fit that many threads into one single square inch.
Wait, don't panic. I'm not here to convince you to buy a 1,000 thread count set and here is why:
500 thread count is really the highest number of threads you can put into once square inch. After that, it is all creative marketing lies. There is a limited number of threads you can stuff into one inch.... 800 threads per inch is really a fantasy.
What, you don't believe me? Read on about how companies get away scamming well, most of the world. Thread count is counted by single-ply threads. According to Consumer Report's the factories twist a bunch of very thin strands together and claim the thread count 4 times more then it should've been. This results in a cheap quality sheet that's sold at exorbitant prices.
So what is the optimal thread count? 100 thread count will be much too thin (that's only 50 and 50 threads per inch) but good thread counts are between 250 to 500. For context: a 3 or 4 star hotel uses 200-250 thread count sheets. Higher end hotels use sheets that are 300-500 thread counts.
The average sheet we carry is a very soft 300 thread count. These sheets are best for those that tend to sweat at night and are looking for a very breathable set. We also carry a 400 thread count. It's fabric is a bit thicker and more silky as well. 350 thread count sits nicely in the middle.
Note that higher the thread count, the heavier the fabric will be, because of the large number of threads used per inch. 500 thread count - being the highest possible *real* thread count - is an extremely durable and strong fabric that will last a long time.
Our Hotel Collection is made from a 500 thread count sateen cotton. Sateen is a weave type which results in a very silky luxurious feel. The blend of these two components result in a more sturdy fabric that will last longer and hold up better yet at the same time are not too thick, rather because of the weave, they have that really soft and silky feel to them. Sateen is a very soft weave, which nicely softens the 500 thread count to bring a materiel that is both sturdy and luxuriously soft.
Printed fabrics are a very common choice of linen. After the cotton is sewn into a fabric, the material is dyed to a print or a solid color. All that means for you is that when choosing a set make sure that it is fade-resistant and 100% reactive. Simply put, the prints won't fade and the colors won't run in the wash.
(It also means you should follow the companies wash instructions in our case, be careful to wash your linen sets on cold or warm and tumble dry on low. See our wash instructions blog for more: https://www.auraandbelle.com/blogs/at-home-with-aura-and-belle/wash-instructions)
It goes without saying that all our sets are 100% reactive and fade-resistant.
The Ironing Issue:
No one enjoys ironing linen. We are not 1950's housewives after all. We run our homes, jobs and families like the most efficient CEO. The average woman today just has no time for that.
But... we also want the best linen made from 100% cotton, of course. And cotton tends to wrinkle. And we want the best of everything in our homes.
What to do? For best results, refer back to our wash instructions. 95% of my customers follow them and do not iron their linen. The only set we recommend a quick once-over once it is already on the bed is our hotel style set- because it is plain white and so the creases show up more.
And there you have it. The ultimate guide to choosing the best sheets possible linen sets.
You can get the best for less.
Let's us know below if you have any other questions on this topic.