With good quality bed linen a thread count is often provided. Woven fabric is made up of a warp thread which runs vertically, and a weft thread which runs horizontally. The thread count is used to describe the number of these threads per square inch and the general rule is the higher the thread count, the higher the quality of the bed linen. The thread count is also influenced by the construction of the quality of yarn used. With finer threads such as Egyptian cotton more threads can be woven into a square inch, which produces a finer fabric. Here are some examples of the quality of different thread counts: 200-220 = good, 230-280 = very good, 300-400 = excellent, 500-600 premium.
When choosing new bed linen there are lots of different fabrics available and it can be a bit confusing as to which one is right for you. Cotton is probably the most popular, and is it is low maintenance, versatile and affordable. Egyptian cotton is the highest quality and softest-feeling cotton available and is often available in higher thread counts than other fabric. Cotton percale is another widely used fabric for bed linen; it is a variation on the regular cotton where the cotton yarn is given a combed treatment. This gives the bed linen a lovely smooth finish that has a high quality feel about it.
Linen is made from yarn made out of fibres from the flax plant. It is a heavier, stronger fibre than cotton, and it is an excellent conductor of heat and does not retain any moisture. These qualities make it a popular and comfortable choice. Sometimes cotton and linen are combined to have both the fabric’s qualities and keep bed linen more affordable.