Threadcount is simply the number of threads in a fixed area of fabric. Counting the threads along the warp (or length) of the fabric, and the threads across the weft (or width) of the fabric and you have your thread count.
Thread count has created a marketing bonanza for bed linen retailers. We thought we would dedicate a full page to this topic.
What is thread count? This is simply the number of threads in a fixed area of fabric. Counting the threads along the warp (or length) of the fabric, and the threads across the weft (or width) of the fabric and you have your thread count.
Thread count is typically quoted using the Imperial system of 1 square inch, whilst the Metric system (mainly used in Australia and New Zealand) is based upon 10 square centimeters. Suppose you pick up a bedsheet package that quotes 200 Threadcount per square inch (2.54cm x 2.54cm). Let’s say that is made up of 100 threads along the length of 2.54cm, plus 100 threads along the width of 2.54cm. Since 10 square centimetres is 3.16cm x 3.16cm, this equates to 124 threads along the 3.16cm length, plus 124 threads along the 3.16cm width. Threadcount per 10 sq cm is therefore 124+124, which rounds up to 250.
A ready conversion to remember is that Threadcount (Imperial) x 1.25 = Threadcount (Metric).
More than just threadcount
However, don’t be fooled into thinking the higher the thread count, the better. Quality is as much about the fiber that the fabric is made out of. Good quality flax (or linen) can have a thread count less than 100. Conversely, a highly processed modal can have a thread count in the hundreds for a fraction of the cost.
How do some creative retailers market a 2-ply yarn (2 yarns twisted in a single yarn)? As an instant doubling of threadcount. As a result, a 300 threadcount fabric can suddenly be sold as a 600 thread count fabric! Check out our threadcount conversion guide to understand the difference between imperial and metric threadcount.
Ultimately, the price you pay should be a reflection of the quality you can expect.