Linen lingo can get a little tricky at times, making it difficult to decide which is the best choice for you. Learn about some basic linen concepts and you’ll be shopping with confidence in no time.
1. Thread count
Thread count refers to the number of horizontal (weft) and vertical (warp) threads in one square inch of fabric. You can find fabrics with a thread count starting from 80 and going to well over 1000 threads. Most department stores generally stock linen fabrics with a thread count between 180 and 320. Generally, the higher the thread count, the softer the fabric and the heavier the material becomes. Thread count is an important factor to consider, but material type also plays an important role in the softness of a sheet.
2. Material Type
Consider the actual material that the sheets and covers are made from. The most popular materials available include; satin, silk, cotton, linen, rayon, bamboo fibre, and blends of cotton with polyester.
The difference between silk and satin is that silk is natural, and satin is artificial. Silk is made from the cocoons of silk worms and is said to be a lot tougher; whereas satin is man-made from materials like silk, polyester and nylon. Silk can withstand very hot and cold water, and can be hand washed, whereas satin will stretch or shrink easily and should be dry cleaned. For this reason, silk sheets are much more expensive.
Cotton, on the other hand, is the more popular material when it comes to buying sheets and covers. It is the more reasonably priced fabric and is very practical in terms of maintenance. It is also more durable than silk and satin. A lot of cotton bedding is not 100% pure cotton, but rather mixed with other materials such as nylon or polyester. Egyptian cotton and Supima cotton are considered to be the most luxurious cotton types for linen because of the quality of the fibre.
The fibre of the material can make a difference too. Long fibre is stronger and more durable than short. The longest fibre types are Egyptian cotton and Supima; that is why these are considered to be the highest quality linen, with a price tag to match.
Finishing refers to the singeing (burning the fuzz off to prevent piling on your sheets) and mercerizing (treating the material under tension so that it increases in strength) once the yarn has been woven into a fabric. This increases the quality and durability of the fabric.
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for in linen, visit our bedding store and browse for the bedding that will suit your needs.