When investing in good quality linen, you need to consider the type of cotton, the fabric weave (plain or sateen), yarn count (single or multi) and the thread count. On its own, a higher thread count doesn’t guarantee a finer or better linen.

Thread counts

Very simply, thread count is the amount of weft and warp (vertical and horizontal) threads that fit into a square inch (Australia 10 cm2) of fabric.

Plain weaves

A plain weave has one vertical to one horizontal thread in a one up, one down pattern. It produces the most durable fabric with a matte or semi-matte look. A percale fabric uses a plain weave construction. In practice, the highest thread count that can be achieved with single yarns is around 260 per square inch.

Sateen weaves

A sateen weave has one vertical thread woven for every four or more horizontal threads. The weaving process creates a herringbone pattern, slight sheen and soft feel. While they feel silkier and smoother to the touch, sateen weaves will tend to pull, wear and tear far more quickly and easily than a plain weave. Although the thread count is higher than a plain weave fabric, the intersections that hold the fabric together are 60% less, making it less durable.

Plied, twined or double yarn sateen

In order to meet the demand for higher thread counts, some manufacturers combine two yarns together to create a higher (and misleading) thread count.

Cord stitching

In the late 1950s, John Moorby Reed’s grandson, Peter, introduced the cord stitching system to help customers identify between a 200 and 400 thread count. He began to apply one row of cord for every 100 threads. His standard two row cord and four row cord finishes are now used worldwide.

If thread count isn’t a good indicator of quality, what is?

A good quality fabric is measured not only by the amount of threads used, but by the amount of intersections between the warp and weft threads. Each intersection creates friction that holds the fabric together, so the more intersections, the more durable the fabric.

Our plain weave cotton has equal numbers of warp and weft threads woven in each direction, producing the maximum number of intersections. The cloth is held together by each intersection and the friction created by each overlap. The more intersections and overlaps, the more pliable and durable the cloth.

Our plain weave cotton contains over seventeen thousand intersections per square inch, making it exceptionally long lasting.

Weave Yarns Thread count Intersections
Plain Single & single 262 17,161
Plain Single & Two Ply 393 17,161
Sateen Two Ply & Two Ply 524 8,581