Josephine Home Bedlinen

Thread count

Confused by thread count? Don’t know your percale from your sateen? Our guide to buying bed linen will soon have you picking out the loveliest linens for your bedroom. 

The thread count is used to describe the number of threads in a square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the finer and smoother the fabric to touch. As a general rule, the higher the thread count, the more superior the quality of your bed linen. Standard cottons will be around 110 thread count, while higher quality starts at 200. Anything above 200 is considered a much more luxurious quality. 

So far, so good. Now here is the complex bit about thread count which few people know: ideally linen should be woven with a single yarn. However, one can only really go up to 300 thread count generally with a single, very fine yarn. So that anything above 300 thread count requires the twisting together of a double yarn. 500 thread count will be made of 2 x 250 thread count yarns, and a 1000 thread count by a 4 x 250 thread count yarns.
This tells you already that a great 300 thread count woven with long fibre single yarn will be better to the touch than a 500 thread count woven with lots of short yarns twisted together. A great single yarn 300 thread count fabric is fine, supple and soft compared to a 'high' thread count made up of too many yarns which feels like, well, cardboard!
Next: how can you tell two high thread counts (from two different brands) apart? The truth is, it is very hard to tell when they are in the packet. What we normally do is inspect the back the fabric (ie use the inside of a pillowcase or reverse of a sheet) to check whether the weave is neat, tight and fine. That will reveal the true quality of the linen without the ‘ glossy finish’ put on the outside, which tends to disappear in the wash when linen is of lower quality, leaving you with the dreaded pilling or ‘bobble’ effect.
The bottom line is that the proof of the pudding as ever is in the eating! So finally, once you understand more about thread count, you realise that a high thread count alone is no guarantee of quality but you need to do a few simple checks or review customer feedback of the brands you consider buying linen from to ensure that the customer feedback is consistent and mentions the feel - but also the longevity - of the products!
We hope this has helped lift the veil on some of the mysteries of thread count for you.
As ever, send us any questions on!


Which fabric should I choose?

Egyptian Cotton: This term relates to the fibre used to make the fabric. Egypt is renowned for growing cotton with particularly long fibres that allows them to be spun unto very fine, soft yet durable yarns, making Egyptian cotton into one of the finest.

Cotton Sateen: This relates to the weave used to turn the fibre (Egyptian Cotton) into fabric. Through an overlay of yarns on the surface, a sateen weave creates a fabric that has a lustrous, smooth surface that is irresistibly soft against your skin. This weave can also have a slight sheen.

Cotton Percale: This term also refers to the weave of the cotton fibres. Percale weave has a more matte look as it is a flat weave. When made in a good quality thread count (300 and above, for example) it has the unusual quality of improving with age. Percale is a high quality combed cotton. Combing removes any rougher poor quality fibres and gives bed linen a lovely smooth finish.

Josephine Home Bed Linen

Our pillowcases come in both a contemporary Housewife style, which has no border and fits exactly to the edge of the pillow. Alternatively, you can choose an Oxford style which has an additional border around the edge and mitred corners for a stylish look.

Our duvet covers have a traditional French ‘tail’ or ‘bottleneck’ end fold rather than button closure, which gets tucked in at the bottom for ease of bed making and so that you don’t lose your covers at night.

All of our Fitted sheets have elasticised around the entire hem, not just the corners, to keep your sheet secure through the night. Josephine Home fitted sheets all have a depth of 40cm. A flat sheet can be used as a top or bottom sheet, if you do not like fitted sheets. A top sheet and is essential if making your bed with blankets. Make sure your flat sheet has the right side facing down so that when you turn it back at the top of the bed, the right side is facing up.