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Saturday, October 25, 2014
Fabrics that are in common use today fall into two general categories – knit fabrics and woven fabrics. Knit fabrics are not classified according to thread count. Woven fabrics are made by weaving, or crisscrossing, threads, the warp, or horizontal thread, and the woof, or weft, which is the vertical thread. These crisscrossed threads can be woven very closely or very loosely, which determines the quality of the finished material. Tightly woven threads result in a fine, smooth fabric, while loosely woven threads result in a coarse fabric. Burlap is an extreme example of a coarsely woven fabric while satin is an example of a finely woven one.

In addition to the closeness of the weave, thread count also depends on the diameter, or fineness, of the thread. To use the previous example, burlap is woven from threads that are very big around, or coarse. Considering the coarseness of the thread and the looseness of the weave, a piece of burlap might have a thread count of less than 100, which is very coarse indeed.

What is thread count and what does it have to do with the fineness or coarseness of a finished fabric? Thread count refers to the number of threads in one square inch or one square centimeter of fabric. Both warp and woof threads are counted, up and across the square, and the two numbers added together give the thread count.

A thread count of 150 is considered standard. The thread count for better quality fabrics starts at 180 and can run as high as 400. Thread counts higher than 400 are accomplished by twisting two lengths of thread together and using each twisted piece as though it were a single thread, but both threads are counted separately.

Thread count is almost exclusively used to classify and sell sheets, pillow cases, and pillow case protectors. Thread count is seldom a factor in clothing purchases. Not surprisingly, higher thread count fabrics command higher prices. Personal preference will dictate if a higher thread count justifies a higher price when purchasing bedding.

by: Palmetto Linen