Beyond thread count: 3 Components of a Great Quality Sheet
The type of cotton. Egyptian cotton is considered to be the best in the world, due to the strength and length of its extra-long fibers.
Where the fabric is woven. Italian mills are the world’s foremost experts thanks to their long history of weaving and superior technology.
The thread count. Look for a thread count higher than 200 t.c. (less than 200 t.c is called muslin), but remember, thread count is a personal preference!Thread count is important, but equally significant is where the cotton is grown and where and how it has been woven. Egyptian cotton is acknowledged to be the finest cotton in the world, just as the Italians are renowned for their long-standing tradition of weaving. The softness of your sheets depends more on the quality of the fibre – the raw materials – which is why a 220 thread-count sheet can feel softer than a 500 thread count sheet that uses an inferior grade of cotton or a twisted yarn. (The lower thread count sheet using long-stem Egyptian cotton and woven in Italy will last longer than a higher thread count sheet woven from inferior cotton.) Remember, higher thread counts can often be a mask for inferior cotton and weaving.
Remaining a timeless accent for centuries, the basic white towel and its array of textures and thicknesses is a staple in every home. The more luxurious materials such as fine cotton and linen are worth the investment and with the proper care can withstand decades of use.
Laundering and Ironing
Caring for cotton is fairly simple and if done properly can increase the longevity of your towels. To keep your towels in pristine condition, cotton should be washed in a warm water cycle and rinsed in cold water. A small amount of chlorine bleach can be added in hot water on white towels and then rinsed with cold water if they look a bit dingy. Fabric softener should be avoided when washing cotton as it tampers with the fabrics natural qualities. Also note the fabrics texture; flat woven cotton requires ironing after each wash where as terry cotton does not.
The timeless elegance and versatility of linen has sparked a renewed interest in the textile industry appearing everywhere from haute couture to home furnishings. Valued for its durable yet delicate nature, linen can withstand generations of use and can easily be restored to its original crisp, sheen with the proper care. To launder linens, soak in cold water and mild detergent for 15 minutes on a delicate cycle; note that chemical bleach will weaken the fabrics fibers and it is not recommended. If your linen items are lacking luster, sun bleaching is a safe alternative that whitens fabrics by hanging them in the sun to dry; the stronger the sun, the greater the bleaching effect.
Linen should always be pressed while damp with a high iron setting and embroidered linen should always be pressed from the back side so as not to disturb the stitching.
It is important that linen be stored in a cool, dry place as heat and humidity can cause the fabric to swell and effect its natural resiliency. Linen should never be stored while soiled and to prevent mildew from forming, it is imperative that the fabric be wrapped in acid free paper or muslin.
The care and regular maintenance of any antique or collectible is a direct expression of one’s appreciation for history and value of an item.