Unravelling the Thread Count Myth

Think higher thread counts mean better quality? Think again! We’re breaking down what you need to know when it comes to the numbers game. Spoiler alert: higher isn’t always better.

  • Thread count refers to the number of threads woven in a square inch of fabric.
  • Vertical threads (called the “warp”) and horizontal threads (the “weft”) are woven together to create fabric.

Illustration showing how material is woven and how thread counts are calculated

On average, a square inch of fabric allows for the weaving of 400 threads.

  • Extremely high thread counts of 700 and above are possible to achieve but only if done correctly using long-staple, single-ply cotton yarns. These extremely high thread counts also result in very dense, heavy and warm sheets which aren’t ideal for sleeping.
  • Long-staple cotton is one of the finest in the world and it is the basis of quality single-ply yarns.
  • Single-ply yarns can only be spun from long-staple cotton. The result is extremely fine and strong threads.
  • Here’s where the numbers get tricky: cheap manufacturers will take thinner multi-ply yarns (not quality single-ply ones) twist them together and count the multiple yarns to bump up thread counts.

Illustration comparing single-ply long staple yarn with multi-ply yarn

Read: sheets marketed as 1200-thread count can actually be 400-thread count sheets made with cheap three-ply yarns: 400 x 3 = 1200!

  • Finally, the quality of the cotton and how it is woven is just as significant as the thread count. A 220 thread-count sheet made of quality cotton (with long-staple, single-ply yarns) and woven using traditional Portuguese methods will feel much softer than a 500-thread count sheet made from an inferior grade of cotton with twisted multi-ply yarns.

The Takeaway: We’ve got your number. envello sheets have accurate and honest thread counts (200 to 400), and are crafted with long single-ply yarns for strong, smooth and durable weaves.