What is thread count?

Thread count has become a term used to describe the quality of cotton fabrics used for sheets and pillowcases. You can actually count the number of threads per square inch of a woven cotton fabric using a magnifying "pick glass" which measures 1" square. You can physically count the number of threads in warp (vertical yarns), and the weft (horizontal yarns). The quality of silk and linen sheets is judged differently. Generally speaking, the higher the thread count, the more luxurious the feel of a fabric. However, a high thread count can be very misleading. It is only one of the features that describe the quality of fine bed sheets and pillowcases. The base fiber and the size and quality of the yarns, are far more important. At the higher end is Egyptian cotton which has a long fiber which when woven produces a soft but strong fabric which will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Short strands of fiber will break easier which causes "pilling".

While thread count is a great way to compare sheets, there are many other qualities to consider. Be informed about the country of origin and the reputation of the manufacturer. By industry standards, a sheet can be called an "Egyptian Cotton" sheet as long as it contains at least 10% Egyptian cotton. The balance is usually low quality cotton and results in a coarser hand. Look instead for sheets labeled "100% Egyptian Cotton".
The quality of the cotton will make quite a difference in the feel, or the "hand" of the sheet. If it appeals to you and the price is right go ahead and enjoy your purchase.

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Why do sheets lose their shine and their silky smoothness after they are washed?

Sateen sheets will at first washing lose their shine and silkiness due to construction of sateen weaves. Ironing will smooth the fibers and regain the luster and the sheen of the fabric.

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 Why don't my sheets fit my bed any longer?

Due to the biological makeup of all natural fibers, there will be shrinkage. Many manufacturers anticipate this at the production level by increasing their size specifications to account for a (3-5%) shrinkage factor for cotton sheeting.
When purchasing luxury bed linens follow these simple guidelines: Have your bed measurements handy! You will need to know the length, width, and depth of your mattress to ensure the proper fit.

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Why linen sheets instead of cotton sheets?

Literally the oldest luxury fiber, linen textiles have been used in households for more than ten thousand years. Today, a special secret shared by guests of world class hotels, pure linen sheets not only become softer and more lustrous with every use, but wick away moisture from the body, keeping you cool and dry. Due to the biological makeup of linen, it is often more desirable than cotton in hot and humid climates. Linen sheets are also a wonderful suggestion for people with special skin concerns.

Cotton is generally the most desirable fabric for sheets. Cotton fiber has a hollow core so it "breathes," taking in moisture from the skin to keep you comfortable in warm or cool temperatures. It is durable and launders well.

Sateen is a high quality cotton fabric made in a satin weave. Silk-like to the touch, sateen has all the wonderful qualities of natural fiber.

Linen, woven from flax, is extremely durable. It is soft, strong and lustrous, and grows silkier with each washing. Linen's cool, smooth finish makes it particularly inviting in the summer months.

Silk sheeting is also available. Soft, warm and very sensuous to the touch, silk is both very expensive and quite delicate, requiring extra care in laundering.

Satin sheets are generally made from acrylic or polyester, a man-made fiber. Although smooth and sensuous to the touch, acrylic fabrics have very low moister absorbency.

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How long should my bed sheets last?

With proper care, fine bed linens can last for many years. In order to assure the long life of your bed linens it is best to alternate use of each set on a weekly basis. Three sets of sheets for each bed is a good guideline to follow. This will permit one set for the bed, one for the laundry, and one for the linen closet. In between each use launder and store your linens in a well-ventilated space. For best results when laundering, use a non-chlorine bleach, liquid detergent. Wash on a gentle cycle with warm water. Line dry or tumble dry until still slightly damp. Over-drying is the single biggest problem in reducing the life cycle of your sheets. See linen care section.

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What is the difference between jacquard and damask?

Both jacquards and damasks are woven textile designs. Woven jacquard designs are created on a jacquard loom and are generally used for sheeting weight fabrics for bed linens. Woven damasks are generally created with heavier yarns to create table linen fabrics, wall coverings, and furniture fabrics.

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Why are there so many different sizes of napkins?

In keeping with the traditions of classic European and formal American dining, pure linen napkins are available in luncheon and dessert sizes of 13", standard dinner napkins of 18, 20, 22, & 24", up to a standard buffet style of 27". If you are still in doubt as to what size is best for you, a best selling dinner napkin size is 20".

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How do I know what size tablecloth I will need?

Keep in mind that a traditional drop of a tablecloth should be between 8" and 18". Simply measure the width and length of your table. Then add between 16" and 36" to each measurement.