YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

FURNISHINGS : Higher the Thread Count, the Sweeter the Dreams

October 10, 1992|From Associated Press

Though they're often called linens, most sheets aren't made of flax but of a cotton-polyester blend.

The higher the thread count (number of threads per square inch of fabric), the tighter the weave and the softer the sheet, says Better Homes and Gardens.

The following types are available:

* Muslin is usually a blend of 50% uncombed cotton. (Uncombed cotton hasn't been processed to remove the coarser cotton fibers.)

Good grades of muslin have about 130 threads per square inch. These budget sheets tend to go limp and fade quickly.

* Percales, made of cotton-polyester blends or all cotton, typically have thread counts starting at 180, making them softer, smoother and more expensive than muslin.

Top-quality percales are made of 100% combed cotton and have a 200 to 250 thread count. These linens have the crispness of vintage cotton sheets, but they are wrinkle-proof and machine washable.

Cotton-polyester percales wear better, cost less and dry faster than their all-cotton counterparts.

Some blends contain 50% cotton; others have 65% or more. The higher the cotton content of the sheet, the softer the fabric will be.

* Linen sheets--those really made from the flax plant--are touchable and tough.

However, linen sheets cost more, plus many must be line dried and ironed after washing.

Some manufacturers compromise by weaving linen-cotton blends.

Los Angeles Times Articles