Weft & Warp: A Guide To Thread Counts And Weaves

30th May 2023
Weft & Warp: A Guide To Thread Counts And Weaves

Choosing bedding can seem to be more complicated than it appears. Even if you know what size and colour you want, there’s a lot of information about fabric types, thread counts and weaves. Here’s a guide to fabric types and finishes to help you choose the best quality bedding for your budget, style and personal comfort. 

Thread counts

When selecting sheets, the packaging may display the thread count as an indication of quality. This refers to the number of threads that are woven into one square inch of fabric, both vertically (the warp) and horizontally (the weft). The higher the thread count, the more tightly woven the fabric is.

The thread count is worked out by calculating the number of warp and weft threads in a certain area, usually one square inch. For most types of cotton sheets, a thread count of at least 200 is recommended. The best quality cottons can have a thread count of 400 or even higher.

However, sheets with very high thread counts can feel dense and may be too warm in summer because the tightly woven fabrics do not allow for sufficient airflow. Sometimes, a manufacturer may advertise a very high thread count of over 800, but this may be achieved by using double-ply thread which may be of poor quality. 

Thread count is less relevant when selecting linen bedding.

Fabrics and weaves

Thread count is an indicator of the softness and durability of the fabric, but it is not the only factor that determines the quality of the bedding. The type of fabric and the weaves also have a major impact. The finer and better quality the thread used, the softer and more comfortable the bedding will feel. 

The weave type also makes a difference to the feel of the fabric. The type of weave you choose is dependent on the style, temperature regulation, and softness you are looking for in your bedding. 

Fabrics most commonly used for bedding include polycotton, Egyptian cotton, brushed cotton, organic cotton, linen, and silk. Egyptian cotton is considered one of the best quality cottons, because it is strong, durable, and good at temperature regulation. 

If you are looking for a warmer and cosier feel to the fabric, brushed cotton is a good choice. It’s gently brushed to create a soft texture that feels very comfortable against the skin. It still retains all the breathable qualities of natural cotton, but it has an extra touch of warmth and softness.

Organic cotton is made in adherence to certain environmental and social standards across the entire supply chain. For example, the raw materials are farmed organically, and there is less waste in the energy, water, and packaging used during manufacturing. 

Linen is considered a more durable fabric than cotton, and is especially good for regulating the body temperature when you sleep. It also has natural antibacterial and anti-allergenic properties, making it ideal for people prone to dust, pet hair, and pollen allergies.

Silk is the smoothest of fabrics, and it is often chosen by people who are concerned about reducing hair static and roughness on the skin as they sleep. It is naturally breathable and a good choice for people with allergies.


The different types of weaves also affect the feel and appearance of the fabric. There are several types of weaves. Here are some of the most common ones.

Percale weave

This is a traditional weave also known as a plain weave. The warp and weft threads simply cross over and under each other to create a strong and durable fabric. It is breathable and will retain its quality over many washes. 

Sateen weave

A sateen weave is created when the vertical warp thread passes over four horizontal weft threads between each interlacing. This creates a smoother feel than a plain weave, and has a slightly silky sheen. It feels soft and is heavier than a plain weave, so it is ideal for a touch of extra nighttime warmth. 

Chambray weave

This is a plain weave method of using different coloured threads for the warp and weft, typically white with another colour such as blue. It creates a two-tone effect, adding variety and interest. It is typically made from cotton and is lightweight and comfortable.

If you are looking for Voyage Maison bedding, please get in touch with us today.