Beyond Thread Count
Sferra's sheets are among the highest thread count linens in the world. So why would we tell you not to judge a sheet by the numbers?This article is from one of our favorite bedding lines, SFERRA Fine Linens. Frankly, we couldn't put this information together any more elegantly, so we are using it in it's entirety here. Obviously it is directed specifically toward Sferra's products, but it also does a wonderful job explaining just how much work is involved in producing a world-class product. There simply is no substitute for quality and experience. Don't fool yourself into thinking that a $100 1000-thread count sheet set from NoName.com is even remotely comparable to Sferra's 1020 thread count...or even Sferra's 200 thread count for that matter.
Because to understand what creates the softest hand, the finest
drape, the most lustrous finish, and the world's most luxurious linens,
you must consider more than just thread count, which is a measure of
the number of yarns woven into one square inch of fabric. Thread count
is important, but it is only one part of the story. The quality of a
sheet is determined by three other key components as well, but it all
starts with the quality of the fiber itself, and the yarn made from it.
The Quality of the Yarn
The world's finest cotton is grown on the banks of the Nile River in
Egypt. There, as the river recedes, it leaves a particularly fertile
swath that nourishes the very best cotton. Egyptian cotton is renowned
because it yields the longest-staple cotton in the world (the staple
being the individual cotton fiber or "hair"). While others may claim
their sheets are Egyptian cotton, we are directly involved in the
creation of our sheets every step of the way, allowing us to
hand-select only the very best cotton from the Nile River valley. Once
we ensure the superiority of our cotton, we have the raw fiber cleaned
and spun into smooth, silken yarns by our master craftsmen in Italy.
The quality of the yarn is largely a function of the length of the
staple, or cotton fiber. This is because long-staple cotton can be spun
into a smoother, stronger, much finer yarn, so that it is possible to
weave more threads per inch into the fabric, resulting in a higher
Certainly, many inferior, short-staple cotton yarns can be jammed
into a square inch to create a high thread count, but the resulting
fabric can feel heavy and coarse, never comparable to the fine hand of
At Sferra, we revere craftsmanship. Since Gennaro Sferra first
brought his exquisite handmade Venetian laces to this country over a
century ago, we have always enlisted the world's finest spinners,
weavers, sewers, embroiderers and artisans to craft our extraordinary
Thanks to generations of experience and expertise, at Sferra we
understand yarns the way a vintner understands grapes: what type and
fineness of yarn to choose for each weave, and how to fine-tune each
technical factor, from the number of picks sent through the shuttle to
the diameter of the yarn, to create the desired hand: chamois-soft or
crisp percale, silken sateen, lustrous jacquard. We have built
relationships with the best mills who blend centuries-old history and
knowledge of their craft with cutting-edge textile technologies, looms
and facilities. How we create the world's finest cotton percales,
sateens and jacquards are trade secrets, but our customers are the
We use a variety of yarn sizes (and thus, yarn fineness) to produce
the different desired attributes and qualities of our sheeting: Our
Celeste 406 percale has a chamois-soft hand, while the 800 count Sereno
makes for a very crisp and cool percale. And we have been able to spin
a yarn so fine that we created the world's first 1020 thread count
sateen sheet, Milos, and are continuing to develop additional designs
in this ne plus ultra category of sheeting, thanks to the phenomenal response from our customers.
After the world's finest cotton has been selected, spun and woven
into cloth of the very best quality, the process doesn't stop there.
Our attention to detail continues into the fabric finishing and sewing,
which can also dramatically affect the feel and the quality of the
Most all of our cotton sheets are mercerized - a process that helps
plump the fibers, giving the fabric greater luster and strength - yet,
we don't Sanforize our sheets (a process designed to help reduce
shrinkage), preferring instead to cut our fabrics generously to allow
Our state-of-the-art finishing brings out the subtle sheen of a
sateen, the softest nap of cotton, the richest, longest-lasting colors
and enhances both the feel of the fabric and the quality of the weave.
The fabric does not leave our mills unless it is as unblemished, smooth
and sleek as possible, and unless it has achieved Sferra's exacting
standards and impeccable quality.
We offer several collections where the embroidery is done entirely
by hand, whether it be subtle hemstitching, scalloping, or intricate
embroidery. This allows for an attention to detail and a special grace
that machine-sewn items will never emulate.
The final luxurious touch: instead of running decorative stitching
or lace straight across the top cuff of the sheet, we use a European
return on most of our finished top sheets. This means the design is
formed with a mitered corner, and then continues 22 inches along the
side of the sheet, which creates a much more finished, elegant look
when the top sheet is turned down over the blanket cover.
The end result of all this care and attention, every step of the
way, is a difference you can feel, in sheets that are woven with the
luxury of fine heirlooms. But don't take our word for it: feel a Sferra
sheet for yourself, and know that you can trust the integrity of the
company who makes it as well as the retailer who sells it to you. Trust
your hand, because nothing feels better than getting into bed at night
nestled in the world's most luxurious linens.
The complete Sferra line an be found at this link: Sferra Linens, Bedding, Blankets & More.