A Word On Egyptian Cotton & Thread Count From Founder, Susan Dollenmaier
We are often asked if the cotton we use is Egyptian cotton. This description is associated in the mainstream with the “best of the best”. And it can be.
The truth is that what really determines if cotton is the “best of the best” is if it is extra long staple cotton, sometimes referred to as ELS. Egyptian cotton is a “brand” of extra long staple cotton.
However, people use the words “Egyptian Cotton” to describe a product woven with ELS when often it is not. It is part marketing/part truth, much like saying “French Wine”. We know the French make outstanding wine, but they are not the only country to do so.
There are other long staple cottons produced with a brand, such as Sea Island and Pima and Supima. In addition, there are long staple cottons grown with no brand or trade name attached. Not all cotton grown in Egypt is ELS. Just as the French are capable of marketing an inferior wine, the same holds true for cotton.
Following please find the official description of the plant producing ELS:
Gossypium barbadense, also known as extra-long staple (ELS) cotton, is a species of cotton plant that has been cultivated to have ELS fibres – fibres longer than 34 millimetres (13⁄8 in) – which are associated with high quality cotton cloth.
Premium sheeting should be produced with extra long staple cotton no matter the thread count.
The thread count is another story all together. Thread count refers to threads per square inch. It was originally developed as a way to distinguish between percale and muslin. Anything over 180 TC was considered percale. Anything less, was considered muslin.
Europeans never used the thread count system. They used grams per square inch. But the American marketplace has been brain washed into asking for thread counts, so the Europeans devised a way to answer their question which was never meant to be applied to sateens and jacquards.
The thread count, has nothing to do with the staple length. Premium sheeting should be produced with ELS cotton no matter the thread count. The hand and durability will be better. It is possible to have a low thread count sheet woven with long staple cotton that is not only acceptable, but preferred by some, such as a crisp percale.
All cotton sheeting produced by Anichini utilizes long staple cotton.
It is also important to know that long staple cotton will not pill on the surface of sheeting like short staple. The long fibers are more or less “locked down” in the weaving. They will not stick up, as short fibers will, to produce pilling when abraded. In many cases, it is not possible to know exactly where the cotton was grown. It is graded and sold through brokers to mills.
All cotton sheeting produced by Anichini utilizes long staple cotton. You should purchase sheeting from a reputable company but also learn to touch and feel the fabric. Back to the wine analogy, it is a learned skill to differentiate between good and poor quality.
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