Our Thesis On Sheets
Looking for a good old bedtime read? Here's our Thesis on Sheets, explaining everything you could ever need to know about cotton, thread count, yarn and weave.
Cotton is the natural, soft, staple fibre that grows around the seeds of the cotton plant in the Gossypium family. There are hundreds of variations of the cotton plant, and each produces a cotton fibre with slightly different characteristics.
When it comes to bedsheets, the characteristics of cotton make it the perfect source material. Cotton creates fabrics that are soft, breathable and durable - all important criteria when kitting out your bed.
Third sheets are crafted using hand-picked, long-staple, combed cotton. This ensures the softest, strongest cotton possible. But what does all of this fabric terminology actually mean? Let's take a look.
Egyptian cotton is the most famous type of cotton in the world – and it’s easy to see why. It’s characterised by long-staple fibres, which produce a yarn that is extremely soft, strong and resistant to stress. It’s also naturally resistant to piling, and with the correct care, it’ll soften with age, making it the perfect choice for bedding.
Short-staple fibres have more ends exposed, so the yarns it produces are coarser, weaker and more prone to piling. Not ideal for bedsheets. That’s why Third sheets are all made with long-staple fibre Egyptian cotton.
The name ‘Egyptian cotton’ indicates that the cotton is grown and picked in Egypt – but this term actually refers to the plant which produces this specific type of cotton, with its coveted long-staple fibres. This plant can be grown anywhere, and still retain the quality characteristics that make it stand out from the rest.
The cotton we use to create Third sheets is Egyptian cotton grown in South Asia. The cotton is farmed with the utmost care and hand-picked. This ensures the raw long-staple fibres remain in pristine condition when they’re shipped to Israel, where our sheets are woven.
At Third, we comb all of our cotton to remove any lingering short fibres. This ensures only the extra-long staple fibres make their way into our sheets, for the smoothest and softest finish.
Once the cotton has been picked and combed, it must be spun into yarn. This can be single-ply, double-ply or multi-ply.
Generally, the fewer threads in the yarn, the lighter, smoother and softer the material. As the ply number increases, the yarns get thicker and coarser - not exactly what you want for bedding.
Only the finest quality long-staple cotton can produce the kind of single-ply yarn that we're all looking for in our bedding. Fortunately, we put the effort into sourcing the best quality long-staple fibre cotton, to produce exceptional single-ply yarn for our sheets.
One of the most common things we're asked about here at Third is our thread count. Many people have heard of the term 'thread count' - but they don't necessarily know what it is, what it means, and why type of thread count they should be looking for.
To put it simply, thread count measures the number of cotton threads in one square inch of fabric. A higher thread count generally means that the threads are finer and more tightly woven, for a smoother and softer fabric that's resistant to piling and ages like a fine wine.
Unfortunately, thread count isn't always black and white - and a high thread count isn't always a symbol of quality. Companies using low-quality multi-ply yarn to create their sheets can falsely inflate their thread count by counting each ply within a thread individually. This can be very misleading - you may splash out on high thread count sheets, only to discover that they feel thick and coarse due to the poor quality cotton used in production.
As Third bedsheets are made with single-ply yarns, they have a true 500 thread count - no exaggerations, inflations or trickery needed. We tested a range of different thread counts ranging from 180 to 1,000, and found that 500 is that magical bedding 'sweet spot', delivering an extremely soft touch without compromising on durability.
Fabric can take on different characteristics depending on its weave. Cotton sheets can generally be separated into two categories - percale and sateen weave.
We chose a sateen weave for our first collection of Third sheets. This is characterised by a 'four yarn over, one yarn under' weave, which exposes more of the thread surface. With more of the thread surface in contact with your skin, this makes for a silky soft feel to the sheets.
As the name might suggest, sateen also comes with a slight sheen compared to other sheets, which can give them a truly luxurious feel. Sateen is less wrinkle-prone than other weaves, which also means it's easier to iron.
Comfort and quality were our main priorities when designing our sheets - but we also wanted to ensure they were as environmentally friendly as possible. We use sustainable energy in the creation of every Third sheet, and our bedding is finished with only environmentally-friendly dyes.
All of our sheets are certified STANDARD 100 by Oeko-Tex®, which means they're totally free of harmful chemicals. Care for the environment while you care for your sleep.