Technically, thread count means the number of threads woven together in a square inch. You count both lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft) threads. So 100 lengthwise threads woven with 100 widthwise threads produce a thread count of 200.
Three things to look for when buying sheets:
- Is it Egyptian cotton?
- Where is it woven?
- What is the thread count?
While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. Pima cotton, which is grown in America, is another good option, though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian cotton. When it comes to weaving, Italian makers have been known as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton; otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!