The term thread count is having much of a buzz these days; everyone is talking about having a higher thread count dress shirt. However, in reality no one actually knows about the alien species known as thread count. Well here we are again, available to part some of the knowledge to our valuable users. Actually, thread count refers to the number of threads, both vertical and horizontal, in a one-inch square of fabric.
The number of thread count depends on a number of factors including ply and thickness of the threads used. The ply of the dress shirt fabric refers to the quantity of threads wrapped together in a single thread. Two-ply fabrics twist two pieces of fabrics together to form a stronger thread and double the thread count, while single-ply fabric uses a single thread of their own.
Popular Thread Counts
You might have seen the dress shirt fabrics described numerically in 50s, 80s, 100s, 120s, etc. These numbers actually refer to the thickness of the yarn. The fabrics with lower thread count will be thicker while fabrics with higher thread count will be finer. The fabrics with tighter weave and higher thread count make the fabric smoother, softer and better able to hold color and pattern definition. The most luxurious and expensive custom dress shirts are made from 140′s two-ply cotton. Remember that the shirts fabrics with higher thread counts will have silky smooth softness and luster, while having a price double than the lower thread count shirt fabrics.
Reality About Thread Count
A finer thread fits in more quantity in a square inch, resulting in softer and smoother fabrics. This is the main reason of popularity of higher thread count over low thread count. A single-ply finer thread leads to a fragile fabric; this is solved by using a double-ply that makes fabric strong but heavy. Laymen have no information about the quality of the fabrics; all he knows is that the shirt fabric should have high thread count.
However, while purchasing custom dress shirts, other things should also be considered like how the cotton is treated, as this can be a more decisive factor in comfort and overall feel. As said earlier that higher thread count is not always the best choice. For Instance, flannel shirt looks and feels good with lower thread counts due to the weaving process of the fabric.