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Why Thread Count Isn't Everything: SFERRA's Approach to Luxury Bedding

  • by Erika Cellupica
  • 6 min read

Luxury Italian linen maker SFERRA wants clients to understand that so much more goes into the quality of a luxurious sheet than just thread count. This article discusses what thread count is, and explains why it is not always the best representation of quality in bed linen.

Even the most casual bedding shoppers are familiar with the term “thread count.” Over the past several decades, thread count -- the number of threads per square inch in a fabric -- has become widely used to signify and differentiate in cotton and bamboo sheeting. Most luxury bed linen companies specify and even promote the thread count of their various sheeting styles.

SFERRA: Changing the Thread Count Conversation

The notable exception to that is the renowned Italian luxury linen manufacturer, SFERRA, which does not publish thread count for most of their bedding. Indeed, the Fine Linen and Bath design team regularly fields client phone calls inquiring about the thread count of SFERRA sheets, from Grande Hotel all the way through their finest Giza 45 styles. When that happens, we deliver the following explanation: as the preeminent manufacturer of luxury bedding in Europe, SFERRA has made a deliberate decision to shift the conversation away from thread count toward attributes they consider more important to evaluating the true quality of luxury bedding. SFERRA calls this the “Lose Count” campaign, an effort to educate discerning clients on 

Thread Count Doesn’t Always Indicate Quality

In explaining why thread count can be an inaccurate measure of quality, SFERRA uses the following illustration: Imagine that you have an opportunity to weave fabric using any one of the five "yarns" shown below:

  • The first "yarn" is a threaded steel bar
  • The second is an unstable brass chain
  • The third is a coarse hemp rope
  • The fourth is a rigid polypropylene rope, and
  • The fifth is a soft, fluffy strand of cotton.

If you were to weave different fabrics using each of these yarns at a fixed thread count, say 200, which sheet would you rather sleep on? Probably the soft, fluffy cotton. What if you increase the thread count of the hemp rope fabric to 400? What if you increase the thread count of the steel bar fabric to 600? You still rather sleep on the soft, fluffy 200 TC cotton. In this way, it becomes clear that the quality of the yarn matters more, and SFERRA makes its sheeting from the finest yarns on Earth.

Additionally, thread count is often misrepresented. For example, some manufacturers “count” each ply in the yarn when calculating thread count. This is deliberately misleading. You can read more about some common deceptive practices regarding thread count.

Focus on Feel, Fiber, Weight, and Finishing of SFERRA Sheets

Rather than over focusing on thread count, SFERRA invites its clients to evaluate other factors -- feel, fiber, weight, and finishing -- when selecting sheets:

Feel of the Sheet (most important)

The most important factor in selecting a sheet is simple: how does it feel to you? The feel of a fabric -- crisp, matte, substantial, silken, or textured -- is made up of staple size, weave, yarn type, ply of the yarn, and thread count. For example, you may prefer the crisp, cool feel of percale sheets like SFERRA Grande Hotel and SFERRA Celeste, or the weightier silky feel of sateen sheets like SFERRA Giotto.

Enjoy the crisp, cool feel of SFERRA Grande Hotel percale sheets

SFERRA Grande Hotel in color White and Navy

SFERRA Giotto SFERRA Celeste bedding in white

Silky feeling of SFERRA Giotto sateen sheets

 Sferra Giotto Sateen bedding

Fiber of the Sheet

The finer the fiber, the better the sheet. It’s that simple. The world’s finest cotton is grown on the banks of the Nile River in Egypt. Egyptian cotton is renowned because it yields one of the longest staple cotton fibers in the world. The longer the fiber, the better it can be spun into smoother, stronger, finer yarn. This is why Egyptian cotton sheets are so prized. Learn more about Egyptian Cotton, and Giza Cotton, a special type of Egyptian cotton used in SFERRA’s most luxurious bedding. You can also browse and shop the SFERRA Giza 45 Bedding Collection.

SFERRA Giza 45 bedding collection

Weight of the Sheet

Many people do not realize that the weight of a sheet can make all the difference. Do you prefer an airy, almost-not-there feeling or would you rather be draped in a weighty softness? Or perhaps your preferences change from season to season. This is a very important factor to consider.

Finishing if the Sheet

After a SFERRA sheet is woven, it goes through a proprietary finishing process. Developed and refined over generations, this essential step determines the final texture, color, and softness of luxury sheets. Italian mills that produce SFERRA sheets consider finishing an art form, and closely guard the process as a trade secret. Ultimately, finishing is what makes a SFERRA sheet uniquely beloved as “SFERRA.”

Choosing Your Perfect SFERRA Sheet

To frame your range of options in SFERRA luxury bedding, the charts below break out the various styles in terms of Good, Better and Best by fiber (for example, sheets made from long-staple cotton are grouped together) which also roughly correlates to pricing points. From there, for each style you can then evaluate weight and -- most importantly -- feel. 

Good: SFERRA Long-Staple Cotton Styles






Smooth, Cool, Crisp Percale

Grande Hotel


Smooth, Cool, Crisp Percale



Smooth with Some Sheen Sateen

Better: SFERRA Extra-Long-Staple Cotton




Celeste, Simply Celeste, Corto Celeste


Crisp, Chamois-soft, Matte Percale



Crisp, Chamois-soft, Matte Percale



Smooth, Cool, Soft, Substantial Percale



Sleek, Silken, Sheen Sateen



Satiny, Substantial Sateen

Best: Giza 45 Egyptian Cotton and the Finest Flax Yarns




SFERRA Giza 45 Percale


Light, Airy, Extremely Soft, Matte Percale

SFERRA Giza 45 Sateen


Light, Airy, Extremely Soft, Luxurious Drape Sateen

Classico Linen


Crisp, Cool, Subtly Textured Flax Yarn

Shop SFERRA Bedding

As always, the Fine Linen and Bath design team is here to offer individual recommendations, suggestions, and guidance with your purchase of SFERRA bedding. SFERRA also offers monogramming and custom sizing beyond standard size options. We are happy to work with you on any type of special or bespoke orders to ensure your bed linen is absolutely perfect. We will even send you complimentary swatch samples to review before you purchase.

Caring for Your SFERRA Bedding

One of the most wonderful qualities of luxury bedding from SFERRA is that -- thanks to the high-quality fiber -- it will grow softer and more comfortable over time with repeated washing. SFERRA bedding can be machine washed in cool or lukewarm water with a gentle detergent made to clean luxury linen while protecting the fabric. We recommend Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent, a gentle, pH-neutral formula made with plant-based ingredients and powerful cleaning enzymes. Never use bleach or fabric softener, which will damage and discolor fine fabric. Wash dark colors separately. Tumble dry on low heat. Remove while still slightly damp. Steam iron on "cotton" setting on the reverse side of the fabric.

More About SFERRA

Fine Linen and Bath proudly carries a vast collection of SFERRA home linen for the bed, bath, and table as well as decorative accessories and duvet and pillow inserts. of The SFERRA company was founded in 1891 Italy, when Gennaro Sferra first set foot on the cross-Atlantic steamer which would carry him to America. It was a family history of craftsmanship that enabled him to sell the exquisite handmade lace that would become his future. This established SFERRA’s reputation for offering only the best and most exclusive fine linens. With continued growth and a change in ownership, the company originated ever-more-luxurious advancements, those prized enough to become the in-flight bedding for Pope John Paul II, the elegant table linens of Reagan-era state dinners, and the de rigeur bedding found in celebrity linen closets. From its origins with a humble Italian immigrant pursuing the American Dream to the preeminent dreamers of textile design and innovation, SFERRA will always live at the forefront of craftsmanship and luxury.

Fine Linen and Bath: An In-Store Shopping Experience Delivered to You Online 

At Fine Linen and Bath, our mission is to deliver a concierge luxury linen shopping experience with online convenience. Browse our website to access an expansive collection of bedding, bath, table linens, and accessories from the world's premier brands.

When you need answers, consultation, or help to narrow your choices, our team of expert design consultants is here to assist you. We offer individualized recommendations, personal consultation, and even complimentary swatch samples for your review. We'll help you make the right buying decisions for your style, budget, and design goals.

Please connect with us online or -- even better -- give us a call at (866) 352-4522. We'd love to get to know you!