What Makes Sheets Truly Luxurious
To understand what creates the softest hand, the finest drape, the most lustrous finish, and the world's most luxurious linens, you must consider more than just thread count. Thread count is a measure of the number of yarns woven into one square inch of fabric, but that is only one part of the story. The quality of a sheet is determined by three other key components as well, but it all starts with the quality of the yarn itself.
The definition of thread count is a contentious one, so we have chosen not to list any reference of thread count on any retail price lists or packaging. Thread count is just a numerical indication, and it is defined by us as "determined by counting all of the threads woven into a square inch of fabric regardless of the number of ply yarns used". If, for example, we use a single ply yarn in both the warp and weft, we count the single ply as one yarn. If we use a 2 ply or multi-ply yarn in the warp or weft (as we often do to achieve the finest fabric, using the finest, longest staple yarn possible) we count both or each ply yarn in that square inch rather than count a two ply twisted yarn as just one yarn.
The quality of the yarn - The world's finest cotton is grown on the banks of the Nile River in Egypt. There, as the river recedes, it leaves a particularly fertile swath that nourishes the very best cotton. Egyptian cotton is renowned because it yields the longest-staple cotton in the world (the staple being the individual cotton fiber or hair). While others may claim their sheets are Egyptian cotton, we are directly involved in the creation of our sheets every step of the way, allowing us to hand-select only the very best cotton from the Nile River valley. Once we ensure the superiority of our cotton, we have the raw fiber cleaned and spun into smooth, silken yarns by our master craftsmen in Italy.
The quality of the yarn is largely a function of the length of the staple, or cotton fiber. This is because long-staple cotton can be spun into a smoother, stronger, much finer yarn, so that it is possible to weave more threads per square inch into the fabric, resulting in a higher thread count.
The Construction - At SFERRA, they revere craftsmanship. Since Gennaro Sferra first brought his exquisite handmade Venetian laces to this country over a century ago, we have always enlisted the world's finest spinners, weavers, sewers, embroiderers and artisans to craft our extraordinary linens.
Thanks to generations of experience and expertise, at SFERRA we understand yarns the way a vintner understands grapes: what type and fineness of yarn to choose for each weave, and how to fine-tune each technical factor - from the number of picks sent through the shuttle, to the diameter of the yarn - to create the desired hand for our crisp or chamois-soft percales, silken sateens, and lustrous jacquards. We have built relationships with the best mills who blend centuries-old history and knowledge of their craft with cutting-edge textile technologies, looms and facilities. How we create the world's finest cotton percales, sateens and jacquards are trade secrets, but our customers are the beneficiaries.
We use a variety of yarn sizes (and thus, yarn fineness) to produce the different desired attributes and qualities of our sheeting: Our Celeste percale has a chamois-soft hand, while the Sereno makes for a very crisp and cool percale. And we have been able to spin a yarn so fine that we created Milos, and are continuing to develop additional designs in this ne plus ultra category of sheeting, thanks to the phenomenal response from our customers. Our SFERRA GIZA 45® reaches a new level of quality utilizing a yarn heretofore not used in our industry.
The Finishing - After the world's finest cotton has been selected, spun and woven into cloth of the very best quality, the process doesn't stop there. Our attention to detail continues into the fabric finishing and sewing, which can also dramatically affect the feel and the quality of the final product.
Most all of our cotton sheets are mercerized - a process that helps plump the fibers, giving the fabric greater luster and strength - yet, we don't sanforize our sheets (a process designed to help reduce shrinkage), preferring instead to cut our fabrics generously to allow for shrinkage.
Our state-of-the-art finishing brings out the subtle sheen of a sateen, the softest nap of cotton, the richest, longest-lasting colors and enhances both the feel of the fabric and the quality of the weave. The fabric does not leave our mills unless it is as unblemished, smooth and sleek as possible, and unless it has achieved SFERRA's exacting standards and impeccable quality.
The final luxurious touch: instead of running decorative stitching or lace straight across the top cuff of the sheet, we use a European return. This means the design is formed with a mitered corner, and then continues 22 inches along the side of the sheet, which creates a much more finished, elegant look when the top sheet is turned down over the blanket cover.
The end result of this care and attention, every step of the way, is a difference you can feel, in sheets that are woven with the luxury of fine heirlooms. But don't take our word for it: feel a SFERRA sheet for yourself, and know that you can trust the integrity of the company who makes it as well as the retailer who sells it to you. Trust your hand, because nothing feels better than getting into bed at night nestled in the world's most luxurious linens.