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bedsheets: thoughts on Macy's Hotel Collection in specific

posted May 31, 2010, 2:13 PM by Steve Craig   [ updated May 31, 2010, 3:03 PM ]
I love bed sheets.  I also have a favorite brand.  Neither fact of which is surprising to my friends.  

Today, Macy's had a sale on their 500-thread count "Hotel" brand sheets: $49 per sheet, which is a great price for these excellent sheets.  I kid you not: these sheets, when laundered and pressed, have an amazing feel.  Soft, crisp, even and smooth.  These are by far the nicest sheets I've ever slept in.  They are not the highest thread count sheets available in the brand, however.  While I was at Macy's, I took a look at the entire line, which was on-sale today at different price points.

The on-sale price points for Macy's very nice, high thread-count Hotel sheets increase dramatically {500,49$; 600,99$; 700,129$; 800,129$}.  Interestingly, all sets above 500 utilize 2-ply yarn, which is twisted together into tiny rope before being woven together to form the sheet.  This has a number of effects on the final product, not least (from Macy's perspective) the fact that the overall manufacturing process of weaving sheets can be tweaked to produce high-thread count sheets with very little additional overhead - 2-ply yarn becomes 600, 700, and 800tc sheets from a process very similar to that which produces "baseline" 500tc sheets - while adding dramatically to potential top-end profit as consumers with money to spend gravitate towards the marketing of the higher total final tc product. 

There are, however, two other notable side-effects of the more expensive sheet's "multi-ply" construction method, including weakness - when compared to a good single-ply fiber - due to the shorter thread lengths used. Also, the shorter thread lengths in multi-ply sheets come into play when laid directly against the skin: in general, fiber length is more important than overall thread count in creating a smoothly uninterrupted, luxurious hand feel. 

Current manufacturing processes weave single-ply yarn into 500-600tc sheets max.  Above that, multi-ply yarns are the rule that describe sheets' high thread-count numbers.  These multi-ply fabrics may feel great - I simply think they represent a largely-artificial product designed strictly for people to sink additional, unwarranted money into.

Thanks to Will Robertson, whose previously-published fabric descriptions and explanations I borrowed heavily from.