According to the fairy tale, the test of a true princess was whether she could detect a pea hidden beneath a pile of 20 mattresses. Today, peas are out and thread counts are in. The higher the better. But as Kim Williams discovers it’s not all about the count.
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? Crisp white, linen wins every time. How can you not love it? We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you know if they’re high quality? These days, everyone brags about the thread count: hotels, bedding shops and designers. But did you know, when it comes to the best pair of sheets, it’s not just about thread count? There’s no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn’t entirely true.
Laura Thomas runs Laura Thomas Linens from her converted Doctor’s Surgery in Gullane and has the leading edge when it comes to providing customers with stylish, high quality but affordable bedroom essentials. She also knows a thing or two about thread count. She told me “Once you get beyond 400 threads per square inch, be suspicious. Thread count is really simple – it’s the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. Add the vertical ones to the horizontal ones. But in reality, it’s not nearly that straightforward. Only so many pieces of thread fit into a specific space. With bedding, that number is 400. Manufacturers often use much thinner strands of fabric twisted together, and then they double, triple or even quadruple the thread count – even though it’s essentially one thread.” All of Laura’s linen is 400 thread count, but more importantly it’s made from high quality Vietnamese or Egyptian cotton. Laura’s ethos is being responsible and mindful of where and how her linen is produced and for that reason she uses two producers only. A women’s commune in Vietnam and a 100-year old family business in Portugal.
It’s this ethos and Laura’s beautiful minimalist style which has seen Laura Thomas Linens go from strength to strength. The company first came about when Laura, living in New Zealand, found it difficult to source mid-range, well-made bedding, so began her own company sourcing high quality, fair trade cottons from India, Egypt and Vietnam.
Since returning to her native Scotland three years ago, Laura has added a range
of homewares, including stunning Turkish towels and gorgeous scented soy candles, which she hand-pours herself. Not one to rest on her laurels, there are plans to expand the collection to include soft furnishings, towels, sleep wear and a range of ‘at home’ clothing designed for comfortable relaxing. Laura recently confirmed a new 50% cotton, 50% pure linen bedding range. “It’s from my Portuguese supplier and I’m very excited about it as it’s a unique fabric, something that is not widely available. The blend has the luxurious crisp feel of linen with the softness of cotton through it. It’s really stunning!” Also in the pipeline is a stunningly-scented citronella candle in a concrete pot which can be re-used as a planter and beautiful Turkish beach ponchos. All gorgeous, all high quality and not all about the thread count!