THE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO BUYING LUXURY LINEN

When purchasing luxury linens, the choice is so diverse and it can be difficult to distinguish the quality of the fabric. There are a number of unscrupulous suppliers who set out to take advantage of uninformed buyers so to help you source the finest linens for your home, this insider’s guide will take you through the key things to look out for when making your purchase.

Check the weave and look for out for any mistakes. Often overlooked, the weave is a key indicator of a luxury linen. An intricate and skilful weave has a significant impact on the way your linen will feel, the way it looks, how long it will last and ultimately the price you will pay for it.

There are two popular weaves to look out for when buying luxury linen:

  • Percale weave. Otherwise known as a plain weave, the threads are tightly woven over and under one another to create a smooth and crisp texture. Percale weave has a thread count of 180 or higher, producing a beautifully hard-wearing fabric that still feels sumptuously soft against the skin.
  • Sateen weave. The sateen weave has a higher thread count than a percale weave and the fine threads are woven in a more intricate way to give a silky smooth feel and a lustrous sheen to the fabric.

You don’t need an expert eye for detail when checking over your luxury linen but taking the time to really look at the weave of the fabric can suggest the quality of your purchase. Linen does contain a combination of thinner and thicker threads which create areas of thickness in the linen, referred to as a slubs, the lumps are natural inconsistencies within the fabric. Taking into account any slubs, you should still be able to differentiate these inconsistencies with any other weaving mistakes which could indicate a weave of lesser quality.

Don’t become too preoccupied by numbers. When compared with fabrics such as cotton, linen has a naturally lower thread count so using this as a basis for comparison is meaningless. Linen is made from fibres which grow inside the stalks of the flax plant and these fibres are naturally thicker than cotton.

The higher the thread count doesn’t necessarily mean the higher the quality, as a high thread count can be inflated by artificial manufacturing processes that use a lower quality construction of thread. This is described in more detail by William Woods who confirms the nonsense of thread counts in his evaluation of luxury linens.

 

Identify the linen’s country of origin. Finding out where your luxury linen was manufactured and made is usually a great indication of the quality of the fabric. Although it may not always be specified, it’s important to try and find out the country of origin as there are a number of countries which are renowned for their manufacture of luxury linens.

Italy, Belgium and Ireland all have a longstanding history of producing the finest quality linens – in the same way Egypt is widely regarded as the best manufacturer of cotton.

Check the colour of your linen. It may seem an obvious point and something that doesn’t require much attention but checking the colour is even throughout the fabric is a must. Linen is extremely difficult to dye and you can often tell if the corners of the fabric have been cut due to an unevenness of colour – otherwise known as frosting.

Another indication of a lesser quality linen is the presence of any yellowing. This occurs when the fluorescent brighteners used to whiten linen are exposed to any additional external light. Yellowing appears as a result of the whitening process being compromised, leaving the linen irreversibly yellowed in certain areas.

 

If you would further advice and guidance in the purchase of your luxury linens, our luxury bedding guide goes through the key components of bedding and goes into more detail about what should be considered when purchasing your bed linen.

All of our bed linen collections are available to order online for fast delivery worldwide. They are sourced from all over the world, including Ireland, Italy and Belgium, handpicked to ensure quality and luxury throughout all our collections.

If you would like any more assistance with the purchase of your luxury linens, contact our experienced and knowledgeable linen specialists who will be happy to help you with anything you require. Simply call 01423 530111 or email shop@woodsfinelinens.com for further assistance. Alternatively, browse our range of luxury bedding online and order your favourite luxury linens today for fast and reliable delivery.