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Thread count on dress shirts

Everything You Need To Know About Thread Count & Dress Shirts

Let’s talk about thread count. It’s a subject that has made the jump from sheets to shirts, and anyone aware of the move knows that higher quality tends to follow closely behind. But why is that? What does thread count have to do with the make of your shirt? It’s pretty simple, really. Thread count describes the number of threads per square inch of a particular fabric. This directly correlates to the comfort and durability of the textiles produced. Higher thread count fibers are usually finer – the finer the thread, the softer the fabric and stronger the tensile strength. Here’s how it works.

  • Warp and Weft: These terms are used to define the vertical (warp) and horizontal (weft) run of threads woven together. The number of threads used to complete one square inch of fabric in this manner combines to become the thread count. For instance, 75 warp threads and 75 weft threads would result in a 150-thread count cloth.
  • Ply: No, we’re not talking toiletries, although the association is relevant. Ply refers to the number of yarns twisted together to produce a single thread. All things considered equal, single ply fabrics tend to be smoother and more delicate. Two ply fabrics are stronger and typically heavier.
  • Bias: Bias is how fabrics stretch in conjunction with warp and weft. Every piece of fabric has two biases perpendicular to each other. The goal is to create a little give by cutting along the bias direction. This technique, known as “bias cut”, is largely utilized in fashion to capitalize on the natural fluidity of the threads used, resulting in extra elasticity and flexibility all around.

  • Weave: Weave refers to the warp and weft patterns used to create textiles. For example, a plain weave is the alternate interlacing of warp threads over and under weft threads. Compare that with a hopsack weave, which adds a second warp and weft thread to the original, and the thread count can effectively be doubled, boosting strength and durability.

What Thread Count Should A Shirt Be?

This is completely subjective. It depends on the style of shirt and your goals for it. Let’s use standard T-shirts as a base. Generally, these tend to be on the lower end clocking in at around 40 to 50. They’re typically lightweight and have tons of stretch but not much in the way of elasticity. You know how that goes, they stretch around the neck or in the sleeves after moderate use, shrink in the wash, etc. A mid-range dress shirt will start at around 60 and top out in the 90s. Here is where you’ll find decent quality that can take a bit of a beating and still retain its shape. High quality dress-shirts range between 100 and 200. These are your softer, more supple, cloths. They have just enough stretch to fit comfortably, while superior elasticity allows them to snap back into fighting form time and time again.

The rule of thumb is simple: the higher the thread count, the higher the quality shirt. Usually. 

At Original Stitch, we offer a fully customizable collection (yes, even the collar type!) of premium quality shirts. Customers can create a shirt completely unique to them. Our high-quality yarns are hand-selected from and tailored in Japan to be extra resistant to wear and tear while maintaining a softer feel than regular button-up shirts. To get notified of new product launches and receive fashionable tips and tricks from our stylists sign up here.