We hope to help make clear many of the facts about fibers, linens, design, sewing and weaving that have been elusive with current marketing trends.
If you would like further clarification please contact us.
Fiber Content and Labeling
Labeling laws are strange and inadequate in the United States. The designated country of origin is where the most production money is spent (including packaging and labeling) or the name of the last country involved in production. A product may be called cotton, Egyptian cotton, etc. even if it contains only 10% of that fiber. For cashmere the quantity is 15%.
With any fiber there is always a vast variety of quality on the market. It is best to look for labels stating the product contains 100% of the fiber. Unfortunately, there is no way to check on the label for the quality of the fiber. Here you must rely on the reputation of the seller. Example: all of our sheeting fabric is woven in Italy, but some linens are sewn and embroidered in the US and some are sewn and embroidered in Italy. We label them as such. Labels for many luxury textiles can be very misleading and even incorrect.
Stitching and Sewing
Kearsley uses very tiny stitches in our sewing, 12-16 stitches per inch. These tiny stitches make for a beautiful finished look as well as a strong, long lasting product.
The small size of the stitches slow the sewing process down to approximately 1/3 the pace of normal sheeting stitches. French and fully rolled seams are used as much as possible for strong clean construction. Fabrics fail where they are allowed to fray. The small stitched, and doubled closed hems and seams minimize fray.
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. It is laborious to manufacture, but the fiber is very absorbent and especially strong. Garments made of linen are valued for their exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather.
Kearlsey’s linen is grown in Belgium and Ireland. It is soft, strong, durable, lustrous, and grows silkier with each washing. Linen’s cool, smooth finish, and natural moisture wicking traits make it particularly inviting and healthy in the summer months and tropical climates. The perfect bed set up for humid and tropical climates is linen sheets with a cashmere blanket. It may sound warmer than a cotton blanket or summer weight duvet, but it is not.
Cashmere, unlike cotton and down, breathes beautifully. Together with cotton is an incredibly luxurious, comfortable and healthy way to sleep when it is hot and muggy.
Cashmere wool, usually simply known as cashmere, is a fiber obtained from cashmere goats and other types of goat.The finest grades come from the chest hairs of the cashmere goat and are then gone through with tweasers and magnifying glasses to ensure only the finest fibers are woven.Common usage defines the fiber as a wool but in fact it is a hair, and this is what gives it its unique characteristics as compared to sheep’s wool.The word cashmere is a spelling of Kashmir. Cashmere is fine in texture, strong, light, and soft. Kearsley sources our cashmere from Mongolia and Scotland, where the finest cashmere is grown due to the constant cold and harsh conditions.Cashmere unlike cotton and down (remember duvets have cotton on both sides to hold the down and feather in) breathes beautifully and together with cotton is an incredibly luxurious, comfortable and healthy way to sleep when it is hot and muggy.
Jacquard Weaves are produced from a jacquard loom (named after their inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard). It allows for a precise variety of weaves to be used in combination to create intricate designs.
Originally the loom was invented to work with punch cards and many punch card looms still exist. The new jacquard looms are digitally controlled.
There is no reason to write our own definition on this one. Wikipedia did a great job….”Matelassé (mat-la-SAY) is a weaving or stitching technique yielding a pattern that appears quilted or padded. Matelassé may be achieved by hand, on a jacquard loom, or a quilting machine.
It is meant to mimic the style of hand-stitched quilts made in Marseilles, France. It is a heavy, thick textile that appears to be padded, but actually has no padding within the fabric”.
Thread count is the number of threads woven together in a square inch. One counts warp (length-wise) and weft (width-wise). So, 200 lengthwise threads woven with 200 width-wise threads produce a thread count of 400. Thread count has been abused and inaccurately used in marketing linens.
There are many different ways to come up with thread count. The thinner the thread, the more that can be woven into an inch. The coarser threads are 20’s and the finest are 120’s. It is using 100’s and 120’s that allow the true very high thread counts. However, true 1,000+ thread count cotton sheeting is extremely tightly woven and does not breathe adequately. Your body breathes and resets itself while you sleep. This process is a bit humid and it is healthier to have linens that breathe.
We recommend no higher than a Kearsley 600tc or 750tc cotton sateen or 500tc or 800tc cotton percale. Silk is much finer than cotton, so a 1,000 thread count silk is going to breathe more like a 500 or 600 thread count cotton. Linen is a natural wicker of moisture and therefore may be the healthiest in which to sleep. If you prefer cotton, then lower thread counts will be best for humid climates.
Long Staple Egyptian Cotton is the highest quality of a varietal of cotton developed in Egypt. Kearsley sources our Egyptian cotton in Egypt.
There are 38 grades of Egyptian cotton and we only source from the top. Long staple is the top grouping of these grades and is longer than the lower grades. Fibers wear out at their ends, so the longer the fiber, the longer lasting the cotton.
Fabrics can be labeled Egyptian cotton if they contain 10% of the fiber. 100% Egyptian cotton is important. The quality of the fiber is rarely listed
Our Giza 87 cotton offerings are extremely special:
“Giza 87 is the gift made by the cross between Giza 45 and Giza 77. Introduced in 1997, it represents one of the successful attempts to give birth to a top quality Giza Cotton, that could satisfy the estimators, as it is similar to Giza 45 in term of fineness.
As to the properties of Giza 87, fibers are extremely long (36 mm) and have a uniformity index of 89.8%, but what really makes this Cotton exceptional is the fineness of its fibers measured in micronaire, with an average of 3.0, and the degree of brightness equal to 76,6%, the best among the ELS Cotton varieties. The stretching resistance of Giza 87 fibers is also high with an average of 47.0 g/tex.
In terms of resistance, cleanliness and regularity, the unique excellent features of Giza 87 are obvious, used to make extremely fine and strong yarns & fabrics that have an extraordinary soft and silky consistency. This kind of yarn is smaller in diameter yet stronger than yarns made by other cotton varieties. Finer yarn means that the more threads per square can be used to create strong fabric which has less weight, so it is precisely for this reason that Giza 87 combines softness and durability properties”.
Our Giza 87 offerings are: Layla Piqué, Alexandra 700tc Sateen, and Safiya 500tc Percale.
Silk is a fine, strong, soft, lustrous fiber produced by silkworms in making cocoons and collected to make thread and fabric. Silk does require extra care in laundering.
Silk fill in a duvet is incredible warm and light weight.
Sateen Weave is a one sided and directional weave. It gives a silk-like touch. Warp yarns are floated three over and one under weft yarns, giving it a very smooth finish.
Sateen is made with spun yarns instead of filament. This gives it an initial sheen which fades somewhat with washing.
Ironing slightly restores the finish. However, it stays beautifully soft throughout it’s life and shows wrinkles less than a percale (plain) weave. ~ Kearsley Sateen Weaves: Art Deco Matelasse, Aspen, Deluxe, Essentials Sateen, Monaco, San Francisco, Soleil Sateen & Venice
Percale or Plain Weave is just that. It is like an Oxford cloth with a one over one under weave. While it is strong, it does show wrinkles.
Its fans like it for its crispness. Percale is typically 200 thread count or higher.