It's not the pearls that make the necklace. It's the thread!
To create superior quality, precious and long-lasting fabrics, everything starts with a thread. The wire. In particular, the cotton thread: the main fabric of Bottega 1964 and the most widespread in the world for the textile production of household linen. But where does cotton come from? How do you get a thin, elastic and resistant yarn? How important is the quality of the single thread and how is its value evaluated? Let's take a little trip to discover the world of cotton.
Brief history of cotton
Where does the history of cotton begin ? It begins with a plant, the Gossypium , which grows in the tropical and subtropical areas of the planet, favored by the hot and humid climate. The most widespread natural textile fiber in the world began to be used as a yarn for fabrics about 7,000 years ago, by the Aztecs, but the first fabric finds date back to 2,700 BC and were found in Pakistan. Used for centuries, cotton yarns reached their peak during the industrial diffusion, thanks to the introduction of the mechanical loom, the Jacquard loom, which made it possible to create fabrics with complex processes in a short time.
Today, cotton is the most widespread fabric in the world, especially in the production of household linen; in fact, there are four characteristics that distinguish it among the best fine yarns for making sheets and duvet covers: mechanical resistance, a soft and breathable touch on the skin, stability, hygroscopicity and easy drying.
From cotton to yarn: how cotton yarn is obtained
The cotton plant produces tender yellow flowers from which the fruits come: seeds covered with cotton wool , flakes composed of a soft white down. From the cotton wool, once collected and "shelled", the filaments or cotton fibers are obtained : the longer these are, the more the yarn obtained will be thin, smooth and resistant.
During carding , the cotton fibers are cleaned, untangled and arranged parallel to each other; in the combing phase, in fact, the filaments are precisely "combed", so as to eliminate small imperfections and perfectly align the fibers. Finally, all the filaments, carded and combed, are condensed, passed through the spindle and the winder, and "spun" into a single string: the cotton thread. At the end of the process, the yarn is further checked to remove any imperfections or impurities, so as to return a thin, elastic and compact thread .
Title: the fineness, or "nobility", of the cotton thread
The thinner and more cohesive a thread is, with no broken fibers that make its surface rough, the more precious it will be. How do you measure yarn value? The parameter which indicates the nobility of the yarn , i.e. how valuable and high quality it is, is called " Titre ", a figure which is obtained from the ratio between the length and the weight of the yarn (m/kg). A high count indicates a fine yarn , on a scale ranging from 20 to 100: a count 60 thread will be thinner, and therefore more precious, than a count 40 yarn. It may happen, especially in Italy, to hear talk of “ Satin Title 60”: here, in that case we are indicating the weave of the fabric, satin, made with a yarn Title 60.
Long staple or extra long staple cotton thread
As has been said, to obtain a thin cotton thread, first of all long and resistant cotton fibers are needed: the best cottons in the world , for example, have an intrinsically high count and it is sufficient to indicate the name of the cotton variety used to know that we are talking about fine and thin yarns. Extra long staples (ELS) fibers , which characterize Pima, Supima , Sea Island and Giza cottons , can measure from 34mm to 36mm . What differentiates these superior quality cotton varieties from each other, in fact, is not in the intrinsic nature of the fiber obtained from plants, whose species are now "related" to each other, thanks to the centuries-old research carried out to develop the best quality cotton possible. The difference can be found in the harvesting and processing techniques of the raw material, which vary according to the country, the environmental conditions, the technologies used (or not used, as in the case of Giza, still harvested by hand) and the high standards of quality control, calibrated on the specific characteristics of the pure fiber.
The advantage of the fabric made with long-staple cotton is, as has been said, a greater resistance to wear and washing and a much softer touch. In fact, while a fabric made with short-fiber cotton will have a thin layer of fluff that escapes the surface of the weave, fluff that with friction and washing will produce those unsightly dots, ruining over time, a fabric made with long-fibre cotton thread, or ELS, will not suffer from these problems, will not be subject to pilling and will last for years, remaining nice and soft.
Textile weaves, what they are and which are the most valuable
With a noble yarn, that is extremely thin and resistant, it is possible to create a precious and complex woven fabric. A textile weave is the process with which the fabric is created, i.e. the design and proportion of warp and weft threads: depending on their arrangement and the amount of threads used, you will have a smooth hand fabric, such as satin of cotton , or opaque hand, such as cotton percale , of more or less high quality.
The quantity of threads in a fabric is indicated with the term Thread Count, or TC, which calculates the number of threads per square centimeter (in English-speaking countries it could instead be calculated on the inch, so the conversion 1 cm 2 = 3.937 must be taken into account inch): the higher the Thread Count, the higher the quality of the fabric and weave. Weave weaves with a TC of 200 or higher are considered fine fabrics.
|Cotton Satin: smooth hand weave, very bright.||Cotton Percale: delicate and fine, egg skin effect.|
Finally, a high yarn count combined with a quality textile weave allows for the creation of a soft and compact fabric, capable of resisting wear and washing over time and, even sooner, becomes a real canvas of artist on which the experience of Italian manufacture can create sartorial works of art: jacquard workmanship, inlays and lace applications, embroidery, perforations and stitches a jour.
Quality and haute couture arise from the importance of the thread.