Decoding Luxury Textiles: Understanding Silk Momme Weight vs. Thread Count

This article helps clear up any confusion between the term “momme,” which is used to measure weight in silk and “thread count,” which is used to measure density in cotton, bamboo, and other fabrics.

Silk Bedding: Luxury Measured by Momme Weight

Model on Silk Bedding
In the world of luxury textiles, silk bedding is known for its beauty, softness, and indulgent feel. But not all silk is created equal. Here at Mulberry Park Silks, we spend significant time and resources educating our clients about what defines high-quality silk, including the grade (6A is the best and the only grade we use); weave (charmeuse is the softest), and purity (our products are 100 percent pure mulberry silk).

We also use the term momme (pronounced ˈmämē), which is a measure of silk weight. Momme is a term exclusive to silk, and—as such—may be unfamiliar to the general public. For ease of understanding, silk retailers sometimes liken momme to “thread count” as a way of signifying high-quality silk or silk with a dense weave. In reality, however, momme is a measure of weight that is specific to silk, while thread count is a measurement of density for fabrics like cotton and bamboo.

Momme and thread count are not the same thing and really should not be used interchangeably. In fact, using “thread count” as a hallmark of silk quality can lead consumers astray, as it doesn’t reflect the essential aspect of measuring weight, which truly determines feel and longevity. Read on to learn more about how momme weight differs from thread count.

What is Momme Weight in Silk?

Sik Thread

Simply put, momme (mm) is the standard unit of measurement for silk weight. It represents the weight of one piece of silk fabric that is 45 inches wide and 100 yards long, in pounds. That weight is a balance between the density of the silk weave and the thickness of individual fibers. A higher momme weight indicates a denser weave and, consequently, a heavier fabric. Along with that denser weave, higher momme weight also indicates that the individual silk fibers are thicker. This can impact the fabric's drape, sheen, and overall feel. It is important to remember that higher momme is just one indicator of high-quality silk.

According to Barbara Stern, Editor in Chief at Ottoman Textiles, a wholesale bedding supplier based in Manchester, UK, momme “measures the silk's density and, indirectly, its durability, insulation properties, and feel. A higher momme weight suggests a denser, often more luxurious silk.” She adds, “While there's no direct correlation between thread count and momme weight since they measure different aspects [of fabric] higher momme weights are generally associated with higher-quality silk fabrics.

Momme Weight: A Practical Guide

Hands Holding Silk Coccoons

Selecting silk sheets or a silk pillowcase with the appropriate momme weight is crucial, as it ensures the ideal combination of fineness and durability to meet your personal preferences. Mulberry Park Silks sells silk bed sheets and silk pillowcases in three choices of momme count: 19, 22, and 30 momme. Choosing the proper momme count for your silk bed linen comes down to personal preference and budget. Let’s take a look at different weight silk bed sheets to help you choose your best silk bedding set.

19 momme: Our 19 momme sheets are lovely silk and our most affordable option. With a competitive price point, 19 momme sheets are a great purchase for anyone new to silk who wants to try it out; they feel luxurious and deliver all the great benefits to hair and skin that silk is known for.  However, they are made with less silk than higher momme weaves, so they tend to be a bit more delicate. We always recommend using a protective mesh laundry bag when washing silk, particularly with 19 momme sheets. Best for: Anyone new to silk looking to acquaint themselves with its many benefits.

22 momme: Our 22 momme silk bedding is a step up in both weight and price. It is our most versatile and popular momme weight option. We refer to our 22 momme collection as our “signature” silk bedding; it is our best-seller and features the widest range of sizes and style options. It is soft and luxurious to the touch; breathable; and it drapes beautifully. Many of our clients say they prefer the soft feel of our 22 momme sheets over their heavier, 30 momme counterparts. We also use 22 momme silk in a variety of our other silk products including our robes, silk duvet covers; silk sleep caps; and our silk sleep masks. Best for: Anyone looking for a “signature” silk sheet experience that combines super soft, smooth, and lustrous feel with breathable silk in a wide range of colors.

30 momme: Our 30 momme sheets and pillowcases represent the ultimate in luxury. They feel absolutely indulgent and are our most costly sheet set. Our 30 momme sheets are exceptionally durable and well worth the investment. Our 30 momme bedding has the highest density of silk (58% more silk than 19 momme), the tightest weave, and the thickest silk strands. Best for: Anyone who places a premium on luxury and durability.

All Mulberry Park silks sheets, pillowcases, bedding, and accessories are made from 100 percent pure mulberry silk, Grade 6A. 

FYI: Understanding Thread Count in Cotton and Other Fabrics

Cotton Sheets

Although we don’t sell cotton sheets, we are happy to give you a quick background—and a few words of caution—regarding thread count. Thread count is defined as the number of threads per square inch of a given fabric. It's calculated by adding the number of horizontal threads (the weft) to the number of vertical threads (the warp). If a fabric has 100 horizontal threads and 100 vertical threads, the total thread count is 200. In the realm of cotton, bamboo, and other fabric, thread count is widely used to express the quality of the fabric. However, you should be aware of two important things when it comes to thread count:

  1.  The quality of the fabric is actually more important than the thread count. For example, a set of fine Egyptian cotton sheets at a 200 TC will feel softer and last longer than low-quality cotton sheets at a 400 TC. 
  2. Some manufacturers will artificially inflate the thread count of their sheets by using multi ply thread (thread made from multiple strands of yarn woven together). For example, they will claim a thread count of 600 for a sheet set made of three-ply yarn woven to a 200 thread count thickness.

This article explains more about thread count and what to watch out for.

Momme and Thread Count are Very Different


A Sewing Machine

We hope we’ve helped clarify the differences between momme and thread count, and explained why applying the term “thread count” to silk is a fundamental mistake. Momme, a measure of weight, is the appropriate way to indicate thickness, durability, and density of silk fabric, and an important measure of silk quality.

If you need help determining the best momme weight silk sheet set, pillowcase, or duvet cover, feel free to take advantage of our complimentary swatchsample program so you can evaluate the feel of our silk at home or take our silk bedding quiz to learn what products will work best for you. We are also happy to offer you personalized recommendations and suggestions; send us an email or give our design team a call.

Mulberry Park: Accessible and Affordable Luxury Silk

We founded Mulberry Park with one simple mission: to design the highest quality silk items in the market and offer them at an affordable price. And we've done just that, with a full range of silk products made from 100% pure mulberry long strand silk fabric. The silk fabric used for our silk sheets and silk pillowcases has also been OEKO-TEX® Certified (Standard 100) to be free of chemicals.

Visit us online or call us at (800) 860-1924 to learn more about our silk sheets, silk pillowcases, duvet covers and shams, and real silk accessories including sleep masks, travel pillows, and silk hair scrunchies.