For a successful sewing project, many factors have to be considered. One among them is the selection of right sewing thread. sewing thread has to be compatible not only with the fabric but also with the machine settings. Using inappropriate thread can lead to broken needles, torn fabric and sewing machine break downs. However, before knowing how to select the right sewing thread, one must know what are the types of sewing threads that can be used for various sewing projects.

Types of Sewing Threads

Sewing threads come in various sizes represented in numbers or alphabets. The higher the number, the finer is the thread. Where letters indicate the size, A is finer while D is heavier. Mercerized threads are more smooth due to special finishes given to them. General purpose threads are used on light and medium fabrics while the heavy duty threads are used where the stitches require extra strength like in upholstery projects. Cotton, silk, nylon, polyester and cotton wrapped polyester with approximate size 50 are the general purpose threads. The threads above size 50 are finer, suitable for sheer fabrics. The coarse cotton, polyester, and cotton-wrapped polyester threads having approximate size 40 are considered heavy duty threads appropriate for sewing heavy vinyl, coating or upholstery fabrics.

Right Sized Thread for Different Fabrics

  • For light weight fabrics such as batiste, chiffon, crepe, etc. a mercerized size 60 thread is good. It can be 100% polyester or cotton wrapped polyester.

  • For medium weight fabrics like corduroy, flannel, gabardine, gingham, linen, muslin, wool crepe, etc. a mercerized size 50 thread is good. It can be 100% polyester or cotton wrapped polyester.

  • For medium heavy weight fabrics like bonded wovens, canvas, coating, denim, duck, sailcloth, etc. a mercerized size 40 will do. It can be 100% polyester or cotton wrapped polyester "heavy duty" labeled thread.

  • For knits such as bonded knits, double knit, jersey, tricot, etc. somewhat fine polyester, nylon or cotton wrapped polyester threads are good.

Tips for Choosing the Right Sewing Thread

  • Consider the strength of the thread and the purpose it's going to serve.

  • All-purpose polyester thread works best for most projects done with a sewing machine.

  • Look for compatibility with the fabric's structure and try to select the one similar in fiber content of the fabric for sewing project.

  • Match the color of thread with the most dominant color in the fabric. If can't find it, select the one that is one or two shades darker. Never go for lighter shades, they tend to be more visible.

  • Use cotton thread for fabrics having little or no stretch as the stitches may break if used on a stretchy knit fabric.

  • Use polyester thread for synthetic or stretchy fabrics.

  • Use fine cotton or silk thread for very sheer or delicately woven fabrics like lingerie or sheer garments.

  • When using metallic thread for machine sewing, ensure that the thread is labeled suitable for machine sewing.

  • For quilting projects or similarly layered projects, use quilting thread which is all-cotton and has a finish that lets the thread to slip more easily through the fabric and batting layers.

Now thread your sewing machine and create amazing projects!