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What thread is best for sewing?

What thread is best for sewing?

27 June 2024

Choosing the Best Thread: A Comprehensive Guide to What Thread Is Best for Sewing

Seeking the best thread for your sewing project? It’s essential to match thread type to fabric and functionality. From strong polyester to delicate cotton, this guide examines the strengths of each to ensure you choose the right thread for enduring, visually pleasing results. Dive in to understand the nuances that lead to exceptional sewing experiences and learn “what thread is best for sewing” for your specific project.

Key Takeaways

  • The type of thread used for sewing projects—polyester, cotton, or specialty threads—is crucial for achieving desired durability, aesthetic appeal, and stitch quality, with each type having unique properties for specific textiles and purposes.

  • Understanding thread weight and size is essential for crafting quality seams; these determine compatibility with fabric density and texture, guide the selection of thread for different materials, and ensure smooth machine performance.

  • Investing in high-quality thread from reputable brands like Guterman can greatly impact the sewing outcome, contributing to the thread’s endurance against wear and frequent laundering, as well as the overall appearance and longevity of the sewn item.

Decoding Thread Types: Polyester, Cotton, and Specialty Threads

Choosing the correct type of thread is key – it boosts seam durability while also providing even stitches that stand out as a hallmark of quality craftsmanship in your sewing projects.

Polyester Threads

spun polyester sewing thread

Polyester thread is renowned for its durability and adaptability, characterized by:

  • Resistance to contraction

  • Retention of color and shape through wash cycles

  • Compatibility with a wide array of materials, including silk

  • An inherent slight give that adapts to the movement of fabric, thus maintaining the garment’s form

Due to these attributes, polyester threads are widely favored for sewing endeavors involving knit textiles or stretchable spandex.

The advantage of emitting minimal lint while using polyester thread cannot be overstated as it protects your sewing machine from requiring frequent maintenance. As such an all-purpose companion in your crafting toolkit stands testament to lasting excellence. It serves as an excellent selection for both hand stitching ventures and those projects undertaken with a sewing machine.

Cotton Threads

Cotton Sewing Thread

Threads crafted from cotton spin narratives of classic beauty and organic allure, with their minimal elasticity and supple surface perfectly matching the artful assembly of comforting, heritage-rich fabrics. The mercerization process imparts a splendid gloss to these threads while fortifying them, making them an ideal choice for projects that demand resistance to high temperatures.

Devotees of quilting cherish the use of cotton threads for their understated matte appearance that integrates impeccably with a variety of textiles. In hand quilting endeavors, especially, the steadfastness of pure 100% cotton hand quilting thread is crucial for maintaining both form and appeal through frequent affectionate handling and laundering.

Embrace Egyptian cotton threads to indulge in elevated levels of elegance akin to silk thread – revel in reduced lint production as well as more compact stitching afforded by only the most superior quality fibers available.

Bonded Threads

Bonded Sewing Thread

Bonded threads are threads that have been coated with a thin layer of adhesive, allowing them to retain their shape and strength even when put through high heat conditions. This makes them perfect for projects such as quilts or blankets that may need to withstand the rigors of frequent use and washing.

In addition, bonded threads offer the added benefit of being less prone to tangling and knotting, making them easier to work with during sewing. This can save valuable time and frustration, especially for those working on large-scale quilting projects.

For avid quilters who want to take their craft to the next level, metallic threads are an excellent choice. These speciality threads add a touch of glitz and glamour to any project, giving it an eye-catching shine that is sure

Textured Threads

Textured Threads

Textured threads are a popular choice among quilters for their unique appearance and added dimension to projects. These threads are made by mechanically texturing polyester or nylon, giving them a fuzzy and stretchy texture that resembles wool.

One of the main benefits of using textured threads is their ability to add depth and interest to any sewing project. This is especially useful for creating intricate designs, as the textured thread can enhance certain areas and make them stand out. In addition, the elasticity of these threads allows for more flexibility in shaping and manipulating fabric, making it easier to achieve desired results.

Another advantage of textured threads is their durability. Due to their reinforced structure from the texturization process, they are less prone to breakage and can withstand high-speed stitching

Mastering Thread Weight and Size

Grasping the concept of thread weight and size is similar to picking out just the right shoes—it must be appropriate for the occasion. The specified thread weight, indicated by numbers on the top and bottom, reveals its thickness and durability, directing you to match thicker threads with stronger textiles while reserving finer ones for more delicate fabrics.

Understanding thread size involves deciphering between different standards such as English Count (Ne), Metric Count (Nm), Denier (D) and Tex—all unique measurements that help determine which thread will harmonize best with your material’s heftiness and feel.

Understanding Thread Weight

The intricate numerical ballet of thread weight is captivating, as smaller numbers take the lead with robust, hefty threads suitable for thicker materials. A thread labeled as 30 weight possesses a prominence that its 50 weight counterpart lacks. In commercial ticket numbering, larger numbers indicate a more refined and slender thread that brings out the nuanced beauty of delicate fabrics.

In assessing a thread’s heft, both composition and ply harmoniously contribute to its final thickness and strength. Together they establish how durable your stitching will be.

Choosing the Right Thread Size

Textiles are often sold on a weight basis and consequently it is natural to express the size of “thickness” of a yarn in terms of weight (or mass). There are two basic ways in which this may be done. These are:

Fixed Length System:

By saying what length of yarn one would have in a given weight or commonly known as Indirect Systems, where the Weight is constant and Length is variable.

Yarn Numbering Systems: indirect system

  • English Count (Ne) is the number hanks of 840 yards in length that weigh one pound in weight.

  • Worsted Count is the number of hanks of 560 yards in length that weigh one pound

  • Metric Count is the number of kilometer lengths that weigh one Kilogram.

Fixed Weight System:

By saying how much a given length of yarn weighs or commonly known as Direct Systems,where the Length is constant and Weight is variable.

Yarn Numbering Systems: direct system

  • tex is the weight in grams of 1 thousand meters of yarnand

  • denier is the wight in gams of 9000 meters of yarn

Thread Quality: What Makes the Difference?

Thread Quality: What Makes the Difference?

Thread quality plays a crucial role in the success of sewing endeavors. The composition of the threads, how they are wound onto the spool, and the variety of colors available all contribute to creating an environment where only superior threads stand out in what can be described as a critical performance.

Recognizing Quality Thread

The masterful component of your sewing ensemble is the quality thread, notable for its:

  • Sleek surface

  • Minimal production of lint

  • Robust twist with a resilience to catching or tearing

  • Capacity to retain color and remain pliable over time

Such attributes guarantee that every stitch contributes to the prolonged life of your sewn items.

Constructed to tolerate the friction and temperature generated by an active needle, high-caliber thread forms the cornerstone of robust stitching. Such seams are built to withstand frequent use and continuous washing. Choosing superior thread equates to securing longevity in your sewing endeavors.

Selecting the Right Thread for Your Project

Selecting the Right Thread for Your Project

Choosing the right thread is a crucial step in completing your sewing project, as it must match with the type of seam you’re creating, the stitch density needed, and be suitable for the characteristics of your chosen fabric to ensure both an aesthetically pleasing result and desired practical performance.

Thread for Quilting Piecing

The delicate dance of quilting piecing requires a thread that is not too heavy to avoid adding excess bulk but robust enough to maintain the integrity of the patchwork mosaic. For this task, a 50wt cotton thread is ideal as it enables seams to be pressed neatly aside, enhancing the quilt’s appearance with an elegant finish. Thicker threads may seem tempting. They can disrupt the exactness required in your work, resulting in quilt blocks that deviate from their intended pattern and compromise the overall design.

Threads for Garment Sewing

In the domain of fabricating clothing, it is crucial for the thread to mirror the fluidity and stretchability of the material, maintaining seam integrity over time. Especially when sewing stretch knit fabrics, polyester thread excels as it possesses significant elasticity and enduring color vibrancy, making it a preferred choice in garment construction.

Threads for Decorative Stitching

Machine embroidery is a form of decorative stitching that elevates basic items into something truly special. The use of strong topstitching threads creates prominent detailing along seams, and combining polyester with cotton yields both durability and a glossy look essential for striking embellishments.

To achieve dramatic results, opt for heavy weight threads designed to produce pronounced stitch patterns. Alternatively, incorporate metallic threads to add a shimmering touch to your celebratory attire, allowing the fabric to tell an enchanting story through its sparkle.


As we draw the threads of knowledge together, remember that the power to create resilient, beautiful stitches lies in understanding the nuances of thread types, weights, and sizes. By selecting the right thread for your project and ensuring compatibility with your sewing machine, you’ll stitch not just fabric, but lasting memories. Let this guide be the compass that points you to sewing success, and may your creations always hold together as tightly as the threads that bind them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the standard thread for sewing?

The standard thread for sewing is 30, 40, and 50 wt in the U.S.

All-purpose thread is typically 40 wt.

What is the best kind of thread for sewing stretchy knit fabrics?

When sewing stretchy knit fabrics, polyester thread is the superior choice due to its inherent elasticity and steadfastness in color, both of which contribute significantly to preserving the durability of the seams.

Can I use the same thread for quilting piecing and decorative stitching?

Certainly, for optimal outcomes in quilting piecing and decorative stitching, utilizing a variety of threads is advisable. A 50wt cotton thread of finer quality is suggested for the former to ensure seams lie flat, whereas heavier threads or those that are a combination of polyester and cotton are favored when it comes to the latter.

How do I know if I'm using the right weight of thread for my fabric?

Select a thread with a weight that is compatible with the density and intended use of your fabric, where lighter weights are better suited for more substantial fabrics, while threads around 40 or 50 weight offer versatility across multiple endeavors. This approach guarantees the correct match between thread weight and fabric type.

Why is thread quality important, and how can I recognize a quality thread?

The durability and aesthetic outcome of your sewing project heavily depend on the caliber of thread utilized. Opt for a thread that boasts a sleek finish, minimal lint production, steadfast color integrity, and an ability to withstand becoming brittle.