Sewing Thread, the backbone (literally) of all your sewn projects. Its what keeps your creations together, but what do we actually know about it?
What is sewing thread made of?
Thread can be made from a variety of fibers but the most common is probably cotton or polyester.
Cotton sewing thread is a natural thread that is derived from the boll of the cotton plant. Cotton thread is great for sewing plant based fabrics like cotton & rayon. Be sure to use a mercerised cotton to prevent it from shrinking like your cotton fabric. Beware that it will still shrink if exposed to very high heat. Because its highly absorbent, it dyes wonderfully, but cotton sewing thread has no “give” and breaks under high tension. This makes it undesirable for use with stretch fabric.
Polyester sewing thread is synthetic and entirely man-made. Its relatively inexpensive, low maintenance, durable & long lasting. These qualities makes it a great General Sewing Thread. It is able to withstand moderate heat and doesn’t absorb moisture well. Polyester sewing thread can be engineered to resemble cotton, silk or even nylon. It can accommodate a small amount of give with good recovery and doesn’t shrink. It is however a bit more abrasive than cotton & silk so you wouldn’t want to use it on your expensive silk chiffon.
What are different threads used for?
General sewing thread:-
Your does it all thread. You will use this the majority of the time. You can use it for both hand and machine sewing. Our Seralon General Sewing Thread is made of Polyester. While it’s not as heavy/thick as “heavy duty thread, its not as thin/light as embroidery thread either. Its perfect for constructing seams, edgestitching and quilting. It really does it all although you wouldn’t want to use it with very fine, sheer fabric or very heavy denim or canvas. In projects that will be exposed to constant direct sunlight or very high heat, please use it with discression.
Overlockers use 3 or 4 spools of thread to construct the seam and finish the raw edge in one step. Overlocker theads are generally a bit finer than normal sewing thread to help prevent bulk. Even though the thread may be finer the seam is still strong, durable & flexible because multiple threads are used to create it. Because an overlocker uses so much thread, this thread usually comes on cones of 5000m or bigger. Because lint builds up much quicker on your overlocker than your normal sewing machine its essential to buy high-quality overlocker thread.
A lot of people use the 5000m cones of Seralon General Sewing Thread on their overlockers as it comes in all the same colours as the 1000m Spools. Thus your sewing machine thread & overlocker thread can be a perfect match. Then there are those that prefer to use the Seralon Bobbinfill on their overlockers as it’s a thinner thread producing less bulky seams, but it comes in fewer colours.
Ultimately, if you do a lot of sewing with your overlocker and don’t want to keep on changing threads, you might want to consider Seralon Finestitch thread. This much finer thread is only available in Natural & Black. But the Natural blends in with most colours, and even looks good on black.
Textured Filament Thread:–
If you’ve ever heard of “floss” or “wooly nylon”, that’s what this sewing thread is. Its very elastic and soft and the texture component makes it appear thick and fluffy. Its commonly used in overlockers for rolled hems because it provides excellent coverage and hides the entire raw edge. It also gives a softer feel on the inside seams of underwear and works well in the looper of a coverstitch machine.
I’ve heard you talking about thread weight, how is that measured?
World wide thread is measured in different units, most commomly used ones I could find are TEX, DTEX, DENIER & METRIC
I will explain DTEX because thats the unit of measure used for the threads we supply.
Dtex is the abbreviation for decitex, which is the mass in grams per 10 000m of sewing thread. Higher numbers therefore equate to a thicker thread, while lower numbers means a thinner thread.
Herewith a weight comparison of our threads:
Seralon General Sewing thread has a dtex of 310, Seralon Bobbinfill thread has a dtex of 206 and Seralon Finestitch has a dtex of 123 while Seralon Floss has a dtex of 347.
Looking at these numbers its easy to see that the Seralon General Sewing thread is almost 3x the thickness/weight of Seralon Finestitch.
How strong is my sewing thread?
Thread strength refers to the amount of force (in grams or kilograms) needed to break the thread. The technical term for it is tensile strength. The higher the tensile strength number the stronger is the thread as more weight is needed to break it.
But the actual strength of your sewing thread is relative. Remember like anything else thread can age, so if you have thread that is really old, test it before you start your project because it can break more easily as it ages.
It is always advisable to buy the best quality thread you can afford. Sewing thread might make up the smallest part of your project, but its one of the most important parts. If your thread fails, so does your project. Sub-standard threads also damage your machines, pushing up the maintenance costs on them.
I hope this post has helped you understand your sewing thread a bit better, but if you’d like to learn more you can visit Wikipedia.org, Sewingpartsonline.com or Sailrite.com. Or ask me in the comments. If I don’t know the answer, I will do my best to find it for you.