How To Identify Polyester Thread
by: Kelsi Watts - Polyester thread is strong and resistant to shrinking, fading, and stretching, making it a popular choice for a wide range of sewing projects. To identify polyester thread, look for the following characteristics:
- Color: Polyester thread often has a glossy or shiny appearance.
- Texture: Polyester thread is smooth and fine, with a consistent texture. It should not feel rough or uneven.
- Stretch: Polyester thread has some stretch to it, but not as much as nylon thread. When you pull on it gently, it should have a slight amount of give, but it should not stretch out significantly.
Burn test: One of the most reliable ways to identify polyester thread is to perform a burn test. To do this, carefully light the end of the thread with a match or lighter and observe the way it burns.
Polyester thread will burn with a clean, odorless flame, and the end will turn into a hard, round bead when it cools.
Thread matching, learn how it's done
Thread matching is the process of choosing the right thread to use with your sewing fabric. For color matching choose a thread that is one shade darker than the fabric to be sewn. For best results match thread fiber type with fabric fiber type.
Thread weight selection has been made simple, match the rating on it's label with that of the fabric's rating.
The strongest sewing thread is ...
Nylon thread is considered the strongest sewing thread due to its high strength to weight ratio. Nylon thread is a great choice for stitching upholstery, leather, and vinyl. For smooth stitches while sewing at high speed use Nylon thread treated with a friction reducer.
The best thread type for your sewing machine
Polyester thread is best to use for sewing synthetic fabric on your sewing machine. This is because Polyester can stretch a small amount making it more forgiving than cotton. Also, Polyester thread is less likely to shrink when compared with cotton thread. For natural fabric, cotton thread with a Polyester core works extremely well.
Popular thread for serger sewing machines
The most popular thread used in serger sewing machines is Polyester thread because of it's strength, durability and flexibility. Some sewing projects require a specific thread type, such as nylon or cotton thread, but most do not. Polyester thread also has the benefit of being slightly less expensive and more durable overall.
Cotton vs Polyester sewing thread
Cotton thread is stronger and softer than Polyester thread making it the better sewing option for most applications. That being said, cotton thread doesn't stretch as much as Polyester thread so it is more prone to breaking. This is something you need to consider when choosing your sewing thread.
The best starter sewing thread (most commonly used)
In speaking with other seamstress I find that 50 weight polyester cotton blend thread is the most commonly used thread, for most project types. It is suitable for use with a wide range of fabrics, including stretch. With experience preferences change but for starting out you can't go wrong with a good polyester cotton blend thread.
Top stitching with embroidery thread (possible)
Contrary to an old weaver's myth, embroidery thread can be used for top stitching on a sewing machine. Several brands of embroidery threads are available for use on standard, simple home sewing machines. Polyester, cotton and rayon threads tend to be a bit stronger than regular embroidery thread but all can be used for top stitching with good results.
The best all-purpose sewing thread
Before the invention of polyester thread it was common for natural sewing thread to break frequently and inconveniently. Today, most sewing machine thread has a polyester core that prevents thread breakage by making it slightly stretchy. As a result the best all purpose thread has a polyester core or is entirely made of polyester.
Sewing vs embroidery thread
Embroidery thread is more decorative in appearance when compared with regular sewing thread. Embroidering thread is typically shinier, with more vibrant colors, and is available in more textures than sewing thread. As a result, regular sewing thread is generally stronger and more durable than embroidery specific thread whether it's cotton or polyester.