Tips For Spotting Good Quality Sewing Thread

by Kelsi Watts: Sewing machines require good quality sewing thread to work optimally. You can determine thread quality by giving it a good pull and by lightly scratching it with a fingernail.

If the thread breaks or frays you may want to use a higher quality thread. Here are some tips.

Look for a thread that is smooth and free of knots or tangles. High-quality thread should be evenly spun and free of imperfections.

Consider the material the thread is made from. Strong, durable materials, such as polyester or nylon, are good choices for sewing thread.

Check the thread's colorfastness. A good quality thread should not bleed or fade when washed or exposed to light.

Look for a thread with a consistent thickness and weight. A high-quality thread should have a uniform diameter and weight throughout its length.

Consider the thread's tensile strength. A good quality thread should be able to withstand high levels of tension without breaking or fraying.

Look for a thread that is compatible with your sewing machine. The best thread for your machine will depend on its make and model, so it is important to choose a thread that is specifically designed for use with your machine.

Read reviews and do some research to find a thread that has a good reputation among sewers and embroiderers. This can be a good way to identify high-quality thread brands and avoid low-quality products.

Spotting a good quality sewing thread

How to spot good bobbin thread

Good bobbin thread is as strong as any sewing machine top thread. Go ahead and compare their tensile strength by seeing how easily they break. Pull the bobbin thread tight and scratch it lightly to see if it frays. Good bobbin thread should not be any more breakable than standard high quality thread.

Simple trick for testing thread quality

Hold a length of thread between your thumb and finger and press against the thread lightly with your thumbnail. Pull the thread gently and let your nail lightly “scratch” the thread.

A high quality thread will remain tightly bound but a low quality thread will develop small, broken and loose fibers that point outwards.

Engage your thread guide to keep thread in place

The thread guide on your home sewing machine is a small metal hook-shaped ring typically located on the upper needle assembly. By running thread through the thread guide it is kept in place during the sewing process.

Engage the thread guide to keep the thread moving smoothly between the spool and needle and to avoid frustrating tangles.

How to thread your sewing machine needle

  1. Place a spool of sewing thread on your machine
  2. Pull the thread out and wind it around your bobbin
  3. Put the bobbin on your machine’s bobbin pin
  4. Engage the bobbin winder by pressing the peddle
  5. Cut and wrap the spool thread around the guide
  6. Pull the thread down around the catch
  7. Wrap the thread around the takeup lever
  8. Lastly, thread the needle and drop in your bobbin

Typical maxi-lock all purpose thread weight

Thread weight is a measurement of length and the lower the number the heavier the thread. Typical maxi-lock thread is 40 weight, meaning that 40 kilometers of 40 weight thread would weigh 1kg.

A 30 weight thread would be heavier and only require 30 kilometers to weight the same. 40 weight maxi-lock thread works best with a 90/14 size needle.

Thread Colors are (almost) universal

Ordering thread of a specific color from a color card that fails to match your fabric can be frustrating. Thankfully thread manufacturers pay attention to the fabric colors of competitors more now than ever.

As a result, most thread colors are universal between brands and, most often, what you see on a color card is exactly what you get.

Bobbin thread does not need to be the same color

When your top thread tension is properly set on your sewing machine the bobbin thread will not be visible in the finished product. For that reason your bobbin thread does not need to be the same color as your top thread.

To be safe avoid using high contrast color combinations, however, typically any bobbin thread color will work.

Amount of thread needed to make a quilt (chart)

The quilting fabric chart below represents the average amount of thread needed to make a good quality quilt.

Quilt Size Light Quilting Heavy Quilting
Twin Size 400 yds. 1,200 yds.
Queen Size 600 yds. 1,600 yds.
King Size 750 yds. 2,000 yds.

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.

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