The best starter sewing thread (most commonly used)
In speaking with other seamsters 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.
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.
The best thread for embroidery
Stranded cotton thread, sometimes called embroidery floss, is the preferred thread for embroidery. It is the most commonly used thread on embroidery projects, including cross stitch, because of durability and ease of use. 6 individual strands of fine cotton thread are combined to make a single embroidery floss.
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.
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 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.
The meaning of thread ‘Tex’
Thread Tex refers to its weight. Tex is a measurement system that uses 1,000 meters of thread per gram as the starting point. If 1,000 meters of thread weighs one gram it is labeled ‘Tex 1’. If it weighed 5 grams it would be labeled Tex 5. Fine(light) threads thus have a low Tex number and thick(heavy) threads have a higher Tex number.
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.
About quilting with regular thread
You can quilt with regular thread, I often use a fine, strong two-ply 50 or 60 weight thread for piecing. I find that it allows me to sew true quarter inch seams. 50 weight thread works but you can sometimes see your stitches so use the 60 weight, or even bigger 80 or 100 weight thread, when possible.
How to identify Polyester thread
Identifying polyester thread is simple – Reading the label will typically tell you of your thread contains nylon, cotton or polyester. However, if there is no label, carefully burning the thread end in a well ventilated area works for identification purposes because Polyester thread melts, it doesn’t burn.