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The Best Thread Type For Your Sewing Machine

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.


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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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Special sewing thread is rarely needed

When sewing stretchy or heavy fabric it’s best to use a thread of the same material type, when possible. Otherwise, Polyester thread works well with most fabric and special sewing machine thread is typically not needed.

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 specfic 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.

Zigzag vs straight stitch strength(s)

A straight sewing stitch is strong because it focuses all of the fabric tension along the same axis(same line) between two pieces. 100% of the thread in a straight stitch is directly holding both pieces together. A zigzag stitch makes the thread alternate in direction between each side, effectively increasing the amount of thread used but decreasing it’s strength. However, in terms of durability, the zigzag stich is more durable overall.

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.

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