The difference between threading and sewing
Thread is a long, thin and flexible material used in sewing. The act of sewing attaches two or more materials together tightly with multiple individual passes of a threaded needle. Threading is the process of passing thread through material(s) in preparation for later securing the materials together tightly, each individual threading pass is not tightened until later.
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.
Strong thread is called heavy duty thread
Outside of industrial applications the strongest thread available for use in home sewing projects is called heavy duty thread. Modern heavy duty thread most often has a core made of a strong material wrapped in a more traditional thread material. Heavy duty thread is ideal for use with embroidery sewing projects.
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.
Most sewing machines need upper and lower thread
Most sewing machines need upper and lower thread to form stitches. The lower thread is located in the bobbin below the presser foot and serves to lock individual stitches. Some machines, however, have been designed to work without a lower thread but these machines are considered difficult to use in comparison.
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.
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.
Using all-purpose thread while quilting
All-purpose and quilting specific threads are both safe choices for hand quilting. If you want to stick with all-purpose thread for your quilting project make sure it’s appropriately sized. Thin all-purpose thread will work well for aplique heavy quilts, otherwise a medium thread should do the job nicely.
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.