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The meaning of thread ‘Tex’

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.


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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.

Extra strong thread use in sewing machines

Heavy threads are absolutely stunning to work with. Whether hand quilting stand-out stitches or machine quilting bold outlines the beautiful textural effects of thick strong thread is appealing. While it’s certainly important to consider thread strength requirements for structural purposes don’t forget the asthetic appeal of thick extra strength threads.

Thread types (and number) to use on a serger

Regular thread DOES work on a serger sewing machine, but will run out more quickly. The number of threads to use at one time depends on the machine. A 2-4 serger sewing machine requires two to four threads, depending on setting. Likewise a 3-4 Serger requires a minimum of three and maximum of four threads and a 5 thread serger machine requires five threads.

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 choose the right thread for sewing

Thread is available in many weights and sizes. Matching thread thickness with fabric thickness and weight generally gives good results. Typically, thick thread is stronger and more visible than fine thread so determine how much seam stress your sewing project will be subjected to and choose thread thickness accordingly.

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 thread size, fabric and needle chart

This sewing thread size chart quickly suggests the best thread size to use with different fabric weights. It also suggests the best needle size to use with the thread.

Thread Weight(Size) Fabric Type Needle Size
80-50 wt. Light Fabric 60/8, 65/9, 70/10, 75/11
50-40 wt. Medium Fabric 75/11, 80/12, 90/14
40-20 wt. Heavy Fabric 100/16, 110/18, 120/19

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.

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.

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