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Thread Matching, learn how it’s done

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.


Explore the Top Rated Sewing Machine Needles for ideas and suggestions.

Serger thread doesn’t need to match

Serger sewing thread doesn’t need to match every color in your fabric. You will most often get eye pleasing results when matching only one color. Alternatively, you can use a base color from the same range of colors that matches none of them exactly. Tip: Focus on lighter colors when no match is available because stronger colors draw the eye to them.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Best overlock thread colors to use

For ease of use try to match the tone of a fabric but not necessarily when choosing overlock thread. Example: Use a medium green thread in an overlock stich over a dark green fabric. The benefit of this approach is that the slight contrast makes it easy to see where your overlock stich threads lay.

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

Top stitching with embroidery thread (possible)

Contrary to an old weaver’s myth, embroidery thread can be used for top stitching on a sewing machine. Several brands of embroidery threads are available for use on standard, simple home sewing machines. Polyester, cotton and rayon threads tend to be a bit stronger than regular embroidery thread but all can be used for top stitching with good results.

Maxi-lock thread is popular (but is it good?)

Maxi-Lock thread is a brand of sewing thread made by ‘American and Efird co’. It is a popular thread choice with home tailors who prefer using a serger sewing machine. Maxi-lock thread is 100% polyester, exceptionally soft, is available in dozens of vibrant colors and lends itself well to high-speed sewing. Yes, it’s good thread.

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