Thread Types (and number) to use on a serger
by Kelsi Watts: There are different types of threads that can be used on a serger, including standard sewing thread, overlock thread, and topstitching thread. The specific type and number of threads to use will depend on the project and the desired finish.
A four-thread overlock stitch is a versatile option that can be used for a wide range of projects. This stitch uses two threads on the needle and two on the looper, creating a secure seam that finishes the raw edges of the fabric.
For more decorative or heavy-duty projects, a five- or six-thread overlock stitch may be more appropriate.
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.
Regular sewing thread works in a serger (but)
You can use normal thread in a serger machine but it’s more expensive and will run out more quickly. Using overlock thread on a regular machine, however, is not recommended because it isn’t strong enough for most sewing applications.
Using regular sewing thread for embroidery
You can use regular sewing threads for your hand stitching. The results are much like working with embroidery threads and yield a distinct appearance. Don’t be afraid to use regular thread with most embroidery projects for a distinctive finish.
Cone thread use on your sewing machine
Cone thread as it’s most often referred to is just regular sewing thread on a larger spool. You can use “cone thread” on your home sewing machine though it’s likely you will first need to add an attachment to make it work properly.
Cones of thread are larger than regular spools of thread and may not fit on your standard spool holder.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|