Thread | Sew Threads

A big factor in a smooth sewing experience is using the right thread for the job. You’ll be surprised by how many different kinds of thread there are. I list them below from heaviest weight thread for heavy-duty sewing down to the finest and lightest weight threads.

1. Heavyweight / outdoor thread 
Use heavyweight outdoor thread for sewing canvas and other outdoor and water repellent fabrics. These threads stand up to wet conditions better than all-purpose thread. 
2. Upholstery, button, and carpet threads 
These threads are heavy, but not as stiff as outdoor thread, and they are easier to work with because they’re more like all purpose thread, only thicker and stronger.

3. Topstitching thread 
Topstitching thread is slightly thicker than allpurpose thread, and it is meant to be a little more substantive, so it is visible when used for topstitching. Gold topstitching thread, used on most jeans, is a great example; it’s a bit thicker and stands out from the fabric.

4. Quilting thread 
At about the same weight as all-purpose thread is 100 percent cotton quilting thread. Quilters tend to use this all cotton thread to match the quilting cotton fabrics. Some people use all-purpose thread for piecing the quilt and all-cotton thread for the quilting. The logic is that quilters don’t want the polyester thread to outlast or damage the fabric by its strength.

5. All purpose thread 
For most sewing, it’s good to have a selection of all purpose thread. This thread is usually 100 percent polyester, or polyester wrapped in cotton. Polyester makes the thread thin but strong. This thread is suitable for garment, home décor, and most basic sewing tasks.

6. Silk thread
Silk thread is finer than all-purpose thread. I like to use silk thread for hand basting because it’s very smooth and the silk fibers are very long. If you look very closely, cotton or cotton-wrapped all-purpose thread is a bit fuzzy; silk thread is less so. When used for basting, the silk thread slips through the fabric so you can baste quickly. Silk thread can also be dyed, so when I know I will be dyeing a garment, I’ll sew with silk thread. The silk thread (and cotton thread, too) will take the dye and match the garment perfectly.

7. Embroidery thread 
The thinnest, lightest weight thread is rayon embroidery thread. It’s super smooth and shiny and makes pretty topstitching and decorative stitches that look more intentional. Embroidery thread also comes in several weight choices and an amazing array of colors...

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