Treading Your Way Around Thread
With the array of thread available, how do you know which thread is best for your project? The following are some guidelines to help you select the perfect thread for your project.
General Thread Rules
- Color: Pick thread that is one shade darker than the fabric.
- Weight: Match the thread weight to the fabric weight. Threads are ranked by a number system. A high number indicates a light (or fine) thread, and the medium weight of thread is a 50 weight.
- Fiber: Try to match thread fiber to fabric fiber. Cotton fabric should be sewn with cotton thread; polyester or manmade fiber should be sewn with polyester thread. If possible, don't sew natural fibers with polyester thread. Polyester fiber is stronger than most natural thread, so over time, the stronger polyester thread can break the weaker cotton fiber of the fabric. For quilting, look for thread labeled "machine quilting" or "hand quilting."
- Twist: The amount of spin of the thread fibers. A thread with a high amount of twist will be smoother, shinier and stronger than thread with little or no twist.
Types of General Sewing Threads
For general sewing, use thread spun from cotton, polyester or a polyester/cotton blend. Specialty threads change as often as consumer tastes change.
Rayon thread: Designed for machine embroidery, it has shine to give the embroidered design a decorative effect. Rayon thread is perfect for rolled edges on your serger. Use it in the upper looper only.
Metallic thread: A man-made thread which is ideal for machine-embroidery or decorative serger finishes.
Invisible thread: Great for blind hemming or when it is difficult to match colors. It's typically made of a single strand of polyester and has no color. Because of the lack of color, it is difficult to see. Its one drawback is that it can be stiff and distort the fabric. I use invisible thread in my blind hemmer for hemming pants, draperies and other projects.
General purpose thread: A medium-weight thread made from cotton, silk, polyester or a blend of cotton and polyester.