Use this thread guide to know what kind of thread to use for your sewing projects.
Now that you have your new sewing machine, are you wondering what thread to buy? Are you asking yourself questions like “What is the best thread to use for your sewing machine?” Or, “Do you need special thread for your sewing machine?” Maybe, “Is it better to sew with cotton or polyester thread?” I’ll answer these questions and more with this guide to buying the right thread for your sewing machine.
This post is part of a series for beginner sewers. You might also like these posts:
What sewing machine should you buy?
5 tools you need to start sewing
11 more sewing tools you should have
Guide to Sewing Machine Needles
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What are the different kinds of sewing thread?
Thread is made out of fibers. There are natural fibers and synthetic fibers. Examples of natural fibers are cotton, wool, silk, and linen. Examples of synthetic fibers are polyester, rayon, and nylon. Sometimes natural and synthetic are joined together like a cotton polyester blend. They also create different kinds of weight. (More on this below). Some examples of the different types of thread are elastic (used for gathering), heavy duty, all purpose, polyester, clear, embroidery floss, metallic thread, serger thread, quilting thread, upholstery, variegated, and more.
What are the different weights of thread and what should I look for?
Honestly, I’ve never looked at weight when deciding on which thread to buy for my project. I went to my sewing room to see what different weights I could find, and out of all of my threads, I only found a weight listed on two of them. So I don’t even know what weighted thread I have. It might be important to know what you need for special projects, but for the most part, I don’t think it’s a factor you need to worry about when learning to sew.
I did do some research so I could learn about the different weights and here is what I found. When looking for thread weight on a spool of thread, sometimes it looks like “No 40” or “50/3”. The first thing you need to know is, the higher the thread weight number, the thinner the thread. And if the weight number looks like a fraction like “50/3” it means it has a weight of 50 and is three ply. 50 wt is a common thread weight.
40 wt thread is usually used for embroidery projects. Even if you don’t have an embroidery machine, you can use these for decorative stitches and applique techniques.
Serger thread is generally a 40 wt polyester thread. Serger thread has a special coating that allows it to withstand high speeds. And again, I use this in my sewing machine also, and it performs nicely.
Do you need special thread for your sewing machine?
Yes, you need to use thread that is made for sewing machines, not hand stitching thread, or embroidery thread. And there are so many choices. The thread I use the most is all purpose thread. Your local crafting store will have a good selection to choose from. I like Gutermann because it is good quality and has great color choices. This is a great quality thread that will work great on most projects. This is pretty much the thread I used exclusively before I started sewing clothes with my serger and coverstitch. When I started sewing clothing, I started using cones of polyester thread. Cones are used on sergers and coverstitches because they use so much thread. Polyester thread is a good all purpose thread, so I use this on all my machines now. If you are sewing with light weight or heavy weight fabrics, you don’t want to use all purpose thread. You want to use a thread that matches your project when sewing light weight or heavy weight projects.
How much thread should I buy?
Spools of thread come in different sizes. You can look on the thread spool to find how many yards are in a spool. This will help you buy the correct amount for your project. Generally, one spool will last a long time. If you are sewing large quilts, you’ll probably go through a lot of thread.
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