How to Choose a Sewing Thread

    by eHow Contributor

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    The thread holds the garment or sewing project together, if it is poor quality, or unsuitable, the result could be a garment or project with rippled seams, or seams that fall apart. Choosing the right thread is an integral part of the construction process, and knowing the properties of various threads will lead you to the right one for your project.

    Choose a color thread that matches the most dominant color in your fabric. If you are unable to find a perfect match, select a thread that is one or two shades darker. Stitches made with a lighter shade of thread will stand out more.

    Purchase thread in a similar fiber content to that of your fabric; cotton, polyester and cotton/poly threads are the most widely used.

    Use cotton thread for light to medium-weight fabrics that have little or no stretch to them. Cotton thread will not "give," and the stitches may break if used on a stretchy knit fabric.

    Select polyester thread for most hand and machine stitching. This thread is most suitable for synthetic fabrics or fabrics with a lot of stretch to them. The finish of this thread, however, can appear waxy or shiny.

    Use a cotton-wrapped polyester thread for most sewing projects. This thread is usually labeled "all-purpose" and is the thread you will see most frequently in fabric stores. It is suitable for all types of fabrics and for both hand and machine sewing.

    Consider fine cotton or silk thread for very thin or delicately woven fabrics such as those used for lingerie or sheer garments. Silk thread is more elastic than cotton, so opt for silk if your garment fabric has any stretch to it at all.

    Look for thread labeled "heavy duty" for projects that require extra strength and durability in stitches. For example, an upholstery project that uses very heavy or stiff fabric will require heavy-duty thread. Some apparel items made with a similar type of fabric will also require this thread.

    Use metallic thread for both machine and hand embroidery. Make sure, however, that the thread you use for machine embroidery is labeled suitable for machine sewing.

    Buy quilting thread for your hand or machine quilting projects and for projects that are similarly layered. Most quilting thread is all-cotton and has a finish that allows the thread to slip more easily through the fabric and batting layers.

    • Refer to your sewing pattern for any special thread recommendations.
    • Most all-purpose threads are about a size 50 weight. In thread sizing, this is medium-weight. The higher the number, the finer the thread.
    • Use only serger thread in your serger. It is finer and produces less fiber lint and dust as regular thread.