Sewing machines can practically use any thread. There is no special thread specifically used only for sewing machines. The secret in choosing the best thread to use on your sewing machine is to find the one which would work best for your project.
To know which one to use, you must consider the fabric properties. A lightweight fabric will obviously need a light thread. Some even recommend matching the type of thread to your fabric’s fiber content; use a cotton thread on cotton fabric.
Sewing machines do not have unique threads. You can also use threads used for hand sewing for sewing machines. And most of the time, the all-purpose polyester thread can do the job.
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How do I choose a sewing thread?
Of the huge variety of threads you can find in stores these days, you may get overwhelmed with which one to choose for your sewing project. You may hoard threads that you do not need for your projects, thinking you may eventually need them in the future. Here is a quick guide to help you choose your thread for your sewing project.
- Define the type of sewing you are doing.
- Distinguish the different types of sewing thread.
Different types of sewing require specific types of thread. To know which thread to use, you must familiarize yourself first with the kind of sewing you are doing. Some are very straightforward, while others may need different sewing techniques.
Repairing tears, holes, or rips in clothing
When the sewing you need to do is repair holes or tears in your clothing, you need a sewing machine with a darning foot to make the darning stitches. To sew the rip on your clothing, you must cover the tear with small stitches using a thread with the same color as your fabric.
To patch a hole on your garment, find a similar color fabric, use a matching thread, and your free motion stitching skills. These are what you call the straight or zigzag stitches on your sewing machine. Run your stitches over the hole until the hole is fully covered.
Sewing a garment from a pattern
If you are sewing a dress or any clothing item straight from a pattern, you will know what thread to use. The pattern will indicate what type and color of fabric you are going to use. With a pattern, it would be easy to choose what type of thread to sew your garment.
Doing embroidery on clothing, bags, and other items.
For embroidery projects, choosing the thread will be a little complicated. Expect to use varied types and colors of threads when you embroider.
Now that you know the different kinds of threads, you must distinguish the qualities of each one. Knowing the properties of your threads can help you decide if they are suitable for your project. Discussed here are some common types of threads that you can use and their unique qualities.
- Polyester Thread
The polyester thread is the most suitable thread for most sewing machines and hand sewing. They usually come in an all-purpose weight, which is size 50, the average weight for threads. Polymer threads have a wax or silicone finish that makes it easy to go through the fabric.
A polyester thread is best used for fabrics with a bit of a stretch, such as knits, woven synthetics, and stretch fabrics. All-purpose thread and invisible thread are two different types of polyester threads. All-purpose thread is a cotton-wrapped polyester thread. The invisible thread looks like a fishing line that you can use for projects where you need to hide the thread. The all-purpose polyester thread is easily obtainable and available in a wide range of colors.
- Cotton Thread
Cotton thread is one of the easiest to find and commonly used threads. Medium-thick cotton thread is usually used on lightweight to medium weight fabrics like cotton, linen, and rayon. It is typically used in embroidery, heirloom sewing, quilting, patchwork, and decorative stitching. Its drawback is that it has a very little stretch.
- Heavy Duty Thread
Heavy-duty thread is also polyester, although its thread weight is not suitable for sewing most clothing projects. It is best to use when sewing home dec projects.
- Wool Thread
The wool thread is usually used on embroidery projects and for blankets for the blanket stitch. The wool thread is best to use with heavy fabrics such as wool or canvas.
- Silk Thread
Silk thread is a fine thread that is strong, smooth, and lustrous. It is mostly used for embroidery work and best to use for sewing on wool and silk. Silk threads do not leave holes when sewn on fabrics and is very flexible.
- Metallic Thread
Metallic thread is a type of thread that is wrapped in metal. Its colors are gold, silver, and copper. Metallic threads are usually used for embroidery work and trappings on handbags.
Once you have chosen what type of thread to use in your sewing project, you can now choose the right color of sewing thread to match your fabric.
When you are using a sewing pattern for your project, please read it thoroughly. It may have recommendations on what thread to use. It would be best to use what was endorsed on the instructions to expect the best results.
Whatever type of thread you choose for your sewing project, make sure it is of the best quality. It may cost you more to buy good quality thread, but you are sure that your project’s quality and durability is not compromised.
How can you tell if a thread is good?
Good quality threads manufactured these days will last much longer than threads produced 20 years ago. We are lucky to use today’s best quality cotton threads because of the advanced processing techniques used to make new cotton threads.
The high-quality threads produced today may still be fine to use 40 to 50 years from now. High-quality modern threads will last longer because of the improved process of making threads these days. The development of genetic engineering also helped in producing better cotton threads.
There is a simple way to test if the cotton threads you have bought or the old stash at home is still good enough to use in your machine. Hold a foot of the thread between both your hands and then pull it apart. If the thread snaps with a nice, crisp break, then the thread is still fine to use. But, if the thread separates and easily pulls apart, it is no good to use.
The polyester thread may fade through time with exposure to sunlight. But old polyester thread does not deteriorate as cotton threads do. This observation confirms that synthetic threads are more durable.
But for you to have a successful sewing project, it is still best to use new threads of the best quality you can afford.
Can embroidery thread be used in a sewing machine?
You can use embroidery thread on a sewing machine. Threads used for embroidery work used in the machine are made from rayon and adds a bit of strength to the clothing. Machine embroidery has been leading in the fashion world nowadays. Most designers prefer machine embroidery over hand embroidery.
The best quality of thread used for embroidery must be thick and smooth to run on machines. The most typical ones used for machine embroidery are rayon, cotton, polyester, metallics, and silk.
Embroidery-work threads are thicker than regular sewing threads. Consider these properties when using the sewing machine. Always try to lower the feed dog of your sewing machine when using embroidery cotton thread. Also, make sure that your bobbin is full when sewing with embroidery thread. For best results, always use new and good quality threads for embroidery as with any sewing.
Can you use thick thread in a sewing machine?
You can use thick thread in your sewing machine. But you might wonder how these beautiful thick threads can go through your sewing machine needle. Sewing experts have come up with a way to use these various types of thick threads to decorate fabrics; the bobbin work.
The bobbin work uses knitting yarns, small ribbons, and other types of thick threads to create great texture work on your fabric. With bobbin work, you will be working on the fabric’s back, so your design appears on the fabric’s right side. The thread you want on top of the fabric is winded on the bobbin, so you can use any thick thread that you want. You will have no issues that your thread needs to pass through the needle.
If you have chosen a design and a thick thread that you want to appear on your fabric, follow these few steps to do your bobbin work.
- Draw the design on the back of your fabric. You can use interfacing on the back where you can draw the design. Fix it on the fabric, then draw your design.
- Wind your bobbin slowly by hand. Wind the bobbin slowly and evenly, making sure not to twist the thick thread or ribbon. Slowly winding your bobbin is a crucial step in making your bobbin work even. You should not wind your bobbin fully; ¾ is enough.
- When working with thick threads, you can loosen the bobbin tension if you need to. You can loosen the tension on the bobbin case by turning the tension screw to the left. Adjusting the tension on the bobbin is possible only with the front-loading sewing machines.
After you set the bobbin in place, take your thread through the tension slot. If your thread is too thick, let your thread feed straight up without going through the tension slot.
- Thread your top thread. For your top thread, you can use cotton, monofilament, rayon, or polyester thread. But if you do not want your top thread to show on the right side of your fabric, you can use a transparent thread. Some use metallic thread, which creates a nice effect when it appears on the fabric’s top.
- Sew with the right side of the fabric face down on the cover plate of your sewing machine. If possible, sew at the slowest speed. You can also use an embroidery hoop to maintain tension on your fabric as you sew.
When you have finished sewing your design, take up your work, then cut the extra threads on your fabric’s right-side face. You can use fabric glue on the cut ends to keep your thick thread in place.
Please keep an open mind in doing bobbin work, though, because it is not similar to precision stitching. You may have to experiment with the thread tensions and keeping your thick thread in place to complete your design.
If you want to use your beautiful thick threads and ribbons to decorate your fabric, you can do without using so much of your time doing it by hand. Sewing by bobbin work on your machine can do the trick.