There are sew many types of threads it is sometimes hard to know which one to buy for which project. Lol – did you notice the use of the word sew up front. That’s at least worth a chuckle I’d say. Okay, I tried.
A. Don’t be cheap. This is the time to spend top dollar on good quality thread. Second grade thread causes lint to form in the needle casing of the machine and can cause damage. A good thread is twisted much tighter using a high quality of fibers. When the needle grabs the bobbin thread and comes up, it leaves fluff from the lesser quality thread in the bobbin case. As this fluff collects, it causes stitching problems and even operation problems with your machine. Brush out the bobbin case and clean the needle shaft after every project and each time you change thread. Watch for the sales on ‘buy one get one’ when it comes to brands like Gutterman, Coats & Clark, and Mettler then stock up.
Phew, that was a big basic. I’ll try and be less wordy from here on, which as you know, is hard for me to do.
B. Keep shades of gray thread on hand as it blends well with any color. Also white, tan and black are good to have around. When matching thread to fabric choose one that is a bit darker if it doesn’t match exactly. It lightens up off the spool. When topstitching use a shade lighter for a dressier and more elegant effect, a shade darker for a sportier look, and a complete contrast for a very casual appearance.
C. Don't buy an extra spool for a twin needle. Just wind some on a bobbin and put the bobbin on your secondary spool holder. Your bobbin thread doesn't have to match your project exactly unless you are topstitching.
D. Every time you change the thread in your machine, change the needle as well. It is recommended that needles be changed every 4-6 hours of “Sewing time”.
E. Follow the needle guides usually on the wall next to the needles. Follow the color code on them and you won’t go wrong.
Now some common threads and their uses:
1. All purpose polyester thread – use on practically any fabric. It doesn’t shrink or fade, is strong, and is compatible with knits because ‘it gives’.
2. Long-staple polyester thread – uses 4-5.5” fibers, instead of usual 1.5” for spinning the threads. A superior quality of thread for hand-sewing, has great luster, and is extra strong. Save it for finer fabrics like silk or polyester silkies.
3. Serger thread – slightly finer than all-purpose and extra smooth for high speed sewing. It is not to be used in a regular sewing machine (weaker in a straight stitched seam). Blend colors, like gray blends in tone with all fabrics. Needle threads should match but looper threads don’t need to match.
4. Extra-fine polyester thread – cotton wrapped polyester thread, finer for lingerie and lightweight fabrics. Coats & Clark makes a great one.
5. Polyester topstitching thread – Use size 16 or 18 needle or topstitching needle (bigger eye for threading) for these decorative heavier threads. Three methods for machines to sew with these threads. Try all three to test for best results.
a) topstitching thread on top, all-purpose thread in the bobbin, b) regular thread on top, topstitching thread in bobbin, c) topstitching thread on top and in the bobbin.
6. Silk buttonhole twist – heavy silk, elegant thread with subtle sheen for decorative topstitching.
7. Cotton thread – not as strong as polyester with limited give. Can shrink in low-shrink synthetics. It sews well, dyes beautifully, and has luster for machine embroidery. One of my personal favorites, if I may throw that in.
8. Silk thread – my other favorite. Strong and elastic yet very fine for basting, very fine silk fabrics and some knits.
I was going to include Fabrics with threads and needles in this blog, but I think not. Too long. Who would have thought so much could be drummed up on threads. There are probably a ton more tips and suggestions out there, sew, (did it again), let us know if you have some.