For your next sewing or quilting project, you'll need to choose the right type of thread. Many types are available to suit different activities, including basting thread, embroidery thread, darning thread, and more. When choosing a thread, the most important thing to consider is the thread weight and size. While color is also a major factor, it has less to do with the function of the thread, which is to hold the fabric together. Below you'll find some information about how to choose the right thread material for your next project.
* '''Lightweight (A)'''
** Silk -- This is a lightweight but strong material which is best used on silk and wool fabrics. You can use it on the finest of fabrics without fear of creating holes.
** Nylon -- This is a strong but fine thread type best used with nylon or other lightweight fabrics.
* '''Medium Weight (B to C, 50)'''
** Cotton -- For use with medium weight fabrics, such as cotton, rayon, or linen. These are not stretchy fabrics, making them ideal to pair with cotton thread. If the fabric has any Lycra content, it's best to switch to a different thread type as cotton will snap under pressure. This is a medium weight material and it comes in myriad hues.
** Polyester -- This medium weight thread is strong and versatile. It can be used on almost all fabrics, and is especially suited for use with synthetics, stretchy fabrics, and woven fabrics.
** Cotton-Wrapped Polyester -- This versatile thread combines the great feel of cotton with the elasticity of polyester. It's suitable for nearly all fabric types.
* '''Heavy Weight (D, 40 or below)'''
** All of the materials types mentioned above are available in heavier weights, making them suitable for sewing upholstery, denim, vinyl, and other heavy fabrics.
Tips for Choosing Thread
* When choosing color, make sure to select a shade slightly darker than the fabric you are using. For multi-color fabrics, the thread should match the most dominant color in the pattern.
* Cheap thread is typically less durable and more prone to breaking, knotting, and causing general sewing havoc. Invest in quality thread for a better sewing experience.
** Poor quality thread will fray, releasing more lint into your sewing machine.
** High quality thread will fray less which means that it can pass through the many loops and holes on the sewing machine without snagging or snapping.
** See this illustrative article from About.com that shows a side by side thread brand comparison.
* Visit Taunton Press to see an article about choosing Embroidery Thread for Sewing Machines.