Looking for the 16 Best Sewing Threads? They are the glue that keeps your garments together. Just as important as the machine which will be used to construct your garments, is that which holds them together. Nothing is more frustrating than having to rethread your machine when you are focusing on creating a fashion statement.
The type and quality of the thread you use will determine the strength of the stitches and the overall hold of the garment.
Knowing the basic properties of thread and the options available is the first step in selecting the right thread for your project. When you realize how many different types of threads are available, it can be overwhelming. Choosing the right weight/thickness, fiber, and finish for your project is the key to successful thread selection. In general, All-Purpose Polyester thread is suitable for a wide range of sewing projects. There are times, however, when you may need or want to experiment with different thread types.
I understand how perplexing it can be, which is why I created My Ultimate Thread Reference Guide. It’ll be the last thread you’ll ever need to look up. I hope this information is useful and that you will use this article as a reference throughout your sewing career.
Let’s get this party started.
Thread can be made of animal, plant, synthetic, or a combination of these materials. Thread is made up of two or more plies of “yarn” twisted together in its most basic form. It can be left “soft” (untreated) or given a special finish to improve its performance and appearance.
A thread can be monofilament (basically, one long ply) or multifilament (a thread made up of several filaments) (2 or more plies). It’s finished after it’s been spun to highlight project-specific features. Wax coating for shoemaking or silky smooth for low-lint quilting is both options. It can even be given a lustrous, color-reflecting sheen, similar to that of high-quality embroidery thread.
Here are a few terms you might encounter:
Cord: A “corded thread” is created when multiple “threads” are twisted together. These threads are commonly referred to as 4-, 6-, and 9-ply. A corded thread, as you might expect, is thicker and stronger. This is commonly used in leatherwork, shoemaking, and other crafts.
Corespun Thread: This type of thread is made up of a continuous filament polyester “core” that is wrapped in cotton or polyester yarn in a cocoon-like fashion. These threads combine the benefits of both fibers, with the outer fiber providing the final “look.” A polyester core with wrapped cotton, for example, has the strength of polyester but the soft look of cotton. This results in a thread that is more durable and stronger. This type of thread is commonly used in the construction of jeans.
Ply: A strand of yarn is what this term refers to. Threads are frequently referred to as 2-, 3-, or 4-ply. A three-ply thread is depicted in the image above.
Twist Direction: The twist of a thread is determined by the direction in which it is spun. It can be twisted in either a ‘Z’ (left twist) or an ‘S’ (right twist) direction (right twist). Single needle sewing machines can use a ‘Z’ twist. In-home sewing machines, an ‘S’ twist thread is uncommon.
Types of Threads
All-Purpose Thread: This is your go-to, all-purpose thread. Approximately 95% of the time, you’ll use this thread. It can be used for hand and machine sewing. It can be used with almost any fabric (lightweight to heavyweight). Polyester or cotton is commonly used for this thread. It’s neither as thick nor as thin as “heavy-duty thread” or as light as embroidery thread. It’s ideal for constructing seams, edge stitching, quilting, and a variety of other tasks.
This thread isn’t recommended for very fine, sheer fabrics or very heavy denim or canvas. It’s not recommended for projects that will be exposed to direct sunlight or extreme heat on a regular basis.
Clear Thread, also known as Monofilament or Continuous filament thread, resembles a very fine fishing line and is useful when you want your stitches to be invisible. Monofilament thread can be found in a variety of applications, from quilting to upholstery, depending on the weight. Its nylon base makes it strong and tension-resistant. On light fabrics, use clear monofilament thread, and on very dark fabrics, use the “smoky” tinted monofilament thread. When machine sewing with clear thread, we recommend using a thread net and a metallic needle.
Embroidery Thread/Floss: This term refers to both machine embroidery thread and hand embroidery floss. Embroidery thread is made from a variety of fibers, the most popular of which is rayon, which is known for its high sheen and low cost. Despite its popularity, polyester embroidery thread has advanced significantly and is now stronger and more “colorfast” than rayon. Cotton and silk embroidery thread are also available. Lightweight and medium-weight fabrics work well with rayon and silk embroidery thread, but heavier fabrics should be embroidered with polyester embroidery thread.
Embroidery Floss: Spun by hand or machine into six strands, embroidery floss is popular for hand embroidery and needlepoint. It’s then divided to get the thickness you want (when the user is ready to embroider). The manufacturer determines the colors, numbering, and weights. Examine the thread fiber make-up closely to see how it will perform on your fabric. If you’re unsure, trust your instincts and go by the feel of the thread.
Elastic Thread: Because of its high stretch and rebound, an elastic thread is ideal for gathering and shirring fabric. Hovering your steam iron over the sewn elastic thread is the key to getting the most stretch. This will drastically reduce the thread’s size. You can make more gathers while maintaining elasticity by shrinking the thread. After that, you can wash and dry as usual without fear of further shrinkage.
Heavy Duty Thread: This thread has been designed to withstand high tension and stress. Depending on what it’s used for, it comes in a variety of weights and finishes. A heavy-duty outdoor thread, for example, will be thick and UV-resistant, as well as having water-resistant properties (depending on the manufacturer). When sewing heavyweight fabric (like canvas or duck cloth) that will be subjected to a lot of wear and tear, use heavy-duty thread. Projects that benefit from a heavy-duty thread include camping gear, luggage, and sports equipment.
Industrial Thread: Industrial machines are designed to sew at higher speeds and for longer periods of time on a daily basis. They can work with anything from chiffon to leather stacks. Industrial thread is a two-part term that can describe spool size (such as a 5-pound spool) or convey strength not found in home sewing (like Kevlar Thread).
The strongest, most durable, and longest-lasting thread can be found on the industrial thread market. As a result, the term “industrial thread” can also refer to “industrial strength,” such as the strength required to sew firefighter jackets, rock climbing equipment, and parachutes.
Metallic thread is used to embroider and sew decorative topstitching on garments. It isn’t particularly strong and is prone to breaking, which is why it requires “white glove” treatment. It’s usually made with a polyester core and slivers of metal foil/tinsel wrapped around it. High heat or steam should not be used because it will weaken and destroy the stitches.
Metallic thread is stunning when used correctly and is always worth the extra effort. Read our metallic thread sewing tips and tricks before you start sewing.
Upholstery Thread: Upholstery thread comes in a variety of fibers and weights and is used to upholster furniture. It’s more durable and stronger than an all-purpose thread. Cotton, nylon, polyester, and silk are all options for upholstery thread.
Nylon is popular because it has some “give,” which means it won’t break every time someone sits on your newly reupholstered sofa. Many upholstery experts advise that you match the upholstery thread fiber to your fabric fiber.
Silk thread, for example, is ideal for silk upholstery fabric. Upholstery thread and Heavy Duty thread are not the same things, despite the fact that they are often used interchangeably.
What causes a thread to break in a sewing machine?
Each type of sewing machine requires a specific style of thread. The number one reason for thread breaking in your sewing machine is caused by choosing the wrong thread type. Your manual will advise you on how to make the best choice.
Best Sewing Threads
|1. KINGSO 24 Assorted Colors Polyester Sewing Thread||99%|
|2. 40 Spools Polyester Embroidery Machine Thread||96%|
|3. Candora Sewing Thread Assortment||92%|
|4. Connecting Threads 100% Cotton Thread Sets||86%|
|5. Aurifil A1050-2024 Mako Cotton Thread||82%|
After making so many mistakes, I have put together this guide to selecting the best sewing threads for your project.
These threads come in 24 different colors on a large spool accommodating 1000 yards.
They are polyester and are best used for embroidery, hand sewing and machine sewing.
They are also used in knitting, cross-stitch, crochet, and weaving.
The bundle contains 24 spools of thread.
Another great and affordable thread bundle accommodating less yardage is the…
You get 40 beautiful spools of thread in this lot, which holds 550 yards on each spool.
The colors they come in correspond to the brother thread numbers so that they can easily be matched.
If you don’t need as many as 40 spools of thread, try a smaller lot with the…
This lot comes with 30 polyester threads also in an array of colors.
Perfect for hand and machine sewing, you get 250 yards on each spool.
Still not needing as many threads?
Then try these single spool ones…
These threads are fully cotton and hold 1200 yards on each spool.
The size of the center cone will fit comfortably on a regular size sewing machine spool spindle.
Their satin finish results in a very smooth and shiny appearance and a beautiful finish on the garnets or projects on which they are used.
The collection is called salt and pepper, which comes in black, white, grey, stone and silver, a total of 5 thread spools.
For another option of satin finish thread check out my final pick which is the …
Also mercerized to have a satin finish, this spool of thread is made of Egyptian cotton.
(Here’s some quilting fabric you may like)
This is a high-quality 100% cotton product.
While not full-size spools, this kit offers a wide selection of colors and includes pre-wound bobbins. This is a great backup set and offers such a wide variety at such a great price you can afford to keep one or two around for emergencies. The great price and selection makes this a good back-up set, but other sets offer full-sized spools but not the variety for the money.
- Comes with a selection of pre-wound bobbins
- 32 different threads and 28 bobbins
- Amazing price
The color selection in this set of threads offers a very wide selection for one great price. Perfectly suitable for almost all projects, the thread comes wound for serger machine use but can be transferred to other spools. The variety and quality of this set make it ideal if you use a serger or are willing to wind your own spools.
- 30 different colors
- 250 yards per spool
- multi-purpose thread
One of the best-known names in threads offers this amazing set of threads. Though more expensive than a lot of options, this is truly a case of paying for quality. 50 different colors of high-quality threads provide enough colors to be the best option for overall value.
- 50 different colors
- Quality you can trust
- 125 yards of high-quality thread per color
These heavy-weight threads by Coats & Clark are fabulous for repairing jeans, sewing leather and canvas, and any other number of heavy duty applications. 10 different spools offer a wide variety of colors and unmatched quality. Though a higher price than some threads, using this thread with the correct needle offers durability that other threads simply cannot provide.
For high-quality threads from a reputable name, these sets cannot be beaten. Investing money in this heavy-duty thread saves time in the long run and many different kits are offered, for a great variety of colors. Coats & Clark are known for providing quality threads and this set lives up to their reputation.
- Heavy-duty thread
- 125 yards per spool
- All the basic colors at a great price
This set offers a great selection of colors at a fabulous price. The low price offers good quality polyester threads suitable for almost all projects. 1000 yards per spool and an amazing color selection mean less money spent replacing commonly used colors!
- Wide selection of colors
- Fully polyester threads
- Great price for a wide selection
This set of threads offers high versatility and is already wound to be used on mechanical and computerized machines. With a fabulous selection of colors, a beginner or professional will find everything they need in this set. The included case, variety, and quality only make this an even better choice.
- 30 different colors
- 110 yards of each color
- Spools work with most motorized and computerized machines
The variety of colors alone makes this set a great purchase. You receive four spools each of black and white threads, which any seasoned crafter knows is one of your most commonly used colors. 250 yards of each vibrant and beautiful color offer a great value for your money.
- 92 different colors with 4 white and 4 black spools
- 250 yards per spool
- Great selection for the price
A fabulous color selection and great price make this a fabulous option for beginners and professionals. Matching bobbins for each of the 25 different colors provide more variety than most kits. With a great price and amazing array of colors, this kit is one of the best options for sewing threads.
- 25 different colors of thread
- Matching bobbins for each color
- Great value
This set from Gutermann offers the serious crafter a great set of basic colored threads. Easily the most used colors, these threads are highly reliable and versatile and can be relied upon, unlike cheaper options. Paying for quality will offer fewer headaches from broken thread!
- Great quality product
- A basic set of highly versatile threads
- Great price for such a good product
A great set of basic colors from a great company, this set offers a lot for your money! Thought not as many colors are other sets, this set focuses on quality over quantity. With reliability and versatility in mind any crafter can make good use of this great set from Gutermann.
- Great quality
- 110 ft. per spool
- multi-purpose thread
Head back to Chapter 1: The 7 Sewing Essentials for Beginners!