The Sewing Machine Thread Types Guide You’ll Never Forget.

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The A – Z Of Sewing Machine Thread Types

A wide variety of sewing machine threads are available for purchase, however not all sewing machine threads are equal.

Stitching machines come with a wide variety of threads that may be used for a variety of various sewing activities and different kinds of cloth.

If you don’t know which sewing machine thread is ideal for you, it might be tough to choose which machine is most suited to your requirements.

An overview of the most common sewing machine thread types are provided in this article, along with information on how they vary in terms of their applicability and the advantages each type gives sewers.

Sewing machine thread types:

You may be asking yourself, “Why are there so many different kinds of thread?” Do they all accomplish the same thing?”

As someone who is learning to sew or has just begun using a sewing machine, these questions are really useful.

Each kind of thread has a distinct sewing machine and project use, which is the easiest way to answer this topic.

One kind of thread is appropriate for commercial or industrial tasks, but not good for domestic use sewing machine. Glitz and glamour are better served by a different kind of product. One is more suited to specific sorts of materials, whereas the other is not. I’m sure you got the gist of it.

Polyester and cotton fabric sewing threads are the most often used sewing machine threads, however there are many others.

Various Types of Sewing Machine Threads –

  • Polyester
  • Cotton
  • Embroidery
  • Thread for quilting
  • a rayon thread
  • Stitching thread for the top
  • Nylon
  • Silk
  • Thread for denim or jean
  • The thread is made out of recycled material
  • Metallic thread
  • Elastic threads
  • Invisible thread
  • Overlock thread
  • Thread with glitter

Polyester threads

Among sewers, polyester thread is a favorite since it is inexpensive and, according to sewing experts, the most durable.

It may also be utilized in a wide range of sewing crafts. If you’re sewing through thick materials like denim, beware of snagging pins or fingers on polyester sewing threads.

Embroidery machines have used polyester sewing machine thread since 1937, and now it is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Some of the more popular ones are black, white, silver/gray, and various red-and-white striped patterns (for quilting) (top stitching).

The number ranges from #40 to 240, so you’ll be able to discover the thread you’re looking for.

With appropriate maintenance, polyester sewing machine threads may last a long time. No color fading means that this thread may be used to stitch anything from garments and blankets to anything else made of fabric that could otherwise fade too rapidly.

This material is often selected over cotton because it is more durable than cotton, doesn’t degrade over time as cotton does, shrinks less than cotton, and doesn’t rot when exposed to moisture.

Cotton threads

Cotton threads have a lower tensile strength than polyester, making them more likely to break if pulled too hard. However, this also implies that there will be no puckering of seams after sewing, which is a plus in garment production since puckered seams are unattractive.

If you want to avoid stitching through numerous layers of cotton threads and use other natural colors, cotton is a better choice than polyester since it is more absorbent and dyeable.

Using cotton thread for clothes like underwear or children’s clothing is less likely to irritate the skin since it has a gentler touch.

With its cheap cost and many applications in the home, cotton sewing machine thread is one of the most widely used kinds of thread available in the globe.

Cotton threads have several drawbacks, such as the necessity to lubricate sewing machines more often because cotton strands tend to stay together, and the difficulty in distinguishing low-quality thread from high-quality thread.

Embroidery thread

Sewing beautiful patterns or embroideries onto cloth is a common use for embroidery threads.

Cotton, rayon, and synthetic materials like polyester are common ingredients in embroidery threads. They are available in a variety of colors and sizes on spools for sewing tasks.

When it comes to sewing machine thread, embroidery thread is more flexible than other varieties since it can be used to produce anything from small embroidered details to large outlines for stitching motifs and patterns.

Thread for quilting

When making quilts or heavy curtains, you’ll want a thread made particularly for stitching thick layers of cloth, like those found in quilts and curtains.

For stitching down quilt seams, quilting threads come in a range of hues, including brilliantly colorful rainbow tones.

Other kinds of sewing machine threads could draw through thicker textiles, but they are composed of heavier materials, such as cotton or polyester mixes.

Thread for hand-quilted products, home décor linens, and more has been carefully treated with waxes to give it a little stiffer feel than standard sewing machine thread, but it still maintains the same level of durability.

A rayon thread

Rayon threads are a natural material manufactured from either cellulose from tree pulp or bamboo.

Depending on how they’re treated with chemicals throughout the production process, rayon threads may be both softer and stronger than sewing machine thread.

Using rayon sewing machine thread is ideal for stitching delicate materials such as silk since it doesn’t produce any undesirable puckering.

When used in projects like baby garments, where it will be washed often, rayon sewing thread has the potential to pill if not treated correctly. When using powerful detergents, the color may be dyed into the cloth.

Stitching thread for the top

For sewing ornamental topstitching, such as on jeans, a topstitching thread is a bobbin-wound sewing machine thread that is utilized.

In order to complement any fabric or project, top sewing thread is available in a wide range of hues.

To complement any fabric or project, this kind of sewing thread has become the most extensively used in sewing today due to its versatility, low cost, and large variety of colors.

It is simpler to pass through this kind of sewing machine thread than standard high-tension cotton sewing machine threads, but the tensile strength is lowered as a result of the reduced tension.

Top stitch sewing machine thread will show up unevenly and won’t lay flat on the completed garment if you use a heavy gauge.

Sewing machine needles must be thinner, and sewing machines must have a medium-high tension setting, according to reviewers who have trouble working with these types of threads.

Nylon thread 

Often used for stitching silk and wool, nylon threads are sewing machine threads that are strong and durable.

Because nylon is less prone to tear when sewn with a sharp needle, stitching these textiles is made simpler with the use of nylon thread.

Because nylon sewing machine thread requires higher tension than cotton sewing machine thread, stitches made with nylon sewing machine thread do not relax as quickly as stitches made with cotton sewing machine thread.

However, because of the greater danger of fracturing your needles or tearing out part of the stitching on fragile fabrics as a result of too much pressure from the presser foot, you should use caution while using this method.

A stronger needle is also required for nylon sewing machine thread compared to standard cotton sewing thread because nylon sewing machine thread can be difficult to pierce through many different types of fabrics without splitting them in half if they are not threaded properly into dense materials such as leather or vinyl.

A large number of sewers do not advocate nylon threads for sewing machine applications because of these issues.

Silk thread

Silk is used for sewing lightweight, sheer textiles since it is thin and durable, making it ideal for this kind of cloth.

When it comes to sewing delicate or sensitive materials (such as silk fabric and wool), silk sewing threads are exceptionally soft to the touch, making them ideal for stitching without causing any harm to the material by rubbing against a coarse needle thread, such as polyester.

It also doesn’t tear as quickly, which means you’ll have less of a problem with having to clip off extra thread that can get in your way while you’re stitching.

There is just one disadvantage to using silk sewing machine needles: they are more costly than ordinary sewing machine needles. Although they are more expensive, they last considerably longer since their sharpness is not lost by repeated usage — so if you sew on a regular basis, this sort of purchase may really be worthwhile.

Many individuals also feel that silk sewing machine threads produce superior embroidery projects, so if you sew for a living or do a lot of ornamental stitching, you may want to consider investing in this kind of sewing machine thread.

Thread for denim or jean

Jean threads are very popular in the production of jeans and other denim goods. Their “waxey shine” distinguishes them from other fabrics, which are often composed of cotton or rayon.

The most common color of sewing thread is white, however other colors such as red are also available. The excellent alternative if you want to add a touch of your own personality to your crafts without going overboard with sequins or other embellishments.

These sewing threads are available in a variety of weights, including 50wt (medium weight), which is great for embroidery. Jeans thread may also be used for ornamental and decorative stitching, as seen in the video below.

The thread is made out of recycled material

It is exactly what it says on the tin: recycled thread is created from recycled materials such as plastic and is intended to be used as an environmentally friendly alternative to the more prevalent sewing machine thread kinds. It is available in a variety of colors and sewing thread sizes, including as 50wt (medium weight).

Recycling threads for sports wear and high-performance clothes may be found online, and they are particularly designed for these applications. There are many more versions that are created for goods that are not garment related.

Aside from that, recycled thread is an excellent choice for jobs that need stitching in difficult-to-reach or tough environments.

Because of its flexibility and durability, recycled sewing thread has a low breakage rate, which means that the threads will not readily fray or snap when being dragged through your sewing machine.

It also has an improved resistance to abrasion, making it more robust than conventional sewing thread when used for tasks such as sailmaking, tent production, and upholstery work, among others.

In addition, because of its greater tensile strength, recycled sewing thread can be knotted firmly without breaking, and it requires less effort to stitch in tight regions when compared to other kinds of sewing machine threads – this makes stitching in tight areas quicker and easier.

As you can see, there are several advantages to utilizing recycled threads; however, there are also some disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages of recycled thread include the fact that it cannot be used on sewing machines that utilize a backstitch and that the colors available are restricted.

Recycled threads are also less expensive than ordinary sewing thread, which is one of the reasons why so many people choose to use them instead of conventional sewing thread. Recycled sewing threads may be purchased at craft shops or via internet retailers.

Metallic thread

That should be evident that metallic threads include metals, yet it isn’t always the case. It is constructed from a metal filament.

It is usual practice to utilize metallic threads to embellish your creations with fashionable and customized motifs and features.

Some of the advantages of using metallic threads include that they are fast to sew with, that machine stitching with them on thicker fabrics does not cause the fabric to stretch, and that they are resistant to abrasion. When you use metallic threads, this typically leads in the creation of gorgeous stitches in your embroidery.

One disadvantage is that the thread will not pass through a needle as readily as it would otherwise due to the presence of metal in it. If you use this sort of thread, your sewing machine may also get stuck more often than it would if you used regular sewing thread. It’s also quite fragile and may be easily damaged while traveling at high speeds.

When sewing with metallic threads, be sure that you have complete control over the pace of the sewing machine. It is possible that you may need to lessen your tension many times using a metallic thread before you get the desired tension for your project.

Elastic threads

Elastic Thread is a term used to describe a thread that is both flexible and strong.

A sewing thread composed of synthetic rubber that expands when tugged is referred to as elastic sewing thread. Compared to other varieties of sewing machine thread, it is thicker in texture.

However, depending on the sewing machine you want to use for your project, it may be obtained in a range of thicknesses to suit your needs.

Make certain that the needles you choose for this sort of sewing thread will allow for elongation while you are sewing with them if you plan on using this type of thread.

If you’re stitching stretchy textiles, you’ll most likely need elastic thread. This is ideal if you make a lot of jerseys, sweatshirts, and leggings on a regular basis.

As previously stated, elastic threads are not suitable for embroidery or quilting since they have no colorfastness at all.

For short repairing operations like hemming jeans that have been torn at the knee while gardening, this kind of sewing machine thread is ideal.

If you’re sewing anything that requires a lot of movement in the finished product, this would be an excellent choice.

Various kinds of needles are used in different sewing machines, therefore before purchasing this sort of sewing thread, double-check that your needle will allow for elongation.

Invisible thread

When it comes to concealing seams in your product or project, invisible thread is a thin monofilament thread that is suitable for the job. This draws attention to the fabric, product, or craftsmanship of your work, which is what you want it to do.

To be sure, you should be aware that many sewers claim that using an invisible thread is more difficult than using regular thread while sewing a garment together.

Because of this, this kind of sewing machine thread should only be used on lightweight materials and tasks that do not demand a lot of movement during the stitching process in order to prevent any inconvenience.

In order to prevent snagging your project or ruining it, you must sew carefully while using this kind of sewing machine in order to avoid fraying the invisible threads and hurting your item.

Because they are comprised of nylon, invisible threads are very thin while yet being robust enough to be used for sewing.

In addition to white, there are colors available such as blue, yellow, gray, and black depending on the color scheme you have in your dressmaking workroom. If you want something more adaptable than white, there are colors available such as blue, yellow, gray, and black.

Overlock thread

Serger thread, or overlock thread, is another name for it. It’s superior to conventional sewing machine thread in terms of fineness and quality. Use this kind of sewing machine thread if you’re stitching a cloth with a significant degree of stretch or tension.

In order to get the greatest outcome possible, you’ll need to utilize an overlock sewing machine. A serger sewing machine does not build up lint from overlock threads.

Regular sewing machines should not be used to sew with overlock threads. If you use overlock or serger threads, you risk damaging or jamming your sewing machine since they have a coarser texture than conventional threads.

Thread with glitter

This kind of sewing machine thread is made from nylon and incorporates tiny flecks of glitter in a variety of hues. Textured sewing machine thread adds visual flair to sewing tasks by making them more visually appealing.

Use glitter threads for sewing, embroidery, or quilting.

Glitter sewing machine threads are a unique sewing supply. Inexperienced sewers should avoid using them because of the extra care needed while threading a sewing machine bobbin with them.

To obtain the finest effects while working with glitter threads, you may need to alter your stitching tension and slow down your stitching pace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is the best sewing machine thread?

Sewing projects of any kind may benefit from the use of polyester thread because of its strength and durability. The washing process has no effect on the size or color of polyester thread. Additionally, polyester thread does not generate a significant amount of lint, which assists in maintaining a clean machine. The majority of “all purpose” thread sold in fabric and craft shops is made of polyester in its whole.

Is special thread required for sewing machines?

To answer your question, you will need to make sure that the thread you choose is designed for sewing machines and not hand stitching thread or embroidery thread. And there is a dizzying array of options. An all-purpose thread is the kind of thread that I use the most. Your neighborhood craft shop will most likely provide a wide variety of supplies from which you may pick.

Which is stronger: threads that have been rolled or cut?

The tensile strength of cold-worked threads is at least 30% higher than that of cut threads, which results in an increase in the thread’s overall strength. The addition of rolled threads boosts the fatigue strength by between 50 and 75 percent.

What kind of thread do tailors work with?

Silk thread is very fine, making it an ideal choice for use with other natural fibers such as silk or wool. It is great for tailoring since it is exceedingly durable, resistant to high temperatures, and flexible. Because it does not create holes in the cloth, silk thread is an excellent choice for use when basting or tacking. A high sheen may be achieved using rayon thread, which is also manufactured.

Which, using a lighter or darker thread, is the preferable option?

If you have the option of choosing between two different threads that are extremely near to the color of the cloth, you should always go with the darker thread. A thread with a brighter color will be easier to see, but a thread with a darker color will have a greater tendency to disappear into the seam. When working with patterned materials, the best course of action is to choose the color of the backdrop.

Is there a difference between machine and hand sewing thread?

There are several distinctions between hand sewing and machine sewing, despite the fact that the fundamentals of the two are same (both include the use of a needle and thread). To begin, while using a sewing machine, two distinct threads are required: a top thread that comes from a spool and a bottom thread that comes from the bobbin.

Which kind of thread is superior, nylon or polyester?

Because of its superior stretch and recovery properties, nylon is the material of choice for upholstery material and thread. It is also the material of choice for materials that are subjected to heavy traffic, such as carpets and other artificial surfaces. Polyester has superior properties in terms of elasticity and abrasion resistance.

Why is it preferable to use rolled threads?

Thread rolling offers a number of benefits, including durability, precision, cost-effectiveness, and a beautiful surface polish. Rolling threads, as opposed to cutting or grinding them, results in better production rates, reduced material costs, and no chips or loss of metal. Rolling may also be done without losing any metal.

What are some of the drawbacks associated with rolling thread?

Rolled threads have the following disadvantages:

·       Rollers and tooling come with a hefty initial price tag. Each kind of thread needs its own unique set of dies.
·       Not appropriate for use with materials that have a poor ductility.
·       Due to the large pressures that are necessary, this method is not ideal for goods that include cavities like pipes, for example.
·       There are size restrictions on the thread.

What is low-quality thread?

The use of low-quality thread, which produces a lot of lint and breaks quickly, may take away some of the fun from any sewing endeavor. Each kind of thread has its own unique set of features and responds differently when used in sewing machines. The natural fibers cotton, wool, silk, and linen are used to make certain threads, while synthetic fibers are used to make others (rayon, polyester, nylon).


We really hope that this article has clarified the subject of sewing machine thread variances for you. Your arsenal of threads is diverse, but mastering the materials you’ll need for a certain project is where your real creativity lies. This involves understanding what kind of thread to use. To avoid ruining your project or damaging your system, avoid using the incorrect thread.

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Aithley Balder

Hello there, my name is Aithley Balder from Texas. I am a cookware, sewing, toilet, technology enthusiast and I have been sharing my passion with my friends and likeminded folks for close to 4 years now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page.