Susan's Tips: Which Thread Should I Use? Part 1

Susan's Tips: Which Thread Should I Use? Part 1

One of the most frequent mistakes I make when sewing is just grabbing a spool of thread that (sorta) matches the fabric I'm working on. Sound familiar?

Choosing thread leaves me scratching my head! I mean... do the numbers on the end of the spool ( e.g., 30 wt? V-46? 630d?) leave you scratching YOUR head? Well, if so, join the club.

Since I'm always trying to brush up on and improve my sewing skills, choosing the right thread seems like a topic worth tackling, at last.

So, let's walk through what we need to know about choosing our thread!

First, the larger the thread weight number, the thinner the thread. If only this were true when I stepped on a scale!! Anyway...keep this in mind when selecting thread for your sewing and other projects.

Second, what is the size of the thread? Thread size is measured in thickness, but the method of measurement often differs from brand to brand.

The four most common ways to measure thread are:

Weight: Weight measurement, designated as "wt," uses a fixed weight system. The "weight" of the thread is actually a length measurement, determined by measuring the length of one gram of thread.

Denier: Denier measures weight in grams of a fixed length of 9000 meters of thread.

Tex: Tex is the most widely used method of thread measurement. It uses a fixed length of 1000 meters of thread to determine weight.

Commercial Sizes: These are used for heavy-duty sewing -- think, webbing or upholstery. They have set sizes of 30, 46, 69, 92, 138, 207, 277, 346, 415, and 554. These measurements are derived by dividing the thread's denier by 10.

When Choosing Your Thread...
Choose thread to match your fabric not only by color but also by weight. The heavier the thread, the more visible the stitch.

For sewing machines, V-69 is the heaviest recommended. The needle's eye should be 40% larger than the thickness of the tread you are using.

Next: What thread do YOU need for your project?

I'll answer that question in Part 2!