Thread 101_ How To Choose The Right Thread For Sewing

The most seasoned sewist will tell you that correctly choosing thread is a contributor to the success of your sewing project and can be a challenge for a beginner. Not all threads are created equal; there are higher quality threads that can make all the difference. Learn about different types of thread here.

How to Choose Thread Colour

The rule of thumb is that you should choose the closest match to the fabric you are sewing with or one shade lighter. Your thread should correspond with the size, weight, and properties of the fabric on which you are sewing.

Unravel the thread off the spool and place it across your fabric in natural light. The thread should disappear into the fabric. But what if your fabric is patterned or multicoloured? In that case, you would choose the dominant colour.

Sometimes, you may prefer a contrast thread for edge stitching and topstitching. Use the colour wheel to choose the perfect contrasting colour.

Common Types of Thread

It is always a good idea to keep a supply of at least black and white cotton and polyester thread in your sewing supplies. Over time, you will build up a collection of other colours as you buy them for specific projects. 

Cotton thread has little stretch and a matte appearance.  Use medium thickness cotton thread when working with lightweight to medium-weight cotton, linen, and rayon. It is generally used for heirloom and decorative sewing. You can also get a cotton-wrapped polyester thread which is stronger for all-purpose sewing.

Polyester thread is the all-purpose thread. It is strong, colourfast, has some stretch and is heat and mildew resistant. It is available in every colour you can imagine. Polyester thread often has a wax or silicone finish allowing it to slip through fabric easily.

Silk thread is fine and ideal for sewing natural fibres like silk or wool. It is the perfect thread for tailoring because of its strength and ability to withstand high temperatures.

When choosing thread for a project, don’t be shy to ask for assistance and advice from your friendly Empisal team. You will be glad you did. Happy sewing!