The thing about Thread…

ThreadsWhen you begin a sewing project, you most likely give much thought to the pattern that you will be using, whether it is for a garment, a quilt, or a craft. Then you search until you find the perfect fabric, analyzing colors, touching the fabric, checking the drape, making sure texture and quality are right – all the criteria needed to make your project perfect. You calculate exactly how much fabric you will need. The final step is selecting the thread. Do you take into consideration the brand, the fiber, the weight, the ply, the tex, or do you merely pick a string based on the color that will hold your pieces of fabric together? If you are going to further embellish your garment or quilt, do you use the same thread, or do you use something silky or shiny? How do you make these determinations?

A dictionary definition:

Thread is a long thin strand of cotton, nylon, or other fibers used in sewing or weaving. May be made of two or more filaments twisted together.

According to the definition it sounds like all threads are the same except for the fiber content. If that is the case, then, maybe you can use the same thread for the entire project, including embellishment. However, you probably should not. There are so many thread choices available that a wise sewer makes a decision to learn about thread to gain knowledge of the terminology used so that educated choices can be made in the selection of the best threads to use. Unfortunately, this is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

A good place to start learning about threads is by reading and understanding the labels on the ends of each spool. One end will state the fiber content of the thread (cotton, polyester, nylon, rayon, or silk.) Different fibers work best for different fabrics; which is best for your project? Other words on the label may be: long-staple, extra-long-staple, mercerized, or double gassed. These terms all refer to cotton threads. There are usually several numbers on the thread label. It may read 40/3. The #40 is the weight of the thread or how fat or skinny the filament is. The three signifies how many strands are twisted together to get the actual diameter of the strand. These important numbers, but are they necessary to know for the project that you are working on? Probably, yes, they are. Some spools are labeled with a tex number. This is more information, but what is tex? The nickname of a sewer from Texas?

Learning about threads is much like reading a mystery novel, complex but ever so compelling. Once you solve these mysteries of the different threads and you unravel the truths, your sewing experiences will be enhanced. You will be able to make wise choices, and your projects will have a much more polished and professional look. Your sewing machine will be happier, and sew will you.

ThreadJoyce is offering a Thread Tasting Seminar, which is designed as a Thread Bar, where you can “taste” many different kinds of threads. You will learn all about this essential sewing element.