Different Thread Applications
- Embroidery Thread
- Quilting Thread
- Sewing Thread
- Serger Thread
Different Thread Applications
Some threads are created for a specific purpose, such as Polyarn, our fluffy serger thread made specifically for the loopers, while other threads can be used in many different applications. So Fine! #50 and Kimono Silk are popular threads that are used for sewing, applique, bobbin thread, binding, and quilting. With so many options of thread fibers, thicknesses, and applications, it can be overwhelming to find the thread for a specific project.
We've created a helpful Thread Selection Guide to help you choose the best thread for your desired application. Below is a summary of different thread fibers, thicknesses (thread weight), and specific sewing applications.
Quilting with Magnifico on a Longarm Machine
Sewing with Sergin' General on a Serger
The two most popular fibers for quilting threads are cotton and polyester. While these two fibers are the most commonly used for quilting, silk and metallic threads can add dimension and life to quilts as well. There is a wide range of quality with quilting threads, with the amount of lint and tensile strength being the two most important metrics of a quality thread. If a thread is strong, your quilting experience will be better because you can spend more time quilting and less time rethreading the broken top thread or wrestling with with skipped stitches. If a thread has a lot of lint, it will build up in your machine and can cause extra tension to be added to your thread as it passes through the machine's thread delivery system.
Our King Tut and So Fine! #50 thread lines are popular quilting thread. King Tut is an Egyptian-grown extra-long staple cotton thread (what a mouthful). It's strong, has very low lint, and a beautiful matte finish. As a 40 wt. thread, the stitches are visible when quilted. So Fine! #50 is a multifilament polyester thread. It is extremely smooth and as a 50 wt. thread, So Fine! #50 blends into the fabric putting the focus on the design of the quilt more so than the stitching.
Most embroiders prefer a high-sheen thread to give embroidered designs a nice pop and capture attention. Embroidery threads usually have a looser twist compared to quilting thread because a looser twist allows for the thread to have a higher sheen. Most embroidery threads have a 2-ply construction (1 ply + 1 ply twisted together = 2 plies) which creates a smaller diameter thread for dense stitching while retaining a higher sheen.
Rayon used to be the go-to thread for embroiderers. Its high sheen and low cost made it an acceptable thread. Unfortunately, Rayon isn't universally colorfast and can fade with exposure to UV rays or when washed with strong detergents and bleach. Over the course of the past decade or so, trilobal polyester threads have become exceedingly popular for embroidery. Threads like Magnifico and Twist are made from trilobal polyester fibers, which have the same high-sheen appearance as rayon but the strength and colorfastness of polyester.
General sewing threads tend to be flexible with muted color tones. Whether you are sewing clothing, pillows, quilts or crafts, a good sewing thread shouldn't stand out and should be strong enough to endure high-speed stitching. Both cotton and polyester fibers are popular for sewing applications. For home machine sewing, we recommend a 50 wt. thread, because it isn't too fine or too thick. A high-quality sewing thread should have a tight twist (for increased strength) and low lint, which helps keep your machine cleaner, compared to linty threads, and doesn't add bulk at the seams.
Because sergers and overlock machines simultaneously use multiple cones of thread per single application, thread costs are especially considered. Unfortunately, there are many cheap serger threads on the market which produce a lot of fuzz, break often due to low tensile strength and don't perform well when trying to change tension or stitch type. Spun polyester threads are the most common type of fiber used for serger threads. Spun polyester is a cheap fiber to produce and can displace a lot of lint. If you've visited a chain store and see serger thread in a bargain bin for $1.99 per cone, it's a cheap, low-quality spun polyester thread. There is a place for spun polyester serger threads. If you are sewing craft projects or apparel that doesn't need to be exact or have smooth seams throughout, spun polyester is adequate.
When quality is important, using a corespun (poly-wrapped poly core) thread for serging is an excellent choice. Sergin' General is our corespun polyester serging thread. The unique combination of a filament polyester core wrapped in spun poly makes this fiber strong, retain excellent flexibility, and reduces puckering that can occur at high-speed stitching.
Most applique techniques are intended to hide the thread and therefore use a fine, blending thread. The use of a fine (or thin) thread helps make the layering of fabric appear more natural and less abstract. Kimono Silk is a favorite thread for hand or machine applique. Silk is very strong and Kimono Silk is a 100 wt. thread, making it nearly invisible for applique. Another popular thread for invisible applique is MonoPoly. MonoPoly is a monofilament polyester thread available in matte finish (clear) and smoke (dark) colors. It's the finest thread we manufacture and can be used as a top thread or bobbin thread.
If a visible, decorative applique thread is wanted. A variegated quilting thread, such as Fantastico is a beautiful choice.
There is no rule that states you must use the same thread in the bobbin as you do on top. It is perfectly fine to use a different thread in the bobbin than what is used on top. It is also perfectly fine to use a thinner thread in the bobbin than what is used on top (different weights, such as a 40 wt. on top and a 60 wt. in the bobbin). Most sewists and quilters prefer to use a finer bobbin thread because it blends well and more thread can be wound on a bobbin. The most common bobbin threads are 50 wt. or 60 wt. threads. Bottom Line is our most popular thread for the bobbin. It's lint free, smooth, and blends incredibly well with both the top thread and fabric.
Prewound bobbins have become the quilter's favorite tool due to the convenience they offer. Say goodbye to pausing during sewing or quilting to wind your own bobbins. Prewound bobbins are wound with more thread per bobbin than self-wound bobbins due to the hi-tech machinery used during the bobbin winding process. It's not uncommon to have upwards of 40% more thread content on a prewound bobbin than a self-wound bobbin.