Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gadgetmania - Vicki shares interesting facts about thread!

Dear readers! Today's Gadgetmania post is submitted by Vicki of VickiKateMakes - an accomplished sewer who makes beautiful clothes and accessories! In this post she shares some tips on thread.  While it doesn't cover any specific type of thread, it does reveal some facts that I, personally, didn't know about before. So, here we go:

Thread is a tightly twisted strand of two or more ply’s of yarn that are circular when cut in cross-section.  Yarn is produced when you twist together short fibers or continuous filaments.  The length of the fibers used, or the staple lengths, have an important effect on the quality, strength and performance of the thread produced. 

The importance of the twist

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Generally, the longer the staple or fiber, the better the quality of thread will be.  When two or more yarns are combined to make the thread a reverse twist is applied to add balance so that the thread can be controlled whilst sewing and so that the yarns don’t separate.  When a thread passes through a sewing machine some additional twist may be added as it passes through and around the guides and tension discs.  For this reason the direction in which the thread twists becomes important – a thread with a Z twist, or left twist, is engineered specifically for use with a sewing machine as the process tends to increase the twist, rather than loosening or undoing completely an S, or right twist.


General purpose or all purpose sewing thread is often polyester, such as Gütermann’s Sew-All thread (a three ply polyester thread) or a poly cotton blend which has a continuous polyester core that is covered in cotton.  These threads provide strength, flexibility and durability and are suitable for use in both the machine and in hand sewing and are available in the greatest array of colours. The material the thread is made from as well as the length of thread is printed on the spool.

Buying thread

When considering a sewing thread we look for good sew-ability, good seam performance and aesthetics.  These characteristics are often a result of its elongation (how far it will stretch before it breaks), uniformity, ply security and twist (the thread’s ability to stay together during the sewing process), it’s frictional characteristics, and strength.  Some often consider the amount of lint the thread may produce in their machine as well.

Thank you Vicki! It was a very interesting post!

And you readers, what types of thread are using? Any tips or sources for thread?


  1. Very interesting read, thank you Marina and Vicki! I have to say I am a fan of Gutermann sew all thread. Love it! I dislike Coats and my machine too. I have heard of other thread brands, but all I seem to find in UK in Gutermann and Coats.

  2. When I first started sewing, I just assumed that Cotton thread would be better, you know - synthetics are bad and all that. But when I bought a polyester thread by accident, I couldn't get over how much better it was - it didn't twist up when put through the machine's tensioner thingy and didn't knot as easily when I was hand sewing. That was a huge lightbulb moment for me! I haven't ever used anything but Gutermann yet, so it would probably be worthwhile trying others to get a good benchmark.

  3. I like Gutermann and dislike Coats, I have also used Mettler and I find the quality comparable to Gutermann. It isn't as easy to find as the other two, it seems that mostly quilt shops sell it, don't know why.

  4. I had no idea some of the thread I use here in India is Coats! I have a good relationship with all threads in general, so as quality is not a problem [that I perceive] I tend to easily let myself be seduced by the color factor:)) I shop for one shade and come back with 10 "just in case" and still there are so many shades out there that I'm sure I still don't have *sigh* Interesting facts!

  5. This is really good timing, as I've been told, by an owner of a cloth shop, that Rasant thread is the best. Has anyone used this thread as I'm willing to try it for myself.



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