How to choose the right sewing thread?

How to choose the right sewing thread?

Today this article describe , How to choose the right sewing thread? In sewing, every detail counts. As with the selection of the fabric, the choice of sewing thread is important. There are plenty of different types of threads, depending on what you plan to use them for. In general, there are 5 criteria for choosing your sewing thread:

  • solidity,
  • the thickness,
  • the colour,
  • the fluidity,
  • elasticity

It’s a lot! But I will quickly reassure you: the polyester thread n ° 100  (100 being the thickness of thread) is suitable for the vast majority of uses. It is for this reason that it is also called “universal sewing thread”. For the majority of your sewing work, all you have to do is choose the color of the thread.

So, you are going to ask me why talk about other types of son when this one does the business 90% of cases? Well, precisely because you must not forget the remaining 10% of use… When you have spent 4 hours sewing your swimsuit and all the seams will crack on the first fitting, you will regret not having read this article until the end.

Choosing the right color of sewing thread

This is a subject that we had already addressed in the article on essential sewing equipment. But we will come back to this in a little more detail.

What color of thread should I use for the assembly seams (not visible)?

For all invisible seams, typically assembly seams, you can use:

  • white thread for very light fabrics (white, ecru, beige),
  • black thread for very dark fabrics (black, navy blue),
  • Gray thread for intermediate colors.
  • As the assembly seams are not visible, it is in fact not essential that the thread be the same color as the fabric. However, you must respect the color of the fabric: do not use white thread to sew black fabric.
  • If you’re a bit of a perfectionist, you can have 2 or 3 shades of gray(or 50 , with handcuffs and a whip to play around with Christian Gray , but that’s another subject…). What were we saying already? Ah yes: instead of a single spool of gray thread, you can have two or three to best match the tone of your fabric.

What color of thread to use for visible seams (topstitching, hems, buttonholes, etc.)?

For visible seams, you have 2 possibilities:

Matching yarn

The simplest and most classic option is to use sewing thread of the same color as the fabric. The little trick to know if you can’t find the exact color is to choose a slightly darker yarn . It will be less visible than a lighter thread.

If the fabric has more than one color, use the dominant color or the darker color (for the same reasons as before).

Contrasting thread

The contrasting yarn creates a stylish effect. You can opt for a metallic thread (gold or silver) for a chic touch, for a color opposite to that of the fabric or a color that matches certain patterns of the fabric.

Remember, you can’t make mistakes if you choose a contrasting thread. The seams are visible and must therefore be perfect!


The thickness of the sewing thread

The thickness or size of the thread (also called the thread count) is characterised by a number generally between 30 and 120. This number is called a metric number. The higher the number, the thinner the thread.

You must adapt the size of the thread according to your fabric: the thicker the fabric, the thicker and stronger the thread should be. Here is a small summary table that will help you choose the right thread count:



Fabric type

Metric number
Thin and light fabric (veil, tulle, organza)120
All medium weight fabrics (poplin, cotton, jersey, sweatshirt, …)100
Lightweight denim, fine wool, millenaries velvet60 to 80
Thick fabric (gabardine, upholstery, thick woolen, leather, oilcloth)40 to 60



The different types of sewing thread and their uses

We talked about the color and thickness of the thread. The other selection criteria (strength, fluidity, elasticity) depend on the nature of the yarn used. We will therefore review these different types of threads and their respective uses.

Polyester yarn

The Polyester yarn has a lot of qualities: very strong, slightly elastic, it does not shrink. Polyester yarn is also more resistant to abrasion, mildew, and sunlight than cotton.

Versatile, polyester yarn is suitable for most of your projects.

Cotton thread

Cotton sewing thread is ideal for fabrics that meet these 3 criteria:

  • fine fabric,
  • in natural fibers
  • a chain and a frame

Cotton thread should be avoided when sewing mesh or stretch fabric, because unlike polyester thread, it has no elasticity.

Polycotton yarn

While polyester yarn is very popular and widely used today, more and more clothing professionals are interested in polycotton yarn. A yarn that keeps the authentic look and feel of cotton, while retaining the strength and durability of polyester.

It is still rarely found in haberdashery, but its growing success suggests that we will see it more and more.

Silk thread

It is a very strong and slippery thread reserved for fine and delicate fabrics such as silk. It is used for example for making wedding dresses.

Cording yarn

Cording thread is a thick and very strong thread, perfect for top stitching, buttonholes or for sewing on buttons.

Rayon thread

The Rayon is another name for viscose, also known as artificial silk. Rayon thread is shiny, silky and very resistant, which makes it an ideal ally for machine embroidery.

The building wire

Building thread is a thick, flexible thread that breaks easily. As its name suggests, it is used for making temporary seams.

Foam thread

Foam yarn is an extensible yarn that has a lot of qualities and can be used for many purposes:

  • Elastic and very durable, it is ideal for sewing stretch fabrics, such as jersey, lycra, etc.
  • Very soft, it is perfect for all clothing worn next to the skin, such as lingerie, sportswear. But also for baby or children’s clothes with sensitive skin.
  • Voluminous and puffy, it makes pretty rolls or decorative stitching. To do this, simply thread it through the loppers of your serger by lowering their tension.

Yarn brands

The most famous brands of yarn are:

  • Mettler,
  • Gütermann,
  • Belfil,
  • Madeira,
  • DMC

All these brands offer quality threads.

How do you recognise a quality thread?

Good quality yarn is smooth and even. If the thread “plush”, it is because the quality is not there.

Beware of cheap wire boxes that you find in supermarkets or discount stores. Better to invest in the big brands that we mentioned previously, even if they are more expensive.

Remember that the quality of the thread is as important as that of the fabric. It would be a shame to sew a garment in a top-of-the-range fabric with a thread that frays in the first wash or cracks in the first stretch…

On the line

Well done if you’ve made it this far. It was a long and dense article but I hope you find it useful. Let us know your remarks and your questions in the comments; we will be happy to answer them! See you soon at the Louisettes.

You may also like??




Would you like to visit??