On Fri, 2 Jan 2004 13:53:13 -1000, "asdf"
Properly, you should use cotton thread with plant-
fiber fabrics, silk thread with animal fibers, and nylon
thread with synthetics.
In practice, polyester thread is apt to be all you
can find. A good brand of polyester thread will do whenever
you haven't a reason to use something else, but under no
circumstances use polyester wrapped with cotton -- blended
threads are strictly for high-speed, hot-needle factory
A seller of silk thread suggests buying extra-fine
white silk thread and using it for everything. This sounds
like a good idea until you ask yourself what happens when
cotton sewn with silk is bleached or cleaned with a strong
alkali. Likewise, if you use vinegar to clean your wool,
cotton thread might not hold up very well. (Animal fibers
love acids and are destroyed by alkalis, and plant fibers
are preserved by alkalis and destroyed by acids.)
Chopping filaments into staple before spinning them
into thread weakens them considerably. If at all possible,
buy filament synthetics and reeled silk. (For strictly-
ornamental stitches, you may prefer the slightly-matte
appearance of spun silk to the sheen of reeled silk.)
Six-ply cotton thread, once the standard, has become
very hard to find. Thanks to the popularity of patchwork
and quilting, three-ply cotton threads in size 50/3 and size
40/3 are being made, and some of them are of good quality.
When white or ecru will do, I use DMC Cordonnette
100/6 crochet cotton for all-round sewing and #80/6 for
DMC Medici, a worsted-wool embroidery thread, is
fine enough to hand-sew seams; it is useful when mending
wool because it doesn't tear the worn fabric.
Nylon thread is the strongest and stretchiest, but
it's hard to come by. Floss nylon, which flattens against
the fabric instead of holding its shape, makes seams that
are less likely to tear along the stitching than nylon
twisted into a hard cord. You can also get "woolly nylon"
intended specifically for sergers. Don't use wooly nylon in
Dental floss is useful when an excessively-strong
hand-sewing thread is wanted -- if you can find *floss*;
dental tape is often labeled "floss" because floss is what
people are used to buying. When dental floss is too thick,
it is easy to split it.
Rayon thread is for machine embroidery, and may not
be suitable for seams. Sew rayon fabric with cotton or
Joy Beeson! What are you! A biochemist?
Something new to think about when buying thread & cloth. I've never heard
of staying away from cotton wrapped nylon, which is about all I see for
thread, or maybe it's poly wrapped with cotton that I'ved used. Thanks for
Do you consider matching the thread to the fabric exactly?
That is, nylon with nylon and polyester with polyester?
The reason I ask is that polyester and nylon have different
properties when it comes to heat shrinkage. dyeing, water
absorption and shrinkage/stretch when wet and so on. Not
important most of the time, but...
If I have a thread of the same fiber as my fabric, I use it.
Unless something else is more important -- I might well sew
yellow nylon with polyester despite having two spools of
nylon sewing thread -- one lavender, one pastel green. (And
each is just big enough to fill a bobbin, so I'd have to use
them *together* . . . ) And my only linen thread is
slubby, coarse, and weak -- it's *possible* to make good
sewing thread out of linen, but I suspect that WWII was the
last time anybody *did*. (The only decent linen thread I
ever saw was a bobbin of olive-drab button-and-carpet thread
meant for a soldier's sewing kit, which I purchased in the
sixties, and carried in my first- aid kit for many years.)
I get a lot of milage out of buying threads meant for
embroidery and lace making, and I when I hand-sew silk, I
usually use threads drawn from the fabric itself. (A heavy
coat of beeswax helps a lot.)
After moving, I found that the only sewing store here has a
wide assortment of three-cord cotton, which the multiple
stores in my previous area didn't. On the other hand, they
don't even know what silk thread is -- but three colors of
*spun* silk isn't much of a loss, and someday Real Soon Now
I'm going to mail-order four spools of Tire thread. (I
calculate that an entire 200-yd spool will fit on my 40-yd
bobbin, so I need two spools of each color.)