best/economical thread to use?

Er - what are you sewing? What kind of machine are you using, and what are your preferred fabrics? The best thread to use varies depending on these.
:) Trish
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On Fri, 2 Jan 2004 13:53:13 -1000, "asdf" wrote:
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 sewing. 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 heavy duty.
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 sewing machines.
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 polyester thread.
Joy Beeson
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joy beeson
Wonderful detail, Joy. Thanks so much! Am printing this out for my notebook. another Sharon
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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 the education.
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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...
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Michael Daly
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.)
Joy Beeson
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joy beeson

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