Today on Beginner Sewing Projects, we are going to answer the question What Kind Of Thread Should I Use In My Sewing Machine? I get this question quite often and it was indeed one I had as well when I first started out on my sewing journey. In the very beginning, all the different choices and options for fabrics, thread, and everything else was part of the allure that brought me to sewing. However, I was quickly overwhelmed with all the choices. That was many years ago and I want to share what I’ve learned over that time to help you pick the best thread for your sewing machine and for the project that you are working on. This information will help you for years to come and you can share this with your other friends who are just starting out. It’s true, there are different threads that are better for different projects depending on your end goal. We walk you through the basics of how to spot the differences and what you can expect from different kinds of threads.
So, pull up a chair at your sewing space and break out your sewing supplies as we dive into more beginner sewing tips and tricks.
Now that you have your new sewing machine, are you wondering what thread to buy? Are you asking yourself questions like “What is the best thread to use for your sewing machine?” Or, “Do you need special thread for your sewing machine?” Maybe, “Is it better to sew with cotton or polyester thread?” I’ll answer these questions and more with this guide to buying the right thread for your sewing machine. If you are new to sewing, chances are you are still figuring out what all you need and want in your sewing kit. Some basics I recommend are:
- A good pair of scissors (not the kind you keep in the utility drawer – you want sharp, GOOD scissors – so a designated “fabric only” pair)
- Extra thread (I keep 4-5 spools of white and black always)
- Fabric tape measure (for measuring heads, arms, devices, anything – the most versatile tape measure ever)
- Needle Minder (either a magnet or a pin cushion, a piece of tape, something to keep your needle from rolling off mid-project)
- Sewing Pins or Clips (maybe it’s obvious, maybe it’s not, but you need a lot of pins sometimes and sometimes you don’t – just better to have them around)
- Washable Marker or Pencil (like having a magic disappearing ink trick, these are perfect for tracing your patterns and come in handy for notes to yourself for when you’re sewing)
- Washi Tape
If you would like to know more about building a sewing kit for beginners, I have a great resource here I wish I’d had when I was learning to sew. There’s a little bit of everything, but more than just being a list of tools, it will explain why each item is helpful to have and you can decide if you really feel like you’ll need it or not.
Now that the basics are all out of the way, let’s break down the big question:
What Kind Of Thread Should I Use In My Sewing Machine?
Now that you have your new sewing machine, are you wondering what thread to buy? Are you asking yourself questions like “What is the best thread to use for your sewing machine?” Or, “Do you need special thread for your sewing machine?” Maybe, “Is it better to sew with cotton or polyester thread?” I’ll answer these questions and more with this guide to buying the right thread for your sewing machine.
What are the different kinds of sewing thread?
Thread is made out of fibers. There are natural fibers and synthetic fibers. Examples of natural fibers are cotton, wool, silk, and linen. Examples of synthetic fibers are polyester, rayon, and nylon. Sometimes natural and synthetic are joined together like a cotton polyester blend. They also create different kinds of weight. (More on this below). Some examples of the different types of thread are elastic (used for gathering), heavy-duty, all-purpose, polyester, clear, embroidery floss, metallic thread, serger thread, quilting thread, upholstery, variegated, and more.
What are the different weights of thread and what should I look for?
Honestly, I’ve never looked at weight when deciding on which thread to buy for my project. I went to my sewing room to see what different weights I could find, and out of all of my threads, I only found a weight listed on two of them. So I don’t even know what weighted thread I have. It might be important to know what you need for special projects, but for the most part, I don’t think it’s a factor you need to worry about when learning to sew.
I did do some research so I could learn about the different weights and here is what I found. When looking for thread weight on a spool of thread, sometimes it looks like “No 40” or “50/3”. The first thing you need to know is, the higher the thread weight number, the thinner the thread. And if the weight number looks like a fraction like “50/3” it means it has a weight of 50 and is three-ply. 50 wt is a common thread weight.
40 weight thread is usually used for embroidery projects. Even if you don’t have an embroidery machine, you can use these for decorative stitches and applique techniques.
Serger thread is generally a 40 weight polyester thread. Serger thread has a special coating that allows it to withstand high speeds. And again, I use this in my sewing machine also, and it performs nicely.
Do you need special thread for your sewing machine?
Yes, you need to use thread that is made for sewing machines, not hand stitching thread, or embroidery thread. And there are so many choices. The thread I use the most is an all-purpose thread. Your local crafting store will have a good selection to choose from. I like Gutermann because it is of good quality and has great color choices. This is a great quality thread that will work great on most projects. This is pretty much the thread I used exclusively before I started sewing clothes with my serger and cover stitch. When I started sewing clothing, I started using cones of polyester thread. Cones are used on sergers and cover stitches because they use so much thread. A polyester thread is a good all-purpose thread, so I use this on all my machines now. If you are sewing with lightweight or heavy-weight fabrics, you don’t want to use all-purpose thread. You want to use a thread that matches your project when sewing lightweight or heavy-weight projects.
How much thread should I buy?
Spools of thread come in different sizes. You can look on the thread spool to find how many yards are in a spool. This will help you buy the correct amount for your project. Generally, one spool will last a long time. If you are sewing large quilts, you’ll probably go through a lot of thread.
That concludes our look at what kind of thread you should use in your sewing machine. Be sure to check out the other sewing articles on our site. We also cover basics like How to Start a Stitch on a Sewing Machine, guides for buying fabric online, defining lengths of fabric, squaring up fabric, and more!
If you liked learning about what kind of thread your should use in your sewing machine, make sure to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board or share it with friends on social media. if you decide to make this simple project on your own, make certain that you take a picture afterward and tag us on social media as we love seeing the fabrics and color choices that people use!