Diversity is what gives the world we live in interest and variety. The same can be said for the world of sewing thread types. There is a diverse selection of thread to suit every project and every seamstress.
Sewing Thread Types
Sewing threads can be divided into societal groups – some belonging to a country fair, some to the workforce, some to fashion and the rag trade, some to the artsy side of sewing and some to the world of glitz and glamour.
How many different types of sewing thread are available? Lots! These are just some of the sewing thread types to choose from.
- Cotton thread and those with natural fibers
- Elastic thread such as shirring elastic
- Polyester thread which is sometimes called “all purpose”
- Embroidery thread for decorative purposes
- Upholstery thread for heavy-duty uses
- Metallic thread for decorative sewing
- Denim thread for jeans and denim items
- Nylon and rayon thread including invisible thread
- Silk thread for delicate work on silk
Brands of Sewing Thread
Quality thread brands will have added strength and a more consistent and smooth surface to prevent threads breaking and skipped and uneven stitches.
Whatever type of sewing thread you choose look for quality thread brand names like Gutterman, Rasant, Coates and Clark, and Mettler.
Quality sewing thread will always make the difference, especially when dealing with tricky fabrics such as silk, wool and Lycra.
What do specialized sewing threads allow the seamstress to do?
The type of sewing you are doing will determine the kind of thread you need.
Are you using sewing thread for:
- Repairs, mending
- Embroidery or tapestry
- Or maybe you are even trying the art of tatting.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the thread required. Here are some of the most common sewing thread types.
Sewing Thread Types
- Cotton is an all-purpose thread useful for all kinds of projects.
- Embroidery thread can be stranded and divided into strands for embroidery. There are usually six strands to choose from. (Read embroidery basics)
- Cotton Perle cannot be divided but is still an embroidery thread along with “coton a broder” which is used for cut-work. There are different cotton weights to look for if your task is more specialized.
- Tatting Cotton is highly specialized and suited to fine linen.
- Quilting thread coated with a waxy finish allows ease of movement through quilting and batting.
- Polyester/Cotton is a multipurpose weight (50) and suitable for all types of fabric including stretch. This is the most commonly used thread for most of your sewing. Choose a good quality with a reinforced center.
- Heavy-duty thread for soft furnishing (40) is a mixture of cotton and polyester.
- Rayon thread gives a nice finish to embroidery and flat stitches.
- Nylon is a strong thread useful for light to medium weight fabric.
- Silk often reserved for embroidery is a strong thread for use with silk and wool. There is also silk floss, twisted silk, and stranded silk. (Read sewing silk)
- Wool threads are used for embroidery and blankets for heavy fabrics as well as canvas. There is also Persian wool, tapestry wool, and crewel. (Read sewing wool)
- Invisible thread is a bit like fishing line and used for – you guessed it – an invisible finish.
- Added to all of that is a metallic thread in gold, silver and copper.
- A variegated thread will add interest to any sewing project.
- Shirring thread is elasticized for sewing rows in the waist or chest area. (Read how to sew elastic thread)
Yes, the world of sewing thread types is diverse and every seamstress can be thankful that the diversity of thread is what makes the sewing world go round.