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Thornton Company Sewing Machines

Choose the Best Threads for your Project

The following article was featured in the "Tribune Review's" Sew Easy column, written by Janet G. Staats, Past President of the American Sewing Guild's Pittsburgh Chapter.

Using the right thread for your fabric can be the difference between a sloppy and a professionally finished garment. Get to know your threads by organizing them into categories. First separate the serger threads, since these are the biggest and easiest to locate.

Sorting of decorative, special-purpose and general-purpose threads will now be a breeze. Next, find containers in the appropriate sizes for storage of threads. Clear plastic containers and reseal able plastic bags are easy to see through and can be marked easily for type and colors. They also will keep the threads free from dust.

General Purpose Threads for Fashion Sewing

  • All-purpose - Light to heavyweight fabrics. It is notable for its strength and ability to stretch and recover.
  • Twist, Heady-duty - Can be used for decorative hand stitching or on conventional sewing machines. Use all-purpose thread in bobbin.
  • Spun - All purpose weight designed for sergers.
  • Spun, Jeans - Use for heavyweight fabrics or for decorative stitch on lightweight fabrics on serger.

  • No. 50 - Use for delicate silks and light to medium weight woven fabric or use in bobbin for decorative effects. The threads form soft stitches, which sink into a fabric's weave.
  • No. 40 - Use for medium to heavyweight woven fabrics.

  • Extra Fine - Sheer and lightweight fabrics can be sewn by hand or on conventional machines.
  • All-Purpose - Light to heavyweight fabrics can be sewn by hand or on conventional machines. It has a core of continuous polyester filament wrapped with cotton. The polyester fibers are strong and stretchy for long lasting stitches. The softer cotton fibers increase the thread's sew ability so the stitches work more easily into the fabric.
  • Topstitching, Heavy-duty - A heavier and stronger thread that can be used for decorative hand stitching or on conventional machines for heavyweight fabric. Use all-purpose thread in bobbin.
  • Overlock - Sizes from extra-fine and all-purpose weights designed for sergers.
  • Machine Twist, No. 50 - All-purpose weight used for conventional machines. It is a continuous filament that has a beautiful luster, and makes soft, resilient stitches for fashion sewing, especially for couture-quality and heirloom sewing.
  • Silk Stitch, Line Stitch, No. 30 - Used for topstitching, buttonholes, and for decorative effects.

Textured Nylon
  • Its soft, wooly texture makes strong stretchy, comfy seams and rolled edges. It is mainly used on sergers in the loopers. Ideal for swimwear, lingerie, leotards, and baby wear.
Decorative Threads for Special Effects Acrylic

The main use of these threads is machine embroidery.

  • No. 40 - The tight twist of viscose filament creates a lustrous sheen. Use to accent any sewing project with beautiful silk-like stitching.
  • No. 30 - A heavier thread which gives bolder topstitching.

  • A decorative thread which adds a reflective sparkle to top stitching, machine embroidery and sergers. Needs a Metafil needle and all purpose thread in the bobbin.

Silk, Buttonhole
  • This is perfect heavyweight thread for hand sewing.
Special Purpose Threads

Button & Carpet
  • Strong with heavy glazing for hand sewing.

Elastic Thread
  • May be used on bobbin for stretchy shirring.

Monofilament Nylon
  • Transparent for invisible stitches. Used on conventional machines in bobbins for decorative effects and machine quilting. May be used on sergers. It is strong and wiry.

Silk Fine
  • Lightest weight for hand sewing. Can be pressed and doesn't leave an imprint on fabric.

  • Used in bobbins for embroidery stitching. Special twist creates a bit of stretch as you sew. Can be used without constant tension adjustments.

Metallic Ribbon Floss
  • To add an elegant sparkle use in loopers on a serger, or in the bobbins on conventional machines.

Wash-A-Way Basting
  • Dissolves with moisture. Used for temporary placement of zippers, hems, gathers, pleats and pockets.

Stitch 'n Fuse
  • Stitched in and then fused. Eliminates pinning and basting. Use on conventional machines in bobbins to fuse-baste hems, appliqus, zippers and trims in place before stitching to prevent shifting.
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