What You Need to Know About Using Sewing Thread


Have you ever browsed the thread selection at your local fabric store, and been at a loss as to which kind was right for your project? Well never fear! In this article, I’m going to break down different types of thread and when their use is appropriate. Using sewing thread doesn’t have to be intimidating.

The types of thread we’re going to talk about are:

1. Cotton

2. Heavy-duty

3. Metallic

4. Polyester

5. Silk

6. Wool

Set of tools for sewing: thread scissors measuring tape needle thimble



Cotton thread is a good choice for basic sewing. However, these threads can break easily, as they have very little to no “give.” While it is not a good choice for stretch fabrics, it is ideal for delicate and sheer fabrics, such as would be used to make lingerie. For lightweight to medium fabrics that would do well with a cotton thread (such as rayon), choose a medium thickness thread.


Heavy-duty thread is what you would grab if you planned on sewing upholstery, or as the thread itself would suggest, heavy duty fabrics. Heavy-duty threads can be cotton, polyester, or cotton-wrapped polyester. This is not a thread you would typically reach for when sewing a garment.


Metallic threads are used for embroidery, and embellishment on items such as handbags. These threads come in gold, silver, and copper varieties.


Polyester threads are strong and suitable for a variety of projects. They don’t break easily, which makes them a good choice for stretch fabrics. You can find all-purpose polyester thread, as well as invisible thread, which is ideal for seams you need to be strongly held in place while staying hidden.


Silk thread is fine, flexible, and won’t leave holes. This is a thread that is excellent for tailoring, and is often used for embroidery work. Uses are ideal for sewing silk and basting.


Wool thread tends to be used for embroidery work, but since it is a very strong thread, it works well for heavy duty fabrics as well. Use on wool or canvas.



1. Match the size and weight of your thread to the fabric you will be working with.

2. The color thread you choose is entirely up to you! However, if you choose to use a contrasting thread that will really pop, be very careful to create beautiful seams!

3. Be wary of cheap thread. When in doubt, buy the best that you can afford.


Happy sewing everyone!




Updated: June 17, 2017 — 7:33 pm
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