What Sewing Machine Thread Should I Use?

You’re planning your next project and sourcing your fabric and accessories, but do you have the correct sewing thread? To ensure your work goes smoothly and you achieve the finish you’re looking for, you’ll want to have all the correct elements – from the correct sewing needle to the correct thread. But how do you know what sewing machine thread to use? In this guide, we’ll take you through all the different types of sewing machine threads to use, so you can feel confident finding the best thread for your project.

What Do I Need To Consider When Choosing My Sewing Machine Thread?

There are so many different types of sewing thread to choose from, it can feel a little bit daunting – but rest assured our guide to sewing machine threads will help you find the correct thread for your project. Finding a thread to suit the weight and stretch of your fabric will really help your stitching to go well and improve the end results. Here are the main qualities to consider when choosing your sewing machine thread –

  • Colour:  Do you want your sewing machine thread to match your fabric? Perhaps you want a thread to make a statement seam and choose a contrasting colour or use a decorative thread? If you can’t find a thread colour to match your fabric, choose a tone that's similar but slightly darker than your material as lighter threads will stand out more.
  • Type of fabric and fabric weight: If you’re working with medium or heavy weight fabrics, you’ll want a stronger, thicker thread to match your fabric to ensure the stitching holds well. Specialist fabrics such as denim or sewing techniques like smocking, will require a specialist thread. Check your sewing pattern or project guidelines for the recommended type of thread.
  • Fabric stretch: Stretchy fabrics will need sewing threads with some stretch to avoid restraining the movement of the fabric. 
  • Style of stitching: There are specialist threads for different types of stitching, such as embroidery threads and topstitching threads.
what sewing machine thread should I use?

What Different Types Of Sewing Thread Are There?

There’s a huge array of sewing threads to suit all different types of projects, so we’re going to look at the most common and popular sewing threads to use.

What Is Cotton Thread?

100% cotton thread is ideal for stitching cotton & linen clothes, soft furnishings and quilts but, as it has little stretch, it isn’t suitable for stretchy fabrics. Like cotton fabric, cotton thread can shrink a little when washing. If used with a synthetic fabric, this could cause puckering – the thread could shrink whilst the fabric remains the same size. Cotton thread is usually more matt in appearance. Some cotton threads can have a wax coating, which allows the thread to stitch smoothly and adds a little lustre to its appearance.

What Is Polyester Sewing Thread?

Polyester sewing threads are very durable, strong and with a little stretch, making them suitable for all kinds of projects and fabrics. Polyester sewing threads often have a special finish to allow them to slip smoothly through the fabric and give them a silky appearance. Most all purpose sewing threads are made from 100% polyester. 

What Is Specialist Sewing Thread?

Specialist sewing threads are a collection of different threads designed for a specific type of project, such as decorative stitching, sewing denim or for embroidery. Threads made from different types of materials, like silk, or with a decorative appearance, such as our sulky metallic threads, are other types of specialist threads.

What Things Should I Look For When Buying Thread?

Read The End Of The Thread Spool

When purchasing your sewing thread, take a look at the end of the spool. This will give you some key information about the thread – very important if you need to buy more so you can make sure to get the same thread! You’ll find the manufacturer’s name, along with the fibre content, colour number and the thread weight. You’ll also want to check the right type and size of needle to use with your thread. This should be included in the product listing or you can go to the manufacturer’s website to check.

Stacked Vs Cross–Wound Spools:

Take a look at how the thread is wound onto the spool, as this will determine how well it works with your sewing machine. 

What Is A Stacked Spool?

A stacked spool means that the thread runs horizontally around the spool and comes off the spool from the side. A stacked spool works best on a vertical spool pin.

What Is A Cross–Wound Spool?

A cross–wound spool means that the thread has been wound onto the spool in a criss–cross style. A cross–wound spool works best on a horizontal sewing machine spool pin.

what sewing machine thread should I use?

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Thread Is Best For Sewing Machines?

When deciding what thread is best for your sewing machine, make sure to check its suitability for your fabric, style of project and type of stitching. Also check your thread is suitable for sewing machines as hand stitching threads often have a coating that could rub off on the mechanics of your machine. Our Gutermann Sew All thread is a great choice for sewing machines and all kinds of projects and fabrics.

Why Should I Buy Good Quality Thread?

A good quality thread will be smooth, durable and resistant to puckering, friction and general wear and tear. As you invest in good quality fabric, you don’t want your project to suffer because of a poor quality thread. Quality thread will hold your seams together through use and washing and help to avoid your seams breaking.

What Is Gutermann Sewing Thread?

Gutermann is the go–to brand for quality sewing threads and has been producing threads for 150 years. Their top quality sewing threads are exported and used globally. Gutermann have a huge range of sewing threads from popular staple threads such as their Gutermann Sew All thread to specialist sewing threads such as Gutermann metallic effect thread and Gutermann shirring elastic.

What Is All Purpose Sewing Thread?

An all purpose thread, such as our Gutermann Sew All thread, works well with most fabrics. Gutermann Sew All thread is 100% polyester, making it strong, supple and durable, so a great choice for many types of projects. It can be used for hand stitching as well as with sewing machines. With 240 colours to choose from, you can find the right colour to match to your fabric too. We offer a thread match service when you purchase your fabric with us, helping you to find the perfect Sew All thread for your project. Find out more about our thread matching service here!

What Thread Should I Use For Quilting?

When sewing together the layers of your quilt, be sure to use a specialist quilting thread as it is designed to have the strength to hold the seams. Our Gutermann cotton quilting threads are a specialist thread designed for hand sewing the layers of a quilt together. Quilting hand sewing threads should not be used for machine stitching as the wax finish will rub off onto the mechanisms of your sewing machine. 

What Is Miniking Thread?

Gutermann miniking thread is a high quality, universal sewing thread suitable for household and overlock sewing machines. Miniking thread is 100% polyester and suitable for most fabrics. Gutermann miniking thread is perfect for closing seams, lockstitch and serging. 

What Is Shirring Elastic?

Gutermann shirring elastic is a specialist sewing machine thread for stitching shirring on part of a garment. Shirring is the technique of gathering fabric by sewing small rows of stitches to create an elastic, stretchy area of the garment. Shirring adds texture and looks very decorative.  It is commonly used on waistbands, smocks and sleeves.

What Is Bulky Lock Thread?

Gutermann Bulky Lock thread is a high quality, elastic thread made from 100% polyester. Gutermann Bulky Lock thread is ideal for overlock and coverstitch seams, as well as medium to heavy–weight fabrics.

How Do I Match My Sewing Thread To My Fabric?

If you’re buying your fabric with us, we can match a Gutermann Sew All thread to your chosen fabric. Simply add our thread match service to your basket when you’re shopping and then let us know which fabrics you wish to match via our Live chat service on the website.

How Do I Choose The Correct Sewing Needle For My Project?

Choosing the right sewing needle is another essential part of your sewing process – it’ll ensure your stitch quality is great and avoid puckering the fabric or breaking the thread. Read our guide ‘Choosing the right needle for your project’ to help you find the best needle for your next task! Browse our full range of sewing machine needles here and our hand sewing needles here.

Do you have any sewing thread tips you’d like to pass on to our readers? Or a favourite sewing thread you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.