How to select the right thread for your project

High-quality thread might be your most important sewing tool! It should be smooth and strong with uniform thickness. Colour is the most obvious difference between threads, but fiber content is equally important. As a general rule, match the fiber content of the thread with that of fabric. Use the same type of thread in the needle and in the bobbin (unless sewing with decorative thread).

Common Threads

Thread TypeDescription
Cotton-wrapped polyester thread
  • General-purpose thread
  • Used for the most sewing and dressmaking
  • Suitable for natural or manmade fibers, knit or woven fabrics
Cotton Thread
  • Best with cotton, linen or wool fibers
  • Good with woven fabrics
Polyester Thread
  • Suitable for fabrics made of man-made fibers, especially knits
Silk Thread
  • Expensive
  • Suitable for garment sewing on silk and wool fabric

Specialty Threads

Thread TypeDescription
Basting Thread
  • Light weight, usually 100% cotton
  • Used for temporary stitches
  • Breaks easily so you can pull out the stitches
Hand-quilting Thread
  • Has a waxy coating to prevent tangles
  • Strong enough to pass through multiple layers of fabric
Invisible Thread
  • Usually nylon
  • Used for mending, machine quilting, and attaching trim
Machine Embroidery Thread
  • High-gloss thread
  • Available in a crayon-box assortment of colours, textures, and sizes
  • Designed to fill a specific area smoothly
Metallic Thread
  • High-gloss thread
  • Has a lovely shimmer
  • Ideal for decorative stitching
Overlocker Thread
  • Sold on large cone
  • Designed for high-speed sewing
  • Decorative threads, such as wooly nylon, nylon, metallic, cotton, and rayon, can be threaded in loopers
Topstitching Thread
  • Strong and heavy
  • Produces a well-defined stitch
  • Works well for sewing on buttons
Upholstery Thread
  • 100% nylon or polyester
  • Strong and resistant to chemicals and mildew
  • Suitable for upholstery fabrics