Polyester Quilting Serger

January 2, 2006 by  
Filed under Die Cutting Machines and Supplies

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question about sewing thread?

What is the different of all those different types of thread (quilting, all-purpose, overlock ....)? I was at the store yesterday trying to pick up some thread for general sewing, i don't know which one should i get, they all look the same to me? are they really make any difference?


1) Hand quilting thread has a glaze on it to make it easier to sew through multiple layers. DO NOT USE THIS ON A SEWING MACHINE -- it'll gum up the tensions and you'll get to pay to have your machine cleaned.

2) Machine quilting thread is much like all purpose thread, though it may differ in thickness. Usually cotton or polyester, put up in large capacity spools because machine quilting eats thread. My favorite brand of this thread is Superior: http://www.superiorthreads.com/

3) Embroidery thread is often rayon, sometimes polyester, usually made to be quite shiny and very uniform in diameter. Rayon thread is a poor choice for structural sewing (rather than embroidery) -- it's comparatively weak -- but in a pinch, you could use polyester embroidery thread for general purpose sewing. Again, I like Superior about the best of what I've tried.

4) All purpose or dressmaking thread is the standard sewing machine thread. The thread is dull, not shiny, and should be relatively smooth and even and not linty. Common constructions are all cotton, all polyester, cotton over a polyester core (the old "Dual Duty from Coats & Clarks, which I loathed) and now polyester over a polyester core (the new Dual Duty -- which I still loathe). My favorites are plain polyester -- good brands that are commonly available in the US are Madiera, Mettler, Gutermann, American Efird. Silk thread is also available in dressmaker weights -- excellent for hand basting, and a dream to sew with but $$$$ Save it for a really nice project in a good wool or silk. Tire is my favorite. http://www.silkthings.com/understanding_thread.htm
For a cotton thread, I like Valdani or Superior's King Tut or MasterPiece.

4) Serger thread or overlocker thread comes in cones and is poorly constructed in comparison with dressmaker thread -- it's linty, liable to have thick and thin spots, and is dirt cheap. Usually spun polyester. Don't use it in a sewing machine unless you're in a real pinch... it's just not nice to work with as sewing machine thread, and your machine will act funny with it (and you'll get to clean your machine every few minutes!). Maxilock is the common brand for sergers, and is ok for sergers.

Closeups of sewing threads and some decorative and serger threads:

American Efird's wonderful thread and seam information:

Don't use crummy thread in your sewing machine. The headaches aren't worth the cheap price.

PS: for normal sewing, you should have the same size thread in the top and bobbin. Lightweight bobbin threads are generally used only for machine embroidery and a few other special purposes.


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