Why is yarn burning

Small sewing school: What types of sewing thread are there and which thread is used for which sewing project?

I've been sewing for more than two years now and I'm learning more every day. Today I would like to give you a brief overview of the various sewing threads and for which sewing projects they are best suited.


I'm an old money saver and sew up all the leftovers that I can get my hands on for test pieces - e.g. also my grandma's old cotton sewing thread. At the beginning of my sewing career, I often used cheap thread sets from the discounter. These are also great for test projects - but when it comes down to it, you should always focus on quality! Cheap yarns tear faster and are often not as durable as high-quality yarns. In addition, they often have small nodules that cause incorrect tension in the machine and can lead to an unclean thread appearance.

The quality of the sewing thread has a major influence on the sewing result and the durability of the seam when using the sewing material.

You can find high-quality sewing threads in a wide variety of colors and designs at Amann Mettler, Gütermann and Snaply. If you like to use organic yarns, you will find what you are looking for at the Stoffbotin.

Here you can see the Snaply thread case with 48 spools of high quality polyester thread in many different colors:

The right thread for every sewing project

Sewing threads are made from a wide variety of materials and raw materials, but most threads are made from polyester in various forms. Natural fibers are e.g. pure cotton and silk.

The sewing thread should be made of the same material as the fabric to be sewn (i.e. cotton thread for pure cotton) and not stronger than the fibers of the fabric. The same thread (or the same material) as in the upper thread bobbin should always be wound in the bobbin.

Here you can see e.g. the visual difference between matt and glossy polyester yarn, both from Amann Mettler:

Cotton yarn
It is mainly used for sewing projects made from pure cotton fabrics (non-stretchable fabrics), especially for patchwork and quilting. Cotton yarn looks more beautiful than polyester yarn, but tears much faster due to the lack of elasticity. There are pure cotton yarn and mercerized cotton yarn. When mercerising, the strands of yarn are treated with caustic soda, making them slippery, smooth and shiny. This also increases the tear resistance. Stapling thread for hand stapling work is also made of cotton and can be easily separated again. Cotton yarns can be dyed, so they take on the same color when subsequently treated with textile dyes compared to polyester yarns.

Polyester yarn
Polyester yarn is somewhat more elastic than cotton yarn and therefore significantly more tear-resistant. It is suitable for all types of clothing and home textiles, so it is also ideal for stretchy fabrics. Since it shimmers slightly, it is often used for machine embroidery. Polyester is very easy to care for and is also often mixed with natural fibers such as cotton. Almost all so-called “all sewing” yarns are made of polyester and - as the name suggests - can be used for all fabrics. Transparent (“invisible”) yarns are also made of polyester.

Polyamide yarn / nylon yarn
Along with polyester, polyamide is one of the most important synthetic materials. The microfibers allow water vapor to escape, but not allow water to penetrate inside. Thus, polyamide yarns are particularly suitable for sportswear and weatherproof clothing.

Viscose yarn / rayon
Viscose is also a chemical fiber obtained from beech and pine wood. It looks very similar to cotton, but is lighter and softer. Since viscose shimmers like silk, it is often used for machine embroidery.

Elastic thread for stretch effects

Embroidery thread
Most embroidery threads are made of slightly shimmering synthetic fibers, such as the polyester and viscose threads mentioned above. Embroidery threads for machine embroidery are very fine.

Buttonhole thread
Buttonhole yarns are thicker polyester yarns that are ideal for buttonholes or for sewing on buttons. They are very tear-resistant and are therefore mainly used for manual repairs and for sewing solid fabrics such as canvas and sailcloth. They can also be used in decorative stitching. Buttonhole threads are significantly thicker or stronger than pure sewing thread because they consist of several threads twisted together.

Silk yarn
Silk thread is used for sewing silk fabrics. Since it is extremely sensitive, it is often sewn by hand - but it can also be processed with a sewing machine. Silk threads have a nice sheen.

Metallic yarn
Consists of metallized synthetic fibers and can be sewn by machine or by hand to add exciting color accents. A special needle is usually required for sewing with the machine.

Effect yarn
Is very hard-wearing and can be sewn by machine or by hand. Effect yarn consists of cotton and polyester. Effect yarns are mainly used for decorative seams, buttons and when sewing by hand.

Elastic thread
Is a thin, wound rubber thread and therefore very elastic. It is usually used as a bobbin thread to achieve stretch effects (e.g. smoking).

Here you can see e.g. an effect yarn (Amann-Mettler):

Are there any questions left? Feel free to write me a comment under this post.