Choosing the Right Thread: The Best Sewing Threads for Heavy-Duty Applications

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Picking the right sewing thread can speed up your sewing process, prevent reworking of seams, and keep your customers happy. Outdoor, industrial, and commercial applications require high-quality, heavy-weight, and heavy-duty threads that last.

Read on for a rundown of various thread types and their recommended uses in these markets to determine the best quality thread for your project.

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Types of threads used for industrial sewing projects

  • PTFE and ePTFE Thread
    • PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) and ePTFE (expanded PTFE) are strong thermoplastic polymers
    • Both are flexible and resistant to chemicals, UV rays, and friction
    • Excellent industrial threads that outlast the rest (a good choice for heavy fabrics)
    • Carry lifetime warranties
    • Recommended for use with HDPE shade fabrics

  • Polyester Thread (also called Dacron®)
    • Polyester thread is UV resistant and water repellent, making it an ideal outdoor thread
    • Highly durable with low stretch
    • Great for most industrial applications

  • Nylon Thread
    • Flexible with an excellent strength-to-size ratio
    • Recommended for use in fabric that is not exposed to the elements
    • A good indoor upholstery thread

  • Cotton Thread
    • A naturally strong thread
    • Grips to the fabric and swells when wet to prevent seam leakage
    • A good general-purpose thread




  • Continuous filament: A long, continuous strand of a manufactured fiber.
  • Monocord or monofilament: A single-ply thread that is smooth, flat, and ribbon-like (like fishing line). Having no to little twist allows it to work on both sides of a double-needle machine.
  • Spun or twisted: Multiple fibers twisted together (typically in 2-ply or 3-ply options).
  • Left twist: A “Z” twist or twist in a clockwise direction. Most of our thread is left twist unless otherwise noted. On a double needle machine, left twist thread goes on the right-side needle.
  • Right twist: An “S” twist or twist in a counterclockwise position. Our thread will be noted if available in a right twist. On a double needle machine, right twist thread goes on the left-side needle.

Common features

  • A bonded finish is applied to the fibers of a continuous filament thread for higher strength and decreased friction.
  • A soft finish means the thread has no fiber coating.
  • Lubricated thread allows for smooth sewing and needle heat resistance.
  • Thread that is UV resistant withstands fading and sun damage.
  • To shed water, a non-wicking or anti-wicking finish is applied to the thread (non-wicking repels water and prevents water absorption while anti-wicking provides an extremely water-repellent seam).
  • Thread that is heat set minimizes shrinking and expanding.
  • The elongation is the amount a thread stretches before it breaks. The higher elongation, the greater seam elasticity but there is more opportunity for skipped stitches and thread breakage.



  • Shade (awnings, shade sails, enclosures, umbrellas)
  • Marine products (seating, boat tops, sails, covers)
  • Outdoor upholstery (patio furniture, cushions, umbrellas, furniture covers)
  • Indoor upholstery (sofas, pillows, drapery, quilting)
  • Tents and tarps, industrial covers
  • Clear vinyl windows
  • Signs and banners
  • Recreational gear
  • Mesh screens
  • Apparel
  • Embroidery
  • General industrial projects using heavyweight fabrics

Brand highlights


  • Fil-Tec™
    • PremoBond
      • Bonded, continuous multifilament polyester
      • 30% stronger than industry standard
      • Available in thread and bobbins
      • Great for marine projects, awnings, filtration, footwear, luggage, geotextiles, tarps, and slings
    • Aruvo®
      • Twisted PTFE
      • Limited lifetime warranty
      • Available in thread and bobbins
      • Great for marine fabric, awnings, upholstery, and shade sails
    • Premofast™
      • Bonded low-twist multifilament polyester
      • The original solution-dyed thread for lasting color
      • Available in thread and bobbins
      • Great for awnings, upholstery, and marine projects
    • Aqua-Seal™
      • Bonded microcord polyester
      • Fills the needle holes when wet to prevent seam leakage
      • Available in thread and bobbins
      • Great for marine upholstery and auto interiors


  • GORE®
    • TENARA®
      • Multifilament ePTFE
      • A heavy-duty option for awnings, marine, shade structures/sails, and industrial use
      • Comes in three styles (Tenara, TR, HTR)
      • Great for awnings, marine use, tarps, and furniture


  • A&E
    • SunStop®
      • Twisted multifilament polyester
      • Anti-wicking and UV resistant
      • Available in thread and bobbins
      • Great for awnings, tents, and marine fabric
    • Poly Nu Bond™
      • Twisted, continuous filament, high-tenacity polyester
      • Non-wicking and resists bacteria, mildew, abrasion, and chemicals
      • Available in thread and bobbins
      • Great for tents, awnings, and outdoor upholstery


  • Coats®
    • Ultra Dee®
      • Continuous filament bonded polyester
      • 20-33% higher maintained strength than standard lubricated threads and heat set
      • Available in thread and bobbins
      • Great for luggage, furniture, awnings, seat trims, and marine fabric
    • Polymatic®
      • Bonded monocord Dacron
      • Ideal for zigzag sewing and can be used on both sides of a double-needle machine
      • Available in thread and bobbins
      • Great for light boat tops, outdoor fabric, and multi-head embroidery
    • Dabond®
      • Bonded, twisted, continuous filament polyester
      • Resists UV rays, mildew, rot, and bleach
      • Available in standard Dabond pre-wound bobbins and Dabond Nano thread (features an anti-wick finish to reduce seam leakage)
      • Great for awnings, sails, and tie downs


Finding the best thread for common problems & solutions

➤  Colors fading or bleeding into the fabric?

Find a thread that's solution-dyed, treated for UV resistance, bonded, or anti-wicking. These will help defend against sun and moisture to keep the color in the thread, even in marine conditions.

➤  Needle heat from your sewing machine?

Use a thread that's lubricated or specially engineered for high heat and high-speed machine sewing.

  Fraying or breaking?

Fraying typically occurs when there are burs on the sewing machine needle. Breaking typically occurs either under fraying or because the tension is wrong. Fraying and breaking can also occur from the needle getting too hot in high-speed sewing machines – but this is highly unlikely with a lubricated thread.

➤  Thread retaining water? Leaky seams?

Choose an anti-wicking, swelling, or monocord threads that fill the seams when wet to prevent leakage.

➤  Shrinking, expanding, or warping thread?

Select a thread that's heat set to minimize shrinking and expanding.

➤  Deterioration from mold, mildew, or chemicals?

Lubricated, coated, or bonded threads defend against these external factors.

➤  Untwisting, raveling, or knotting thread?

Monofilament thread provides one uniform strand, which means no untwisting. Bonding and lubrication also create a smoother surface to prevent knotting and abrasion.

➤  Looking for a subtle or invisible seam?

With so many thread color options available, you can usually color-match your fabric. You can also try a thinner thread for a finer seam or a clear thread for an invisible seam.

➤  Difficulty with hook pickup?

Try a thread with twisted yarn to improve hook pickup.

  Thread falling off the spool?

Aruvo thread features a unique snap base to prevent thread from falling off the spool when taken off the sewing machine.

  Stiff thread?

Find a single-ply thread with light bonding that provides both strength and flexibility – or thread with a soft finish.



Industrial threads come in a range of sizes. Generally speaking, the larger the size, the thicker and heavier duty the thread is (which means more noticeable seams).

Thread weight is the thickness of your thread. Thread weight can vary from fine thread to medium weight to heavy-duty weight. Heavier threads are coarser and work best for thicker fabrics.

Here's a quick breakdown of the different terms for sizing thread:


  • Commercial (V) size: The standard US measurement for twisted, bonded threads.
  • Denier size: A sizing system used for continuous filament thread. Denier is the gram weight of 9,000 meters of thread, and is nine times the Tex Size.
  • Government size: The US government's standard for sizing thread.
  • Needle size: The minimum needle size needed for the thread.
  • Tex (T) size: The weight in grams of 1,000 meters of thread.
  • Ticket (metric) size: Equal to Metric 'M' thread sizes used in some countries.

For example, here's how we would read the sizing for PremoBond thread # 543012:

Commercial (V) size          92

Denier size                         810

Needle size                        120

Tex (T) size                        90

Ticket (metric) size           30

Final note

There's a lot of variation in thread, depending on what you use it for. The notes above are good general rules to follow when selecting heavy-duty or industrial threads.

Make a decision? Choose from over 350 choices in thread and bobbins at Trivantage to tie up your next project.

You'll also find fabric, thread nippers, and universal binders. Thanks for looking!