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

grommet assortment

Introduction to Thread

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
  • Polyester Thread (also called Dacron®)
  • Nylon Thread
  • Cotton Thread
  • Construction

    contruction 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.

    Applications

    PremoBond Thread Application
    • 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
    • Signs and banners
    • Recreational gear
    • Apparel
    • Embroidery
    • General industrial projects using heavyweight fabrics

    Brand highlights

    PremoBond
    • Fil-Tec™
    • GORE®
    • A&E
    • Coats®

    Finding the best thread for common problems & solutions

    • Colors fading or bleeding into the fabric?
    • Needle heat from your sewing machine?
    • Fraying or breaking?
    • Thread retaining water? Leaky seams?
    • Shrinking, expanding, or warping thread?
    • Deterioration from mold, mildew, or chemicals?
    • Untwisting, raveling, or knotting thread?
    • Looking for a subtle or invisible seam?
    • Difficulty with hook pickup?
    • Thread falling off the spool?
    • Stiff thread?

    Sizes

    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.

    • Terms for sizing thread
    • An example (PremoBond thread # 543012)

    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!