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what kinds of threads?
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Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
what kinds of threads? on 12/16/2010 12:48:06 MST Print View

so i am very new to myog and was just wondering what kind of thread everyone uses for sewing. i tried searching but all that came up was the forum 'thread'..

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: what kinds of threads? on 12/16/2010 13:18:27 MST Print View

Yeah, the search facility here is really poor.

Thread: Gutterman's 100% polyester is top quality, silky, uniform, strong, and works in all sewing machines. You can get 750 yard spools from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics ( for something like $3.90. Look under 'hardware'.

Your machine might be able to use nylon thread, but it is overkill for all but the most stressful applications. You can get good nylon 66 upholstery thread from any auto upholstery supplier or from owfinc. Be forewarned though; many a good project has been ruined by using excessively heavy thread.

Avoid cotton/polyester thread. The cotton rots and before that, it holds moisture that accelerates the deterioration of polyurethane coatings. It is also not nearly as strong as good polyester.

The only problem with polyester thread is that it does not stretch, but nylon fabric does. This is a problem only on long seams like on the ridgeline of a tarp. When the nylon stretches too far, it can pop the thread. The easy solution is to sew long seams with the shallowest zigzag setting on your machine. That gentle offset is enough to protect the thread. On seams shorter than 5 feet, don't worry about it.

Edited by vickrhines on 12/16/2010 13:19:43 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 12/16/2010 13:32:13 MST Print View

I've used a lot of Guttermann successfully

Available in regular fabric stores

That's a good point about not stretching. I have silnylon tent. On seams at corner where it meets the ground the silnylon stretches a lot and keeps ripping the Gutermann thread.

There's no sideways tension there so it doesn't make any difference, except cosmetic.

I'll have to try sewing zigzag and see if that lasts better.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: what kinds of threads? on 12/16/2010 14:06:52 MST Print View

Hi Vick

Sorry, but I am going to have to disagree with some of what you said.

I find Gutermanns to be OK for clothing, but not good enough for tents and packs and too heavy for sleeping bags. It is basically a cheaper consumer-grade thread.

I agree about bonded nylon thread: definitely suitable for packs and webbing but too heavy for the rest. I use it on an old black Singer which can handle anything.

I disagree about poly-cotton thread. There is doubtless some poor quality poly-cotton on the market, but there is also good quality professional-grade stuff. I have been using Amann Rasant thread, which is very definitely a professional-grade thread. It shows NO sign of rotting despite having been used in my silnylon tents for many, many years.

I also used Rasant on a PU/nylon tent many years ago, and it has showed no sign of damaging the PU coating there either. OK, I do dry all my tents carefully when I get home. Perhaps that is the more important thing.

As for strength - I have tested the strength of the Rasant against similar-gauge pure polyester thread (eg Amann Serifil) and found there is little difference between them. The Rasant poly-cotton thread does not get as tangled as the polyester Serifil thread though, which is a real advantage.

Using a straight polyester thread such as Serifil does have a problem with stretch, although I have not found that it is very serious on a tent. The Rasant poly-cotton stretches quite well. But the real secret here is that you should not have the tension so tight that the thread puckers the fabric at all. With the right tension I find a straight stitch works very well under normal use, even in storms.

Now, all that is based on my experience with tents, packs sleeping bags and clothing. I have not sewn any hammocks, and we know they experience a lot more tension. It may be that my experience would not translate well to hammocks: that I do not know. Be a bit embarrassing if a hammock fell to pieces half way through the night!


Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Re: what kinds of threads? on 12/16/2010 16:35:43 MST Print View

+1 on Gutermann's, it's polyester, available at your local Jo-anns or generic sewing store in a million colors and it's pretty good for most stuff. If you're doing something heavy duty then look into what Roger recommends.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: what kinds of threads? on 12/16/2010 18:12:21 MST Print View

+2 on Gutermanns. I use both the standard strength and the heavy duty. No problems on any of my 3 machines.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: what kinds of threads? on 12/17/2010 16:02:04 MST Print View

+3 on Guttermans. As a matter of fact, double that because JoAnn Fabrics has a 50% off sale on all Guttermans threads! I just stocked up yesterday. I use the standard strength, 100% polyester.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: what kinds of threads? on 12/17/2010 16:54:50 MST Print View

Remember. Friends don't let friends sew with Coats and Clarks.

Greg Wheelwright
(gdw) - F
Guttermans on 12/17/2010 17:31:51 MST Print View

Is there any real difference between Guttermans Upholstery and heavy duty thread.

Matthew Bishop
(mattsbishop) - F - M

Locale: Northern Frontrange, Colorado
Maxi-lock on 12/21/2010 11:47:30 MST Print View

FWIW, my local sewing machine shop turned me on to maxi-lock thread. It's a bit harder to find but is higher quality than Gutermann, thinner and stronger. I've only used this on apparel so far, but I like it quite a bit.

I've also used "Hydrophobe 100% Polyester Thread with Anti-Wicking Finish" from, size Tex 40. Seems to work okay for tarps, though it's of uneven thickness and fuzziness and generally gives the appearance of poor quality. Hard to know what to make of it. I can't verify it's hydrophobicity as I was not inclined to test it.

I'd love to try this Rasant thread Roger's always on about, but don't want to import it. Anyone know where to buy it in the US?

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Mettler on 12/21/2010 17:13:46 MST Print View

I have used Mettler thread on most of my packs & gear(including Metrocor in the serger). Strength is great, plus if you look at it under a microscope it is a little less fuzzy compared to Guttermans which can help deter snags, snarls, etc. With that being said, Gutterman's is awesome thread and I've never had any issues with it. I have heard some good things about Maxi-lock here and there but haven't used it yet.


Edited by ViolentGreen on 12/21/2010 17:52:59 MST.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Mettler on 12/21/2010 17:57:30 MST Print View

+1 for Mettler. Judy at Lightheart Gear turned me on to it, and I have to say, I prefer it to Guttermans.

Metrosene Plus is the analogue to the normal Guttermans Poly thread, but it's a bit finer, and works great for 20D nylon. Unfortunately finding large spools is much more difficult than the Guttermans.

The normal spool sizes house more thread than the equivalent Gutterman spools however.

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Bonded Nylon on 12/21/2010 23:30:39 MST Print View

I prefer a Bonded Nylon. Works well with all materials especially silnylon. Parachute makers use a V69 Bonded Nylon but I prefer using a V46 Bonded Nylon.