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Thread, Needles, the details
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(bigtrout) - MLife
Thread, Needles, the details on 04/17/2014 11:34:57 MDT Print View

Hi everyone:

I've scanned older posts, but was hoping for current insight, as there appears to be some debate. I'll be embarking on 2 big projects - materials are being measured in next couple days.

Of course, I ommitted to find out the really important detail of precisely what thread/needle combination to use

1) For my quilt, I'll be using M90 and nanoseeum netting, and some light weight grosgrain.

What needle and thread to use?
What stich length?

2) For a silnylon tarp, in addition to the silnylon, some medium weight 3/4" grosgrain.

Similarly, what needle and thread combo?
What stitch length on the silnylon-silnylon seams?
Different stitch length when sewing on the grosgrain edgeing?


Ivo Vanmontfort
(Ivo) - MLife
my way on 04/17/2014 15:43:26 MDT Print View

gutermann thread
"sew all" for quilts etc
and "extra strong" for tarps etc

quilts: about 12 to 14/inch
tarp/tent: about 8 to 10/inch

quilts:60/80 - 70/90 (microtex/universal)
tarp/tent:90/14 (universal)


->Different stitch length when sewing on the grosgrain edgeing?
No, when i make a stitch box

some projects
down bag:

Nick Smolinske
(Smo) - F

Locale: Rogue Panda Designs
Bonded Nylon on 04/17/2014 16:04:16 MDT Print View

I use bonded nylon (T46) for silnylon, because it stretches with the sil and it's strong. When I bought 40 yards of silnylon seconds I got a 1 lb cone of T46 from OWF - a ton of thread, and I haven't made much of a dent in it yet. My sewing machine seems to really like it, so I'll be using it for a lot of different projects, but it will still probably last me a few years.

If you go the T46 route, I've found that a size 12 needle is too small for the thread, so I use a 14.

That said, for my first tarp I used guterman mara from DIY gear supply and just did all of my hemming with a slight zig-zag stitch to take care of the stretching.

Edited by Smo on 04/17/2014 16:05:47 MDT.

(bigtrout) - MLife
Singer Needle vs. other brands on 04/23/2014 18:15:07 MDT Print View

I have a set of Guterman brand needles (sold in Canada by H.A. Kidd and Co.) that came in the little drawer at the base of my machine. They are labelled:

"Sharps 12/80" and "Sharps 16/100"

I also have Gutterman sew-all polyester thread that I found in one of those tall dispenser displays by the company - but I can't tell from the label about the weight...

Are the 12/80 needles appropriate for the M90?

Pardon me again, but I've had a heck of time figuring this out -

Peter J
(northoakland) - M

Locale: Temescal Creek
12\80 probably okay on 04/23/2014 22:27:26 MDT Print View

These are the typical fabric/needle pairings, and the 'name' of the needle refers to the shape of its point.

Sharps(sometimes also called microtex)- for synthetics (fleece, coated nylons, cordura, uncoated nylon, w/b breathable etc...)

Ball point - cotton

Universal - general purpose

Stretch - medium ball point for stretchy fabrics

The sharp needles will cut a hole in the fabric, while the ball point needles are intended to push the threads aside without cutting.

There are other a bunch of other types as well, but these are the ones I tend to use.

The number refers to the diameter of the needle, 80=.8mm

The needle size is important when trying to sew thicker fabrics, such as some webbing, because you can break needles. Generally a thicker needle is stronger. Also the eye of the needle has to be big enough for your thread.

I haven't sewn momentum, so I am curious what the BPL hive mind has to say. I have used the 80/sharp for other lightweight nylons. Try it on a scrap and see how you like the look.


Edited by northoakland on 04/23/2014 22:32:55 MDT.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: 12\80 probably okay on 04/24/2014 07:30:26 MDT Print View

" The European metric sizing system for sewing machine needles is numbered from 60 to 110. The American sizing system is numbered from 8 to 18. For both sizing systems, the lower the number the finer the needle and the higher the number the larger the needle. Most needle companies show both sizes on the package."

that's off the Singer site. it might help to dispel some of the mystery of the needle numbers.

i recently bought a spring scale (ebay .. hella cheap) that allows me to accurately set the bobbin tension in grams. start around 20 and go from there.

when the thread is too big for the needle, it can not lay in it's groove nicely, and thence it does not form the necessary loop as it withdraws that lets the hook set the next stitch. thusly, you may suffer missed stitches, and those are terrible.
so, you use a bigger needle, and end up punching gigantic holes thru your work. which ... that is not so hot either.

a more modest size of thread seems to be the better path in such matters.


David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
Re: 12\80 probably okay on 04/24/2014 12:57:18 MDT Print View

In general, you pick the thread size to suit the application -- which for gear is generally "as small as practical, but big enough to have suitable strength" -- and then pick a needle to suit the thread. Again, for gear, that means 'big enough to work properly, but as small as possible'. A needle that's too big will poke excessively big holes, and if way too big, have stitch formation problems. a needle that is too small will shred thread, or skip stitches. With a home machine, where sewing speeds are slow, you can often get away with a smaller needle than the thread charts indicate.

The gutterman 'sew all' thread sold in fabric stores is gutterman mara 100 (tex 30), sold by other places. a 12/80 needle will be fine, you may be able to use a 10 or 11.

(bigtrout) - MLife
Bonded Nylon and gumming up the machine on 04/24/2014 14:45:42 MDT Print View

Thanks for the tips everyone!

Searching further, I've found comments warning that the bonded nylon threads used by some when sewing silnyon for tents/tarps, has a tendency to "gum up" a typical light duty home sewing machine...I'm assuming this is due the whatever coating is one the thread.

I have a Singer E99670 - looks to be fairly basic, like the $120 machines in a Walmart.

Any particular bonded nylon I should aim to find to avoid this problem?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Bonded Nylon and gumming up the machine on 04/25/2014 02:24:58 MDT Print View

I would say that most any bonded nylon thread would be a massive overkill on silnylon.

And no, I have never heard of bonded nylon causing any problems with adequately sized needles.


David Olsen
( - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
stretchy nylon on 04/25/2014 06:51:51 MDT Print View

lighter nylon thread has quite a bit of stretch, which can be an issue with tension in the machine. Polyester works better for me in the light threads while a b33 or heavier works for nylon thread.

I once had some cones of unbonded 33 from a taylor shop to be used for pants. It frayed in the needles. I had to oil it to make it work. I also got some right twist thread once that untwisted and frayed.

Now I stick with standard bonded left twist nylon.

Edited by on 04/29/2014 18:03:23 MDT.