Thread Terms & Types

1: Elongation – Refers to how far a thread will stretch under tension before it breaks, memory allows thread to return to the normal length. Elasticity is not desirable if higher tensions are required.

2: Lubricity – A measure of how lubricated the thread is, passing through the eye & sewing area. Low lubricity causes elongation & looping problems.

3: Rayon thread – Rayon will burn without melting, it may deteriorate under high UV exposure & will sun rot, & some colors may not be colorfast & bleach resistant.

4: Polyester thread – Stronger than rayon but it stretches & can cause loop formation with improper tensions & it can cause sewn areas to pucker. It melts before it burns, it suffers less from UV than rayon, & it is colorfast & bleach resistant but may have problems in commercial laundries dye strippers.

5: Cotton thread – Does not stretch so it breaks easier than polyester. It has a low sheen. It will burn without melting. Cotton is usually colorfast & bleach resistant, but is subject to sun rot. It causes lint to build up in a machine’s hook area & requires regular cleaning.

6: Poly/Cotton thread – This is a blend with a thicker buildup, good strength & has less stretch than polyester. The sheen is less than rayon & polyester. The colors are usually colorfast & bleach resistant.

7: Acrylic thread – This is more durable than rayon but not as strong as polyester, it comes in two weights. Some colors are not colorfast or bleach resistant. It melts before burning & is subject to sun rot & UV damage.

8: Metallic thread – Metallic thread is made of a rayon core that is wrapped with Mylar strips. It is expensive to produce so it costs more & it breaks easily. It is used mainly when you want to add a special shiny or metallic effect to your designs.

9: Solaractive thread – This is a new type of thread make by Solaractive International Co. that I thought sounded interesting, it is UV sensitive & changes from white to one of 7 different colors when exposed to sunlight. They also carry a thread that changes from color to color for example it changes from peach to wine or from turquoise to purple.

10. Denier System – a denier is a unit of weight equal to the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of thread. Deniers are represented by 2 numbers separated by a slash & followed by the abbreviation “Den.” 120 weight with 2 strands would be written 120/2 Den.

11. European System – uses arbitrary numbers to designate size. A #40 European is approximately equal in size to 120/2 Den.

12 U.S. System – a series of 0’s which have no numerical relationship to the size of the thread. Each manufacturer uses a slightly different system so what may equal #35 in one brand may be closer to a #30 in another brand.

13. Metallic System – Manufacturers arbitrarily assign the figures 7/2 or 5/2 to a thread. It is best to ask the manufacturer how each equates with another system.