The Best Threads for Sewing Clothes That Fit

I can’t count the times a sewist comes to me with a project and proudly displays a box of her grandmother, auntie, or mom’s sewing thread. You know that precious sewing box that holds all the latest tools and thread colors from the 1950s! Think about what has been happening to that thread all these years. It has aged, deteriorated, and is no longer state-of-the-art construction material. The thread has been damaged by age; you can break it apart with a slight tug. So you can imagine it will break in your machine while sewing and your seams will split when you sit. This thread is no longer one of the best threads for sewing clothes that fit!

When you invest a good deal of time and effort into sewing a garment, you want to use quality thread to hold it all together. It is a small expense to have the correct color and type of sewing thread to hold your sewing creation together.

Sewing With Sandi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for my website to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon and other websites at no cost to you.

The Best Thread For Sewing Clothes

Now that we have determined the old thread is better kept for sentimental value, it is time to explore the best thread for sewing clothes. You have lots of great options and I’ll explore some of my favorites below.

Select the best sewing machine thread for your project that works with your budget.

Cotton Thread

When you select 100 percent cotton thread, you are choosing a lovely natural fiber that works perfectly for light and medium weight cotton fabrics. It takes heat from pressing and is long lasting. Mercerized cotton thread is a threaded cotton that improves dye saturation and tear strength. It gives the thread a silky luster. It is your best cotton thread choice.

Don’t mistake cotton sewing thread for cotton quilting thread – quilting thread is thick and made for holding multi layers of fabric and batting together.

Polyester Sewing Thread

100% Polyester thread is a synthetic option suitable for most fabrics. It offers a little stretch which makes it good for general purpose sewing working with wovens and knits. Additionally it is a super strong sewing thread.

Monofilament polyester thread is a good stretch thread. And, because it is polyester, you can find it in a wide rainbow of colors.

The biggest disadvantage of polyester thread is it is so strong, it can be a challenge to unpick stitches, particularly if you use it to sew a natural fiber like cotton or linen.

Nylon Thread

Another good choice is Nylon thread, another synthetic thread that is suitable for sewing all kinds of fabrics. It is strong and comes in different colors. A heavy weight nylon thread is great for sewing heavy weight fabrics.

Cotton Covered Polyester Thread

As a blended thread product, cotton covered polyester thread brings the best properties of both threads on one spool. It can be your goto thread for most everyday sewing projects. This thread offers the best of both worlds, it’s great to have on hand — especially in black and white — and it is an affordable sewing thread.

Silk Sewing Thread

Pure Silk thread is the Cadillac of the thread world. It is a fine and luxurious sewing thread which works for most fabrics. Perfect for sewing delicate fabrics; it leaves only a tiny trace of stitches. It can be somewhat expensive to use for everyday garments.

Other Thread Options

Not every thread is good for sewing clothes. Many will break or jam your sewing machine if used incorrectly. Below is a selection of specialty threads you may want to consider when adding a special touch to your garment.

Use these threads with care, they can get jammed into your sewing machine, shred in your needle, and the thread breaking will drive you crazy.

Elastic Thread

A thin, stretch thread, elastic sewing thread is used to gather lightweight fabric. Hand-wind the thread on your bobbin with a topstitching thread and sew multiple rows of stitches to create a shirring or smocking effect.

Rayon Thread

Rayon thread is a beautiful, shiny, and silky thread. It is extremely delicate and prone to breaking. Therefore, it is NOT a good option for sewing garment seams. It is a pretty thread to add decorative elements to your garments. Be forewarned, it may break as you stitch and shred as it goes through your needle.

If you are going to use this pretty thread, keep your stitch area on the short side and rethread your machine often. Rayon thread can work like an embroidery thread to add decorative elements.

Heavy Duty Thread

Heavy duty thread is perfect when you are working with thick, heavy weight fabrics. When using this in the top of your machine, use a color matching, general purpose thread in your bobbin. Use a jeans needle to help your machine power through.

As you should always do, test stitch and check the tension which may change due to the heftiness of the fabric and thickness of the thread.

Invisible Thread

Monofilament or invisible thread is an unwieldy thread but when you need something invisible, then it’s the perfect choice. Typically it is used by quilters to topstitch their patterns. If you have channels in your garment that you want the stitches to be invisible, then this is the thread for the job.

Use a general purpose thread in the bobbin for ease of use.

Metallic Thread

Of all the decorative threads, metallic thread is one of my favorites. On the same vein as rayon thread and embroidery thread, metallic thread is prone to breakage. You should consider using a metallic thread needle to reduce the breakage.

When using metallic thread for your decorative project, use a color matched all purpose thread in your bobbin.

Serger Thread

Serger thread is wound on large cones made for a serger machine. It may look like a good buy but the large spools will not fit well on your sewing machine. The large spools will wobble around and you won’t get a good tension and, therefore, stitch.


When selecting a thread color to match your fabric choose a shade slightly (really just slightly) darker than your fashion fabric, it will blend in better than a lighter shade which may pop off the fashion fabric.

If you are sewing with a print, choose a fabric that is the color of the background or the most seen color in the pattern.

Of course, if you are top stitching and want to see the details then select the color that works with your design. Just remember if you choose a contrasting thread, your stitches need to be perfect because you will see every stitch.

Where To Get Good Quality Thread

I prefer to purchase my thread from reputable sewing outlets. There are many to choose from, however, I typically purchase my threads from either Joann’s or Minerva.

Shop for quality thread at Joann’s

Shop for quality thread at Minerva

Test Your Stitches

You should always test your stitches before you begin sewing on your fashion fabric. Test the settings, stitch length, and other variables by sewing a seam with your fashion fabric and desired thread.

Check for good tension, smooth stitches, color matching, and flat seams.

Quality Sewing Thread

Choosing a quality sewing thread will make a big difference in your finished garment. It is important to select the right thread to work with your fabric to ensure good seams, less thread breakage, and ease of sewing.

Not sure where to start on your sewing journey, visit Learn To Sew – Sewing 101 for help in getting started.

One of the most important things you can do for your sewing project is selecting the best threads for sewing clothes that fit!

Happy Sewing


10 thoughts on “The Best Threads for Sewing Clothes That Fit

  1. I had no idea there were so many threads to choose from! This is a great guide to threads and great tips for choosing the right color.

  2. I love this because I wouldn’t know where to start! Thank you for sharing the different types of thread!

  3. Thanks for all the information about threads! I see so many options at Joann’s and it’s hard to know what to choose. Now I know!

  4. As a quilter, Gutterman is my go to. Thread is such an important part of any sewing endeavor, and I thank you for breaking them down!

  5. Growing up with a grandparent that enjoyed sewing, the importance of thread is still embedded in Lisa’s head. Thank you for breaking down the threads even more and sharing your expertise.

  6. My grandmother sewed and quilted and my niece is a fashion designer. They would be appalled that I didn’t know anything about all these different types of threads. 😂 So found this list of the best threads for sewing clothes that fit very informative.

  7. I’ve always just used whatever I’ve had on hand. Now I know the importance fo choosing the right thread for my projects! SMH- lesson learned!

  8. I have to admit, when I sew a button back on a garment, I have only ever considered the color of the thread! This is very interesting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *