Learning about Thread
We're all familiar with the spools of thread available almost everywhere. Those common spools contain cotton-wrapped polyester thread and are often labeled as all-purpose. This kind of thread can be used for almost all sewing. But like needles and pins, there may be more to choose from than you realize. A slightly more expensive alternative to all-purpose thread for machine sewing is polyester thread. Its advantage, as mentioned in Chapter 1, is that it won't leave fibers behind in your machine.
An alternative for hand sewing is mercerized cotton thread. It won't tangle and knot as much as all-purpose thread, but it is sometimes difficult to find. Other threads available from some specialty stores that are used less often are silk thread for sewing silk and wool, buttonhole twist for hand-stitched buttonholes, metallic thread for decoration, darning thread, and upholstery thread.
Embroidery thread, often called floss, is used for decorative stitching. It comes in 6-ply skeins. The thread is separated into two or three strands after each length is cut. Tapestry wool, a 2-ply yarn, is also used for decorative stitching.
Thread that is twenty years old or more may have become brittle. This will make it prone to breaking during sewing or afterward. You can use it up as basting thread, but don't use it for regular sewing.