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A Case for Polyester Thread – Top 7 Reasons to Use Polyester Thread

Polyester – The word conjures up different images for different people. For some it’s the polyester leisure suits of the 70’s, and for others it’s fabrics in bright neon colors. When I googled the word polyester in Google Images, most of the images were of bright fabrics, threads, workout clothes, the occasional sweater, and strangely, this image:

Come to find out – they are experimenting with using shrimp to dye polyester (The more you know!).

At Sulky®, when we say polyester, we are talking about thread. We have several lines of thread that are polyester: Poly Deco™, PolyLite™, Sulky Invisible Thread, Sulky Bobbin Thread, Sulky Prewound Bobbin Thread and Glowy™!

Top 7 Reasons To Use Polyester Thread

When I am out talking to sewists, I often get asked when you should use polyester thread over some other fiber, like cotton or rayon. Although, I can’t address every single reason or instance that polyester is a better choice (I mean really – who could ever think of every single possible reason?), here are my top 7 reasons to use polyester thread:

1.The sun! – Anything that will be out in the sun a lot (hats, work jackets – outdoor home dec items) – Polyester is a better choice because it can handle the harshness of sun way longer than all other fibers. You spent all that time monogramming those pillows, I would hate to see them faded out!

2. Anything that will or could be bleached (children’s and baby garments, baby quilts, etc.; as well as work shirts.). Bleach was my best friend when my kids were little. Bleach is the only way to get Georgia red clay out of clothes (If you have ever been to North Georgia, then you know what I mean!). Sulky Polyester is colorfast to bleach and can withstand the harsh treatment that comes with being a piece of kid’s clothing or a work shirt. (Side note: Sulky Rayons are colorfast, just not to bleach or optical brighteners, but Sulky Solid Color Cottons ARE colorfast to bleach!)

  1. When you are giving a gift to someone you know is going to bleach it no matter what.  You know, we all have that person in our family!

4.In the bobbin – I don’t know about you, but nothing frustrates me more than having to stop and wind a new bobbin. I know it’s a normal part of the sewing process, but it always seems to happen at the worst times! That’s why Sulky Prewound Bobbins are so great – wound with an exceptionally smooth 60wt. polyester thread with 4 colors choices. It is super thin so more thread fits on the bobbin. That means I have to wind my bobbin less often. It is also relatively lint-free and doesn’t knot or snag.

5.

Another cool thing about bobbin thread – Sulky Bobbin Thread on spools is polyester but it looks and feels like cotton. This is because of the way they make it. They extrude extra long stable fibers and then make the thread from those fibers, just like cotton thread is made. This is super cool because it makes the bobbin thread a great thread to do needle-turn applique and to hand stitch quilt bindings.

  1. When you want it to be invisible! – If you are like most sewists I know, you have a love-hate relationship with invisible thread. But at times, invisible is the perfect choice (i.e. when you want your stitch-in-the-ditch quilting to actually be in the ditch!). The great thing about Sulky Invisible Thread is that it is polyester (not nylon) so it works like any other polyester thread. You can sew with it, iron it and wash it and not worry about it breaking or melting. Sulky Invisible Thread turns that love-hate into love-love!  Hint:  It can also be used in the bobbin (you get miles of invisible on a bobbin); just wind it very slowly and only about half or three-quarters full.

7.Neon! – I saved the best for last. If you are in love with neon thread as much as I am, then it’s polyester all the way! Cotton and rayon simply can’t be dyed in the bright neon colors that you can dye polyester – and I am in love with neon thread.

Here is a tutorial I did for a quilt using neon thread. If you haven’t used neon thread, you are missing out. Seriously, get some. Use it. Love it. Here is the link to my favorite set.

A few more notes on polyester thread:

The biggest myth in the quilting world is that polyester thread will tear the fabric. Polyester is a wonderful fiber for thread. It is neither better nor worse than cotton or rayon.  Just different.  It does have more sheen than the other two, but sometimes, that is desirable.

Polyester thread have more stretch and much more memory, which causes them to stretch further and return to their original shape.  This can create a puckering problem if not dealt with properly by adjusting tensions and stabilizing. This sounds like a negative, but it’s not. It’s just the facts and if you are using polyester thread for something like machine embroidery, it is important that you stabilize the project properly. If you aren’t sure what stabilizer to use, then try out our Stabilizer Selector Tool.

Happy Sewing!

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2 Comments

  • Shirley Ratliff

    Great information, thank you! I do like to use polyester thread however I have hesitated to use it in conjunction with cotton e.g., cotton thread on top and polyester on bottom. Does this matter?

  • Whiskers

    I have to chuckle at your instructions for winding invisible thread on a bobbin. I did not know about the “wind slowly”, “partially fill” and wound away. I think it was about the time I took the full bobbin off the winding pin, that ping!! The outer side of the plastic bobbin popped off and flew across the room. Now I only fill my metal bobbin half full and wind at a slower speed.

    I don’t machine embroider, but I have used your threads for quilting projects. I do really like the Poly-Lite in the bobbin and wish it was available locally and came in more colors (or am I behind the times?)

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