I keep all kinds of sewing thread on hand. I live in a rural area so I cannot drive down the street to purchase some thread when I run out, so I keep sewing thread in abundance at my home. I like to have the various kinds of sewing thread and all the colors I can imagine on hand. I almost have my own thread and fabric store in my home with what I have on hand at all times. I have different kinds of thread for the various fabrics I have. I have a preference for certain kinds of sewing thread for certain sewing projects. I use spool sewing thread for my sewing machine, and I use cone sewing thread for my serger.
Cotton thread is a strong thread. It will not break easily on a garment or a sewing project. Most quilters use cotton thread on their quilts for the strength and durability of their finished quilted project. Cotton thread when held up in the light will have fuzz on the thread. If you are in doubt of what type of thread you have, you can hold the thread up to the light to see the fuzz to verify it is cotton. There is an exception to this rule, some cotton thread is coated or glazed. It will be thick and wirey when it is a coated cotton thread. Coated or glazed thread will also gum up your sewing machine. I do not use it. This type of cotton thread is for hand sewing on quilts than for machine sewing. I use cotton thread when I sew denim, welding hats, cotton fabrics for decoration purposes, or cotton sewing projects as examples. If I want my sewing project to last long I use one hundred percent cotton. The fuzz on the cotton thread will produce lint in my sewing machine bed case, but I clean it out with a brush or small vacuum attachment specifically for my sewing machines. Cotton thread will shrink like cotton fabric and will fade like cotton fabric, that is why I like to match cotton fabric with cotton thread.
Polyester thread is another strong thread. It does not have fuzz on the thread strand when held up in the light. Polyester thread is made from polymer resins. It either looks like cotton or has a high sheen like silk. Polyester thread does not fade or shrink like 100% cotton does. Polyester thread is suitable for any type of sewing project. It is also becoming one of the most popular embroidery threads for embroidery machines. I use polyester for sewing polyester fabrics, stretch knits, and stretch fabrics that require neat and uniform top stitching that will last a long time.
Rayon thread is one of the popular embroidery threads for embroidery machines. I have use both polyester and rayon threads in my embroidery machines. Rayon has a smooth finish to it's embroidery design, but unfortunately does not last as long as polyester embroidery thread. Rayon needs to be maintained with care in washing your garment or project. It usually best to hang dry sewn projects with rayon so that it will last longer.
Nylon thread is a synthetically produced thread. It looks and feels plastic to the touch. It does have it's use in sewing projects, however, over time it will yellow and become brittle from repeated washing and drying. Washing and drying nylon thread dries nylon thread out. Nylon thread is used for invisible stitches on a garment or project.
Metallic or plastic thread isn't actually thread. It is made from thermoplastic with an aluminum coating which is then cut into thin strips with a laser and wound. It must be completely unwound to be used and must be sewn with a metallic needle. I seldom if ever use metallic or plastic thread in my sewing projects.
Silk threads are used in many kinds of embroidery. A good example will be the Victorian crazy quilts. Silk threads absorb dye extremely well and it sews smoothly without breaking. It has the strength of polyester and stability of cotton. It also has a distinct sheen due to which it is costlier than the other varieties. Silk thread is wonderful to use, however, it is more costly. When choosing silk thread for my sewing projects I sew formals and bridal gowns with silk thread to suit the occasion of the formal dresses I sew.
Wool thread is an animal fiber which has a soft look when stitched, and does not reflect a lot of light. It has a soft texture. It is used for a ‘homespun’ effect. I have used wool thread for wool shirts or skirts.
It is essential to know and understand your threads for your sewing projects so they match the durability of the fabric and the thread. My customers love me for my clothing and hats because they last so long. My garments and projects last so long because I carefully plan each sewing project with the appropriate thread and fabrics for their garment/s.
Sources for Sewing Threads: http://tinyurl.com/nw5rrv5