Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's new at The Loft - Episode 56

Macro 3.6.5. Challenge

Spool of Thread

ISO 1600, f/16, 0.5 Second

What is Thread? (definition taken from madehow.com)

Thread is a tightly twisted strand of two or more plys of yarn that are circular when cut in cross section. It is used for hand sewing and in home sewing machines. Ninety-five percent of all sewing thread that is manufactured is used in commercial and industrial sewing.

The three basic types of thread are based on their origin and are animal, plant, or synthetic. Early sewing thread consisted of thin strips of animal hide that were used to stitch together larger pieces of hide and fur. The advance of civilizations brought many refinements in clothing and adornments, including the spinning and dyeing of thread made from plant fibers and using the wool and hair from domestic animals in spinning. They and the Phoenicians also pioneered the use of berries and plant matter in the manufacture of colorful and long lasting dyes. The Chinese and Japanese discovered the beauties of silk fibers spun as thread and made as cloth.

During the Industrial Revolution in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, production of thread moved out of the cottages and into factories equipped with high-speed machines. Machine manufacture generated more uniform thread with fewer flaws, and producers could devote more time to maximizing the characteristics of the types of fibers being used. Stronger thread, truer dye colors, and production of a wider variety of thread for different applications were among the direct results.

Engineers who design sewing thread are called seam engineers. They are experienced in the practical aspects of sewing, sewing machine operation, and clothing manufacture. When a new sewing thread is designed, the needs of the specific market are analyzed carefully, and a prototype thread is produced and tested under actual use conditions.

Choosing the Right Thread for your Sewing Project (courtesy of eHow)

The thread you choose for any sewing project should be similar in fiber content to that of your fabric. Cotton, polyester and cotton/poly threads are the most widely used.  Here are some tips for selecting the right thread. 

1.  Choose a color thread that matches the most dominant color in your fabric. If you are unable to find a perfect match, select a thread that is one or two shades darker. Stitches made with a lighter shade of thread will stand out more. 
2.  Use cotton thread for light to medium-weight fabrics that have little or no stretch to them. Cotton thread will not "give," and the stitches may break if used on a stretchy knit fabric. 

3.  Use polyester thread for most hand and machine stitching. This thread is most suitable for synthetic fabrics or fabrics with a lot of stretch to them. The finish of this thread, however, can appear waxy or shiny. 

4.  Use a cotton-wrapped polyester thread for most sewing projects. This thread is usually labeled "all-purpose" and is the thread you will see most frequently in fabric stores. It is suitable for all types of fabrics and for both hand and machine sewing. 

5.  Use fine cotton or silk thread on very thin or delicately woven fabrics such as those used for lingerie or sheer garments. Silk thread is more elastic than cotton, so opt for silk if your garment fabric has any stretch to it at all. 

6.  Look for thread labeled "heavy duty" for projects that require extra strength and durability in stitches. For example, an upholstery project that uses very heavy or stiff fabric will require heavy-duty thread. Some apparel items made with a similar type of fabric will also require this thread. 

7.  Use metallic thread for both machine and hand embroidery. Make sure, however, that the thread you use for machine embroidery is labeled suitable for machine sewing. 

8.  Use quilting thread for your hand or machine quilting projects and for projects that are similarly layered. Most quilting thread is all-cotton and has a finish that allows the thread to slip more easily through the fabric and batting layers.

I hope you have found today's post fun and informative.  Comments are always welcome so please send me your comments and tell me what's on your mind.  Thanks for stopping by and come back soon.

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