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291-A Merrimon Avenue, Weaverville, NC 28787
800-915-2320

 

 

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Nylon Thread Information

 

About Nylon Thread - Nylon was developed in the 1930s. Now, almost eighty years later, it is still one of the most widely used materials in the world. Nylon thread illustrates why this is so. It is inexpensive, strong, durable, easy to sew, and has excellent abrasion resistance. This makes it the first choice for sewing upholstery, leather, fabric, webbing, canvas, and vinyl. Nylon thread withstands moderate sunlight (UV) exposure but does not do well with prolonged exposure. Polyester thread is a better choice for outdoor applications

 

 

 Specifications - We sell nylon thread in eleven different sizes (thicknesses) ranging from almost hair-thin to cord-like. As thread thickness increases the thread gets stronger, stitches become more visible, needle size increases, and the yards of thread per pound decrease. Size selection depends on what is sewn, fabric texture and thickness, the desired "look' and the sewing machine.

 

 

Sizes - There are three sizing conventions used in the U.S. -- Commercial, Tex, and Government. We use Commercial sizes on our site and frequently cross-reference the other sizes.

 

 

Commercial

Size 15  Size 33 Size 46  Size 69 

Size 92 

Size 138  Size 207  Size 277  Size 346  Size 415  Size 554 

Tex

15

30

45

70

90

135

210

270

350

410

600

Government

A

AA

B

E

F

FF

3-Cord

4-Cord

5-Cord

6-Cord

8-Cord

Strength - The thread's tensile strength

Pounds

2.0

5.0

8.0

11.0

15.0

22.0

32.0

45.0

53.0

72.0

83.0

Kilos

0.9

2.3

3.6

5.0

6.8

10.0

14.5

20.4

24.0

32.7

37.8

Thickness - A thread's diameter.

Inches - Decimal

0.0059

0.0080

0.0094

0.0116

0.0133

0.0163

0.0200

0.0231

0.0258

0.0283

0.0408

Inches -Thousandths

6/1000

8/1000

9/1000

12/1000

13/1000

16/1000

20/1000

23/1000

26/1000

28/1000

41/1000

Millimeters

0.1499

0.2032

0.2388

0.2921

0.3378

0.4140

0.5080

0.5867

0.6563

0.7188

1.0358

Needle Size - The range of needle sizes used with each thread size

U.S.

10 - 12 12 - 14 14 - 16 16 - 18 18 - 20 20 - 22 22 - 24 24 - 26 26 - 28 28 - 30 30 - 32

Metric

70 - 80

80 - 90 90 - 100 100 - 110

110 - 120

120 - 140

140 -180

180 - 220

220 - 260

260 - 330 330 - 360

Nominal Yards Per Spool - Nylon thread sells by weight and yardage decreases as thread size increases.

2 Ounce Spool

3,500

1,700

1,250

750

525

375

250

187

150

130

82

4 Ounce Spool

7,000

3,400

2,500

1,500

1,050 

750

500

375

300 

260

163

8 Ounce Spool

14,000

6,900

5,000

3,000

2,100

1,500

1,000

750

600

525

325

12 Ounce Spool

21,000

10,350

7,500

4,500

3,150

2,250

1,500

1,050

900

760

470

16 Ounce Spool

28,000

13,800

10,000

6,000

4,200

3,000

2,000

1,500

1,200

1,050

650

Sewing Machines - Thicker thread sizes require more powerful machines.

Home Size 15 Size 33 Size 46 Size 69              
Commercial Size 46 Size 69 Size 92 Size 138 Size 207 Size 277
Heavy Duty           Size 138 Size 207 Size 277 Size 346 Size 415 Size 554

Stitch Visibility

Inconspicuous Size 15 Size 33 Size 46 Size 69              
Noticeable       Size 69 Size 92 Size 138          
Stands Out           Size 138 Size 207 Size 277      
Focal Point               Size 277 Size 346 Size 415 Size 554

Nice To Know

Sizes with the most colors     Size 46 Size 69 Size 69 Size 138 Size 207        
Most popular sizes       Size 69   Size 69          
 

Size Selection Guide - Here is a list of nylon thread applications and a range of thread sizes customers typically use. Finding the right size depends on the thread strength required, color availability, fabric strength and thickness, the desired "look", and the available sewing machines. In many cases usage spans many sizes and we give examples of lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight uses.

Athletic Mats

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Athletic Pads

  Size 33 Size 46 Size 69 Size 92 Size 138          

Auto Interiors

Typical

Size 138

Size 207

Special "Looks"

Size 69

Size 92

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Awnings

Lightweight - Bed canapé

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Middleweight - Patio

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Heavyweight - Store Front

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

Backpacks

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Banners / Flags

Lightweight - Small handheld

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Middleweight - Marching

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Heavyweight - Hanging

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

Bassoon Reeds

Size 138

Book Binding

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Canvas

Lightweight - Drop Cloth

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Middleweight - Bicycle Cover

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Heavyweight - Boat cover

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

Cat Collars and Leashes

Size 15

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Corn Hole Bags

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Costumes

Size 15

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Cushions

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Decorative Stitching

Lightweight - Garments

Size 15

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Middleweight - Handbags

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Heavyweight - Saddles

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

Dentist Chairs

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Dog Beds

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Dog Collars

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Dog Harnesses

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Dog Leashes

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Fishing Tackle

Size 15

Size 33

Size 46

Fly Tying

Size 15

Size 33

Size 46

Garments

Lightweight - Swimsuits

Size 15

Size 33

Size 46

Middleweight - Windbreakers

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Heavyweight - Leather Jackets

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Gloves

Dress

Size 15

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Work

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Hammocks

Size 138

Size 207

Horse Blankets

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Horse Saddles

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

Laptop Cases

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Leatherwork

Lightweight - Slippers

 

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

             

Middleweight - Moccasins

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Heavyweight - Shoes / Boots

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

Luggage

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Oboe Reeds

          Size 138          

Purses / Handbags

   

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

       

Roll-up Signs

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Sandbags

Under 20 Pounds

   

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

           

Over 20 Pounds

         

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

Stage Curtains

     

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

Tailoring

Size 15                    

Tarpaulins

Lightweight - Drop cloth

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Middleweight - Plant Cover

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Heavyweight - Pool Cover

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

Upholstery - Furniture

Lightweight - Chenille

 

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Middleweight - Slip Covers

 

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Heavyweight - Leather

 

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

Vinyl

Lightweight - Badge Holders

   

Size 46

Size 69

 

Middleweight - Wall Covering

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

Heavyweight - Liners

   

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

 

Wallets

 

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

       

Weapons Cases

   

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

       

Webbing

Lightweight - Lawn Chairs

 

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

             

Middleweight - Straps

     

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

Size 207

       

Heavyweight - Conveyer Belts

         

Size 138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

X-Ray Aprons

   

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size 138

         

 

 

Bonded / Soft - Almost all of our nylon thread has bonded finish or coating. Bonding is important for high-speed sewing because it reduces needle heat and fraying. It tends to make the thread stiffer and increases thickness by about five percent. Most of this coating is removed when it passes through the needle.

Soft nylon thread does not have a coating. Many prefer it for hand-sewing and non-sewing uses that involve gluing, wrapping, or reinforcing. Use alcohol to turn a bonded thread into a soft thread.

 

 

Spool Sizes - We sell most of our nylon thread in 2 Ounce, 4 Ounce, and 16 Ounce (1 Pound ) spool sizes or putups. The smaller putups cost more per ounce than the larger ones. But, they are better values for most casual sewers with one-time projects

 

 

Nylon thread is sold by weight (ounces, pounds) - not yards. This is because the number of yards-per-pound decreases as thread thickness increases. Selling by weight means prices for a given size spool are about the same across most thread sizes.

Industry norms allow nylon thread spool weights to vary by ±10% from the stated nominal weight. This means that customers get slightly less or slightly more thread than the nominal weight shown on our site. The table on the right shows our nominal weights and the thread-weight range ( including the spool's weight ) for various sizes.  When spools fall within these ranges we do not charge for overages or refund underages.

Nominal Spool Weight

Weight Range - Including the Spool
Minimum Maximum

2 Oz

2.6 Oz

4.5 Oz

4 Oz

4.6 Oz

5.9 Oz

6 Oz

6.0 Oz

7.9 Oz

8 Oz

8.0 Oz

10.5 Oz

12 Oz

10.6 Oz

15.5 Oz

16 Oz

15.6 Oz

19.9 Oz

 

 

The table on the right gives typical spool dimensions for nylon thread putups. Some home sewing machines do not have spindles that can handle our spools. Use a Thread Cone Holder to solve this problem. It bypasses the spindle feeds the thread directly into the machine as shown on the far right.

Nominal Spool Weight

Spool Dimensions
Diameter Height

2 Oz and 4 Oz

2.5 In. 4.5 In.

6 Oz and 8 Oz

3.5 In. 5.5 In.

12 Oz and 16 Oz

4.5 In. 7.5 In.

 

 

Thread Strength - Size-for-size nylon thread is stronger than embroidery thread, spun threads, cotton, and polypropylene; it has roughly the same strength as our filament polyester; and less than half the strength of our filament Kevlar. Using a stronger / heavier thread affects sewing in these ways:

 

 

As thread strength increases...

As thread strength increases...

Thread thickness

Increases

Stitch visibility

Increases

Sewing heat and friction

Increases

Sewing machine needs

Increases

Needle size

Increases

Yards per pound

Decreases

 

 

There is another consideration. The material that is being sewn is far more expensive than the thread that is being used. Sewing with thread that is stronger than the material increases the likelihood of the material tearing while the seam remains in tact. Unless there are significant safety issues (e.g. parachutes) it is better to sew with thread that will break before the material breaks.

 

 

Finally, there are sewing techniques that can increase seam strength without increasing thread thickness. These include: using small, tight stitches; box stitches; and double stitching

 

 

Elongation - Nylon thread stretches about 25% before it breaks. This means that 10 yards of nylon thread will be 12.5 yards when it snaps. This stretchiness is a good thing in most cases. It allows the seams to expand and contract with the material and avoids puckering and breakage. There are times when nylon's elongation will not work with the application. When this is so: Use stretchy nylon or elastic thread for more elongation; Use spun thread, cotton, or Kevlar for less elongation

 

 

Twist - Filament nylon thread is made by twisting two or more plies of nylon to make a given thread size. Unless we say otherwise, the nylon thread on our site is left twist (Z-Twist). This is because single-needle machines designed for the U.S. market require left twist thread.

Double-needle machines are an exception. They require one spool to be left twist and the other to be right twist (S-Twist). We stock some right twist nylon thread on our site and clearly identify these items. Alternatives to right twist thread include monocord nylon and spun threads.

A thread's twist does not affect hand-sewing or non-sewing applications such as wrapping, reinforcing, or gluing.

 
 

Heat Resistance - Nylon thread yellows at 300°F, sticks at 445°F, and melts at 500°F. It should not be used in any application that requires fire retardant thread such as first responder garments and high temperature conveyer belts. Use our Fire Retardant Sewing Thread, Fire Retardant Embroidery Thread, Filament Kevlar Thread, and Filament Nomex Thread in these situations. All are heat resistant to 700°F or more.

 
 

UV (Sunlight) Resistance - Nylon thread is able to withstand moderate amounts of sunlight, but it will fade and lose strength with prolonged exposure. For example, nylon thread would be just fine for a regular car used in Seattle; it would be a bad choice for a convertible or motorcycle used in Phoenix.

Polyester thread is a better choice for applications that have prolonged outdoor use. It stands up to sunlight and looks, feels, and sews like nylon. Other alternatives include: Polypropylene Thread for machine sewing; Waxed Thread, Embalmer's Thread and Artificial Sinew for hand sewing; and Bank Line and Bailer / Binder Twine for tying, binding, and reinforcing.

 
 

Monocord and Monofilament - We sell two other kinds of nylon

Monocord Nylon and Polyester - This thread is made by extruding hair-thin filaments into a smooth, one-ply thread with no twist that is slightly flat and ribbon-like. This thread runs smoother, reduces needle wear, and makes seams that are stronger and less conspicuous. Because it is one-ply, monocord can be used with double-needle machines. Most of our monocord has a UVR coating that gives it UV resistance equivalent to polyester thread.

Monofilament Thread - This thread is a true single-filament thread that is round, smooth, and semi-translucent. It blends with fabric and is the first choice for "invisible" seams. Use clear monofilament with light fabrics and smoke with dark fabrics. 

 
 

Mil-Spec Nylon - Thread used on military and some other U.S. government contracts must comply with Military Specification A-A-59826 (formerly VT-295E). This specification requires the thread to be made in the U.S., have lot traceability, go through prescribed testing procedures, and have paperwork (called CERTS) that attest to it being Mil Spec. Our U.S. manufacturing sources tell us that there is no real quality difference between Mil Spec thread and civilian thread.

We stock 16 Ounce spools Mil Spec nylon thread in Olive Drab, Coyote, and Shade 1600 and enclose CERTS with the shipment. We can special order Mil-Spec thread in any or color. There is a 23 Pound minimum order and lead time is 4 to 6 weeks.

Our Mil Spec colors are available in 2 Ounce and 4 Ounce "junior" spools for personal use. "Juniors" do not have lot traceability so we cannot issue CERTS. We do custom-wind "juniors" from our  16 Ounce Mil Spec spools, provide the appropriate labeling, and enclose CERTS. Lead time may be 1 to 3 days and there is a $1.00 a spool up-charge.

We cannot retroactively issue CERTS or any thread. Also, we do not issue aviation and auto manufacturer certifications.

 
 

More Choices

Sizes
 

 
 

Size 15

Size 33

Size 46

Size 69

Size 92

Size138

Size 207

Size 277

Size 346

Size 415

Size 554

 
               
   
  All Nylon 2 & 4 Oz Spools Monocord Cases -50% Grab Bags Clearance  

The Thread Exchange
291A Merrimon Avenue Weaverville, NC 28787
800-915-2320