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Nylon Thread Information

 
   

Contents

   
  About_Nylon_Thread Size_Selection_Guide Mil_Spec_Nylon_Thread  
  Nylon_Thread_Sizes Use_Guide_by_Size Nylon_Thread_Terms  
  Nominal_Weights Mil_Spec_Nylon_Thread Nylon Thread Specifications  
   

   

About Nylon Thread--Nylon was developed in the 1930's. Almost eighty years later it is still one the most widely used synthetic threads in the world. Its high strength-to-thickness ratio, abrasion resistance, ease of sewing, and relatively low cost are the key reasons for this success. The bottom-line is that nylon seams last "forever".  As a general purpose thread it does everything well but there are more specialized threads that out perform nylon in specific areas:

  • Strength-- A middleweight (Size 92) nylon thread has a tensile strength of about 15 pounds. At that strength there are very few people who can break it just by pulling. Commonly used threads such as polypropylene, spun polyester, acrylic thread, and cotton have tensile strengths ranging from 4 to 10 pounds. Kevlar is the exception with a 35 pound tensile strength. But, it costs $130.00 a pound compared to $24.00 a pound for nylon.

  • Fire retardance--Nylon thread stands up to heat but is not fire retardant. It yellows at 300°F, sticks at 445°F, and melts at 500°F. Use our fire retardant sewing thread, Kevlar™, or Nomex™ when there is a critical need to protect against heat and fire.

  • Durability--Nylon thread has excellent resistance to mildew, aging, and abrasion. But, it will deteriorate with prolonged exposure to sunlight (UV). Use our polyester thread when you are sewing outdoor items such as tents, awnings, lawn furniture, and sails. Polyester thread looks just like nylon, has about the same strength, and resistance prolonged sunlight.

  • Elasticity--Nylon thread stretches about 26%. This means that 12 inches of nylon will stretch to 15 inches over time. This is usually good because it lets your seams adjust to movement and changes in temperature. Because nylon stretches, it may not be a good choice for projects involving webbing or hanging things. Kevlar and Waxed Thread are better choices.

Nylon Thread Sizes--We sell nylon thread in eleven sizes (thicknesses) ranging from hair-thin to cord-like. We use U.S. commercial sizes to identify thread sizes and also show equivalent Tex and Government size designations. Here are descriptions and examples of what happens as thread size increases:

   

Size 33

Size 69

Size 138

Size 346

 
 

Tensile strength increases

5 Lbs

8 Lbs

22 Lbs

53 Lbs

 
 

Thread diameter increases

0.0080 In

0.0115 In

0.0163 In

0.0258

 
 

Yards per pound decrease

13,800 Yards

6,000 Yards

3,000 Yards

1,200 Yards

 
 

Sewing machine requirements increase

Home

Home

Commercial

Heavy Duty

 
 

Needle size increases

12 to 14

16 to 18

20 to 22

26 to 28

 
 

Stitch visibility increases

Low

Unobtrusive

Noticeable

Stands Out

 

Fabric and leather cost much more than thread. Sewing weakens materials by putting holes in the materials and then dragging thread through those holes, This is why it usually pays to use the smallest possible thread and needle size. Otherwise, you will be left with a great looking seam on a shredded fabric. There are two exceptions: (1) If safety is an issue both the thread and fabric should have the same strength; and (2) If you want stitching to be a focal point (e.g. sports car interiors) use a thread that is heavier than the material.

         

Here is the basic information about the eleven sizes we stock

       
 

Size

         
 

Commercial

TEX

Govt.

Class

Machine Type

Stitch Visibility

Needle Size

 

 

015

15

A

Ultra-Lightweight

Home

Inconspicuous

10 to 12

 

 

033

30

AA

Lightweight

Home

Inconspicuous

12 to 14

 
 

046

45

B

Lightweight

Home

Inconspicuous

14 to 16

 
 

069

70

E

Middleweight

Home

Noticeable

16 to 18

 
 

092

90

F

Middleweight

Commercial

Noticeable

18 to 20

 
 

138

135

FF

Middleweight

Commercial

Noticeable

20 to 22

 
 

207

210

3-Cord

Heavyweight

Commercial

Stands out

22 to 24

 
 

277

270

4-Cord

Heavyweight

Commercial

Stands out

24 to 26

 
 

346

350

5-Cord

Heavyweight

Heavy Duty

Stands out

26 to 28

 
 

415

410

6-Cord

Ultra-Heavyweight

Heavy Duty

Focal point

28 to 30

 
 

554

600

8-Cord

Ultra-Heavyweight

Heavy Duty

Focal point

30 to 32

 

Use Guide by Size--This guide is an alphabetical list of things sewn with nylon thread and the range of sizes they use. Work backwards from the material that you are sewing to the thread size that you need. Remember, thread size usually increases with material thickness, polyester thread is a better choice for items exposed to the elements for long periods of time, and that your sewing machine's capabilities may limit your 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  

 

Size

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

A

                       

Athletic Mats

 

             

Athletic Padding

 

             

Auto Upholstery (most common)

               

Awnings (indoors, light)

 

                 

Awnings (indoors, medium)

 

               

Awnings (indoors, heavy)

 

         
                         

B

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Backpacks

 

           

Bassoon Reeds

                     

Book Binding

 

                 
                         

C

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Canvas (light)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canvas (medium)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canvas (heavy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat Collars

 

             

Cat Leashes

 

             

Corn Hole Bags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costumes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cushions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

D

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Decorative Stitching

 

Dentist Chairs

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Dog Beds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog Collars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog Leashes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         
                         

F

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Fishing Tackle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly Tying

                 
                         

G

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Garments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloves (casual)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloves (work)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

H

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Hammocks

 

 

 

           

 

Hemming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Machine Sewing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horse Blankets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horse Saddles

 

 

 

     

 

                         

I

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Instrument Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

L

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Laptop Cases

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leather (light)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leather (medium)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leather (heavy)

         

Luggage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

M

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Mei Tais

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

O

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Oboe Reeds

 

 

 

               
                         

P

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Purses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

R

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Roll Up Signs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

S

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Sandbags

 

 

 

Stage Curtains

 

 

 

 

                         

T

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Tailoring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tarps (light)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tarps (medium)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tarps (heavy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trouser seats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

U

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Upholstery (automotive)

                 

Upholstery (light)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upholstery (medium)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upholstery (heavy)

           
                         

V

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Vinyl (light)

                 

Vinyl (medium)

                 

Vinyl (heavy)

             
                         

W

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

Wallets

               

Weapons Cases

             

Webbing

             
                         

X

 

015

033

046

069

092

138

207

277

346

415

554

X-Ray Aprons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

 

Nylon Thread Terms--Almost all of our thread is bonded / left-twist. This means that it has a coating to reduce needle heat and thread fraying and is twisted in the direction required by almost all single-needle machines. Here is more information about these terms:

Ply

A single ply of nylon thread consists of many hair thin filaments of nylon bundled or twisted together.

Left Twist / Right Twist

Most threads are made by twisting multiple plies to make the required size. Left Twist (or Z-Twist) thread is twisted to the left and works with almost all single-needle machines. Right Twist (or S-Twist) thread is twisted to the right and is used with some U.S. double-needle machines and single-needle machine needle machines in Asia. Twist does not matter in hand-sewing, tying, or reinforcing.

Bonded

When thread passes through a sewing machine needle the friction creates heat and may cause the thread to fray. A bonded thread has a coating that reduces friction. Bonding is helpful if you are doing high speed sewing with thread size 46 and higher. It does not matter if you are doing hand sewing.

Soft

A soft thread does not have a coating that reduces sewing machine friction. This is desirable if you are using thread with glue (e.g. fly-tying) because bonding interferes with some adhesives.

Monocord

A monocord normally has many hair-thin filaments, but is only one ply. That is why it’s called a monocord, and not a monofilament.  It feels smooth and is slightly flat or ribbon-like, and tends to be shiny. It is also suited for most double needle machines.

Related: Monocord Nylon Thread Information  

   

UV Rated

The thread has a coating to reduce color loss caused by sunlight.

Non-Wicking

The thread is treated so it does not absorb liquids. It sews like bonded thread

   

Nominal Weights--Industry norms allow nylon thread spool weights to vary by ±10% from the stated nominal weight. We follow this practice, but have biased our standards so that customers receive slightly more thread than less thread in most cases. The table on the right shows the range of weights, including the spool, for each nominal weight that we sell. When spools fall within these ranges we do not charge for overages or refund underages.

Weight In Ounces

Nominal Minimum Maximum

2.0

2.6

4.5

4.0

4.6

5.9

6.0

6.0

7.9

8.0

8.0

10.5

12.0

10.6

15.5

16.0

15.6

19.9

Mil Spec Nylon Thread--Some of our nylon thread is identified as Mil Spec. This means that the thread is made in the U.S. and that the manufacturer provides paperwork (called CERTS) that certifies that it conforms to Mil Spec  A-A-59826 (formerly called VT-295E). This certification is required when thread is used on government contracts. We stock Mil Spec nylon thread in military colors such as Olive Drab, Coyote, and Shade 1600 and can special order it in almost any color and size. Special orders have a four to six week lead time, a 23 pound minimum order, and a $2.00 a pound up-charge.

There are two things that we cannot do:

  • Provide CERTS retroactively for thread that does not have the manufacturers paperwork or has not been identified as Mil Spec on our site.

  • Give CERTS for two and four ounce "Juniors" that we wind in-house because we cannot identify these spools to a batch / lot. On request, we can do a special order wind where we identify the Juniors to a manufacturer's batch/lot and issue CERTS. There is a $2.00 a spool up-charge for this service.

Manufacturers have quality control programs to test their thread before it ships. In most cases regular thread is the same as Mil Spec thread. It just does not have the CERTS. Our American & Efird, Eddington, Service Thread, and Coats products are made in the U.S and are not always Berry Amendment compliant. Linhanyl thread is made in Brazil, and it does not comply.

There are many other types of certifications for nylon thread that we do not support. For example, none of our thread is certified for parachutes or medical use and we do not offer certifications for aviation and automobile manufacturers.

Nylon Thread Specifications

                       

Size

                     

U.S. Commercial

15

33

46

69

92

138

207

277

346

415

554

Tex

16

30

45

70

90

135

210

270

350

400

600

Government

00

AA

B

E

F

FF

3 Cord

4 Cord

5 Cord

6 Cord

8 Cord

 

                     

U.S. Specifications

                     

Tensile Strength--Pounds

2

5

8

11

15

22

32

45

53

72

83

Yards-Per-Pound

28,000

13,800

10,000

6,000

4,200

3,000

2,000

1,5tr00

1,200

1,000

656

Diameter--Inches

0.0059

0.0080

0.0094

0.0116

0.0133

0.0163

0.0200

0.0231

0.0258

0.0283

0.0408

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tensile Strength--Kilograms

0.9

2.3

3.6

5.0

6.8

10.0

14.5

20.4

24.0

32.7

37.8

Diameters--Millimeters

0.1499

0.2032

0.2388

0.2921

0.3378

0.4140

0.5080

0.5867

0.6563

0.7188

1.0358

                       

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  

         
         
 

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291A Merrimon Ave., Weaverville, NC 28787

 
         

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