The Nylon Thread Buying Guide helps customers get the right thread for their needs. Our approach is to decide if nylon is the right thread for the job, identify which sizes (thicknesses) should be used, and finally pick the color and spool size that works. We have nylon thread in eleven sizes, over 100 colors, and putups ranging from small spools priced around $10 to discounted cases.
Nylon Thread Uses - Nylon is a general purpose thread designed for applications that require a strong, inexpensive, easy sewing thread with a glossy finish. It is the first choice for upholstery, leatherwork, auto interiors, banners and flags, sports gear, dog collars, horse saddles and tack, knife sheaths, gun holsters, fishing lures, and brief cases. Lighter weight sizes are often used for sewing garments made from nylon or other shiny fabrics. See the Nylon Thread Uses / Size Ranges for details.

There are times when other threads work better than nylon:

Outdoor applications with prolonged sunlight exposure. For example, nylon thread is a great choice for sewing indoor upholstery, and canvas drop cloths used by house painters. In should not be used for outdoor furniture and sewing canvas sails, awnings, tarpaulins. In these cases polyester thread or UVR rated nylon thread are better choices.

Fire retardant garments and gear - Nylon thread yellows at 300F, sticks at 445F and melts at 500F. First responder garments and gear and some high temperature conveyer belts require much more fire retardance. Use .Kevlar and Fire Retardant  in these situations. They are heat resistant to 700F or more and do not melt

Critical strength requirements - Nylon is strong but Kevlar Thread is about twice as strong. For example, size 92 nylon has a 15 pound tensile strength; the same size Kevlar has a 30 pound tensile strength. Kevlar's downside is that it costs about five times more than nylon and only available in yellow. Consider using heavier weight nylon or double-stitching to meet strength requirements.

Cotton-like look - Our nylon thread has a smooth, glossy, shiny finish that does not go well with garments that need a soft, fuzzy, cotton-like look. Cotton, spun polyester and nylon thread, and fuzzy nylon are better and less expensive choices. We do not sell these products.

Nylon Thread Size -  Thread size refers to the thread's approximate thickness. Thread is soft and spongy and its thickness cannot be accurately measured with calipers. The Commercial and Tex sizes on our site measure the weight of a fixed length of thread. For example, a 1,000 meters of Tex 70 weighs 70 grams. Having said this, the military includes thread thickness in their specifications and we include them in our Nylon Thread Specifications.

 

Thread size is important because it affects so many things:

When thread size increases...   When thread size increases...  

Thread diameter

Increases

Stitch visibility

Increases

Strength

Increases

Sewing machine size

Increases

Sewing heat and friction

Increases

Yards per pound

Decreases

Needle size

Increases

 

 

The material that you are sewing costs far more than the thread. In most cases (parachutes excepted) it is better for the thread to break than to have the stitches pull through the fabric. This means that the weight of the fabric, in ounces per square yard, is the best way to determine thread size. Here are size recommendations for fabric and leather.

Fabric Ounces Per Yard

Thread Size Range

Leather Ounces Per Yard

Thread Size Range

2 to 6 Ounces

15 to 33

1 to 8 Ounces

46 to 207

6 to 8 Ounces

33 to 46

8 to 12 Ounces

138 to 277

8 to 10 Ounces

46 to 69

12 to 16 Ounces

207 to 346

10 to 12 Ounces

69 to 92

Multiple Layers

207 to 346

12 to 14 Ounces

92 to 207

   

There other things to consider. You may use a thinner thread because your machine cannot handle a heavier thread. Or, you may choose a thicker thread because you want stitches to stand out.

Bonded or soft? - Bonded means that a thread has a coating that reduces needle heat and fraying. It makes thread stiffer and about 5% thicker than soft thread that does not have a coating. The choice between bonded and soft depends on how the thread is going to be used and thread thickness. Here are our recommendations:

Sewing Application

Recommendation

Machine sewing lightweight
thread sizes 15 to 46

Lightweight thread sizes generate little needle heat
and are unlikely to fray. Bonded and soft thread work
equally well.

Machine sewing thread sizes
69 and higher

Bonded thread is strongly recommended

Hand sewing

It does not matter if you use bonded or soft thread.

Wrapping and gluing

Soft thread is preferred because bonded thread often
repels glues and adhesives. You can soak a bonded
thread in alcohol to remove the bonding.

Other non-sewing applications
such as hanging and reinforcing

Finish does not matter in most cases. Bonded thread
is better if it is going through a narrow tube.

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 a better choice for one-time jobs, casual sewers, people who need a stash of many colors, and experimenters.

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 plus/minus 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. Here are the weight ranges we use:

Nominal Weight Nominal Minimum Nominal Maximum Nominal Weight Nominal Minimum Nominal Maximum

2 Oz

2.6 Oz

4.5 Oz

8 Oz

8.0 Oz

10.5 Oz

4 Oz

4.6 Oz

5.9 Oz

12 Oz

10.6 Oz

15.5 Oz

6 Oz

6.0 Oz

7.9 Oz

16 Oz

15.6 Oz

19.9 Oz

Spool base width and height vary with the putup:
Putup Base Height Putup Base Height Putup Base Height
 2 and 4 Oz 2.5" 4.5" 8 Oz 3.5" 5.5" 12 and 16 Oz 4.5" 7.5"
 

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. Nylon's stretchiness may not be desirable in some hanging, reinforcing, or wrapping applications. When this is so, consider less stretchy threads such as cotton, spun polyester, or Kevlar.

Twist -  Most of the nylon thread on our site is left twist (also called Z-twist) because that is what single-needle machines made for the U.S. use. We have a few, clearly marked, right twist (also called S-twist) thread for double-needle machines. A thread's twist makes no difference when it comes to hand-sewing and non-sewing applications.

Monocord Nylon Thread - Regular nylon thread has two or more plies that are twisted together and bonded. Monocord nylon thread is made from hair-thin nylon filaments that are bonded together in a single ply. This gives the thread a smooth, flat, ribbon-like texture and makes it 10% to 14% stronger than regular nylon. Its single ply runs smoother through needles reducing needle change frequency. Since it has no twist, it can be used with both needles in a double-needle machine and for bi-directional sewing. Machine retensioning is usually required when switching between regular and monocord thread.

Use monocord nylon any place that regular nylon is used. It is the first choice for low profile stitching where stitches are inconspicuously buried in the fabric or leather. Burying stitches makes them less susceptible to abrasion, wear, and tear. This is a big advantage in furniture upholstery, automobile seats, climbing gear, and pet accessories.

Some of our monocord is labeled UVR. This means that has sunlight (UV) resistance similar to polyester.

Monocord nylon thread has the same vibrant color range as regular nylon. It is not transparent like monofilament.

Nylon Thread Specifications

Size

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

                     

Pounds

2.0

5.0

8.0

11.0

15.0

22.0

32.0

45.0

53.0

73.0

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

                     

Inches - decimal

0.0059

0.0080

0.0094

0.0116

0.1333

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

40/1000

Millimeters

0.1010

0.2032

0.2388

0.2921

0.3378

0.4140

0.5080

0.5867

0.6563

0.7188

1.0358

Needle 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

120-14-

140-180

180-220

220-260

260-330

300-360

Nominal Yards

                     

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

 
Thread Size and Machine Type - As thread size increases, a more powerful machine is needed to push the thread through the material.
 

Home

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Commercial

     

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Heavy Duty

         

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Thread Size / Stitch Visibility - Do you want the stitches noticed?
 

Inconspicuous

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Noticeable

       

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Stands Out

         

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Focal Point

             

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Nylon Thread Uses / Size Ranges - Best size depends on material thickness, seam strength, stitch visibility and sewing machine size.

Sizes

15

33

46

69

92

138

207

277

346

415 554

Athletic Mats

   

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Athletic Pads

 

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Auto Interiors - Sizes 138 and 207 are most popular. Use polyester in sunny places (e.g. Arizona).

     

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Awnings - Indoor use (e.g. bed canopies). Otherwise use polyester.

   

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Backpacks

   

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Banners and Flags - Use nylon in most cases. Exceptions are banners and flags that are regularly displayed outdoors.

 

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Bassoon and Oboe Reeds

         

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Bookbinding - Most bookbinders use polyester. Waxed thread is also popular.

     

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Sizes

15

33

46

69

92

138

207

277

346

415 554

Cat Collars and Leashes

   

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Corn Hole Bags - Use polyester if bags are left outside

   

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Curtains and Drapes - Residential

   

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Curtains and Drapes - Office and stage

       

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Costumes

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Cushions - Use polyester for outdoor and marine.

 

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Decorative Stitching

                     

Lightweight (garments, purses, swimsuits)

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Middleweight (handbags, golf jackets)

     

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Heavyweight (knife sheaths, saddles)

         

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Dentist / Barber Chairs

   

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Dog - Beds, collars, leashes, and harnesses

 

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Sizes

15

33

46

69

92

138

207

277

346

415 554

Fishing Rod Wrap - Bonded thread resists some adhesives. Use soft thread or soak the thread in alcohol.

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Garments

                     

Lightweight (Swimsuits, t-shirts, pants)

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Middleweight (Windbreakers, blue jeans)

   

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Heavyweight (Leather jackets, overalls work gear)

       

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Gloves

                     

Dress

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Work - Do not use nylon for fire retardant gear. Use our Kevlar and Fire Retardant thread.

   

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Sizes

15

33

46

69

92

138

207

277

346

415 554

Hammocks - Use polyester if hammocks are left outside.

         

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Horse

                     

Blankets

   

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Saddles and Tack

         

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Laptop Cases - Leather, ballistic, vinyl

   

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Leatherwork

                     

Lightweight - Slippers, small bags

 

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Middleweight - Moccasins, wallets, handbags

     

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Heavyweight - Shoes, boots, jackets

         

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Sizes

15

33

46

69

92

138

207

277

346

415 554

Luggage - Sizes 207 and up are for show.

     

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Purses and Handbags

   

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Sandbags

                     

Less than 20 pounds of sand

   

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More than 20 pounds of sand

       

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15

33

46

69

92

138

207

277

346

415 554

Tailoring - Used with shiny fabric. Most use cotton and spun threads

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Tarpaulins - Polyester in the same sizes is preferred for outdoor use.

                     

Lightweight - Drop cloth

 

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Middleweight - Plant cover

     

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Heavyweight - Pool cover, circus tent

         

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Upholstery / Furniture

                     

Lightweight - Chenille

 

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Middleweight - Slip covers

     

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Heavyweight - Leather

         

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Sizes

15

33

46

69

92

138

207

277

346

415 554

Vinyl

                     

Lightweight - Badge holders, toys

   

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Middleweight - Wall coverings, dust covers

     

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Heavyweight - Pool liners

         

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Wallets

 

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Weapon Cases

   

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Webbing

                     

Lightweight - Lawn chairs

 

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Middleweight - Straps

     

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Heavyweight - Conveyer belts

         

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X-Ray Aprons

 

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