Products sewn with polyester thread use a range of thread sizes. Here are size recommendations for automobiles, awnings, backpacks, banners and flags, boating, boots, bookbinding, clothing, covers, curtains, furniture upholstery, leatherwork, luggage and cases, motorcycles, patio furniture, pet accessories, restaurant decor, snowmobiles, and tents.

Information Topics

Polyester Thread

Polyester Thread Use / Size Ideas - Here are sewing applications that typically use polyester thread and the range of sizes our customers use. Remember, there is no automatic "right" size for any application. Material thickness and density, seam strength requirements, "look" preferences, and machine capabilities always need to be considered. . Often, the "right" thread size is a compromise that balances these competing factors.
Automobiles - Both nylon and polyester thread work well for automobile seats and interiors. Use polyester for convertible tops and covers.
  • Upholstery - Use sizes ranging from 69 to 415 depending on stitch visibility.
  • Convertible tops - Use sizes 92 to 207 depending on fabric thickness. Use heavier thread sizes when stitch visibility is required.
  • Automobile covers - Use sizes 46 to 207 depending on fabric thickness and density.
Awnings - Polyester thread is the first choice for awnings used outdoors. Indoor awnings can be sewn with nylon or polyester.
  • Lightweight (bed canapes) - Use sizes 46 or 69.
  • Middleweight (patio umbrellas) - Use sizes 92 to 207
  • Heavyweight (see left) - Use sizes 138 to 554 depending on awning size.
Backpacks - Nylon and polyester thread work equally well when backpacks spend most of their time in storage. Polyester is better when backpacks are kept outdoors most of the time.
  • Children's backpacks and book bags - Use sizes 46 to 69.
  • Hiking and camping - Use sizes 69 to 138.
  • Military style - Use sizes 92 to 207.
Banners and flags - Nylon and polyester work equally well when banners and flags are used indoors or taken outside on special occasions. Use polyester thread for banners and flags are used outdoors for an extended time.
  • Lightweight vinyl - Use sizes 33 to 92 depending on vinyl density.
  • Mid-size (see picture) - Use sizes 92 to 207.
  • Large banners - Use sizes 138 to 554.
Boating - Polyester thread works well for boat upholstery, sails, canapes, and covers because of its UV, moisture, and mildew resistance. There are threads designed for marine use that we do not sell. They outperform polyester over time. But, they are pricey.
  • Upholstery - Sizes range from 46 to 207 depending on stitch visibility preferences
  • Sails - Use sizes 46 to 92 for lightweight vinyl and nylon. Canvas sails use sizes 92 to 346 depending on seam stress.
  • Canapes and covers - Thread sizes range from 69 to 207 depending on size and seam stress.
Boots - Both nylon and polyester thread are used for boots and shoes and work equally well:
  • Decorative stitching - Use sizes 15 to 46 depending on pattern density. Consider Robison-Anton Polyester Embroidery Thread for intricate patterns.
  • Upper seams - Use sizes 69 to 207 depending on stitch visibility.
  • Attaching soles - Use sizes 207 to 346. Sizes 415 and 554 are sometimes used to make welts a focal point.
Bookbinding - Polyester thread is the first choice when stitching is visible and books are expected to have a long shelf life. This is because polyester's UV (sunlight) resistance retards yellowing. Nylon and spun polyester work just as well with hidden stitches or books that do not need to last.

Bookbinders typically use sizes 69 to 138. Heavier threads are used when having stitches become a focal point is needed. Bookbinding requires heavy duty machines that can go through leather and paper.

Clothing - Most garments are sewn with lightweight spun polyester and cotton. But, there are exceptions where nylon and polyester threads predominate:
  • Outdoor coats and jackets use sizes 33 to 69.
  • Leather coats and jackets use sizes 69 to 138. Heavier thread sizes are sometimes used to make stitches stand out.
  • Dressy leather gloves use sizes 15 to 46; gardening gloves use sizes 33 to 69; and work gloves use sizes 46 to 92.

 Note: First responder clothing and gear should use Kevlar or Fire Retardant Thread.

Covers - Nylon and polyester work equally well when covers are mainly used indoors. Use polyester for covers used outdoors.
  • Lightweight (vinyl and nylon) - Use sizes 46 to 69.
  • Middleweight (tents, boat covers) - Use sizes 92 to 207.
  • Heavyweight (truck covers, tarpaulins) - Use sizes 138 to 346 depending on material thickness and cover size.
Curtains - The choice between nylon and polyester comes down to how much direct sunlight the sewn area will receive. Also, spun polyester, cotton and monofilament are used for shear see-through curtains:
  • Lightweight (shear) - Sizes 15 to 46.
  • Middleweight (drapes) - Sizes 69 to 138 depending on the material thickness.
  • Heavyweight (stage) - Sizes 138 to 346.
Furniture upholstery - Nylon thread predominates with indoor furniture, but polyester works just as well.
  • Cloth cushions - Use sizes 69 to 138.
  • Cloth upholstery - Use sizes 92 to 207.
  • Leather upholstery - Use sizes 92 to 277.
Leatherwork - Nylon and polyester thread work equally well with leather. Thread size mostly depends on how stitching is supposed to look:
  • Belts - Use sizes 69 to 277.
  • Horse tack, harnesses, saddles - Use sizes 207 to 415.
  • Holsters - Use sizes 207 to 346.
  • Knife sheaths - Use sizes 138 to 277.
  • Wallets - Use sizes 46 to 207.
Luggage and carrying cases - Nylon and polyester work equally well. Thread size depends on case size. Leather cases sometimes use heavier threat sizes for stitch visibility.
  • Computer cases - Use sizes 69 to 92.
  • Duffel bags - Use sizes 46 to 138
  • Gun cases - Use sizes 69 to 207
  • Luggage - Use sizes 69 to 207.
  • Musical instrument cases - Use sizes 69 to 138
Motorcycles - Use nylon or polyester thread for motorcycle seats or saddlebags. Polyester is better if the motorcycle is left outdoors most of the time. Thread sizes depend on how stitching is supposed to look,
  • Covers - Use sizes 92 to 207.
  • Leather clothing - Use sizes 69 to 138.
  • Saddlebags - Use sizes 138 to 277.
  • Seats - Use sizes 138 to 346.
Patio furniture and accessories - Use polyester thread whenever possible.
  • Cushions - Use sizes 46 to 138.
  • Chairs and chaises - Use sizes 69 to 207.
  • Pool covers - Use sizes 92 to 346 depending on the area covered.
  • Umbrellas - Use sizes 138 to 277 depending on fabric thickness.
  • Webbing - Use sizes 69 to 138 to fasten webbing to frames.
Pet accessories - Nylon and polyester thread work equally well with leather and fabric. Size depends mostly how stitching is supposed to look. Seam strength is a secondary consideration. Cat accessories use thinner thread than dog accessories; and fabric accessories use thinner thread than leather accessories.
  • Collars - Use sizes 69 to 207.
  • Leashes - Use sizes 46 to 207.
  • Pet carriers - Sizes 69 to 138.
  • Pet clothing - Use middleweight spun polyester or cotton.
  • Pet toys - Sizes 46 to 92.  Determined pets can chew through any thread - even Kevlar
Restaurant decor - Use nylon or polyester thread for indoor furnishings. Use polyester for outdoor patio furniture.
  • Bar stools - Use sizes 46 to 92.
  • Booths - Use sizes 69 to 207.
  • Chairs - Use sizes 33 to 92.
  • Cushions - Use sizes 46 to 138.
Snowmobiles - When snowmobiles are garaged indoors nylon and polyester thread work equally well. Use polyester thread if they are kept outside and for all covers.
  • Covers - Use sizes 92 to 207.
  • Seats - Use 138 to 346 depending on stitch visibility.
  • Snowsuits - Use sizes 46 to 92.
Tents - Use either nylon or polyester thread for small recreational tents used on camping trips. Use polyester thread for tents that stay outdoors most of the time. Seam stress increases as the area covered by the tent increases. This means that thread size needs to increase accordingly:
  • Small camping tents - Use sizes 46 to 92.
  • Mid-size party tents - Use sizes 92 to 207.
  • Large event tents - Use sizes sizes 207 to 554.

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