What thread to use for Handbags

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Most of our work is machine stitched, so let’s talk threads.

You need to choose a thread that’s right for the job, so let’s start with its composition.  Polyester (or commonly referred to as ‘all-purpose’) is your most popular choice as it’s generally the most durable option, available in varied thicknesses and colourfast. Cotton and Silk options are great for more delicate work and fabrics as they can also be colourfast; however, they don’t have a lot of ‘give’ so use on materials with little to no stretch or risk snapping. If you’d prefer to avoid nylon, silk has more stretch than cotton. A small tip – if there’s a chance you’ll need to stitch through double-sided tape within your project, avoid using cotton/silk threads as the stickiness of the tape causes tension and tugs on the thread which encourages it to snap.

We use Coats lubricated polyester threads as the quality is superior to cheaper alternatives. It is essential to use a thread that is fit for purpose, so for leather, its higher breaking strength, optimum stretch characteristics and excellent abrasion resistance produce work that is smooth to work with and looks good. It’s no good making a beautiful product if the thread is not strong enough to hold it together.

Interestingly, you can now purchase threads made from recycled elements such as plastic bottles! Many seem to be offering the same qualities as your ‘all-purpose’ nylon thread which looks a great alternative, despite perhaps being more costly, it’s worth looking into – we are!

The thickness of your thread will be referred to as it’s weight or ticket size. The lower the number, the thicker it’ll be. Usually jumping in increments of 10; we stick between the 10-80 tickets. Varied projects mean varied thicknesses but, we’ve put a little example below of our general usage.

Topstitching: 10, 20, 30

General seams, small leather goods and fine clutch bags: 40, 60, 80

The fun bit is choosing the colour. Threads are available in various shades and can become a real focal point on your product so take your time in selecting the correct colour. Professional threads are chosen from colour cards supplied by the manufacturer, and sometimes the perfect shade is not available. There may also be minimums. We find that the colour often looks different once stitched into the leather/fabric. If you’re able to, get a scrap piece of your fabric/leather and stitch various colours next to one another – it’s easier to judge which looks best if they’re all on one piece.  Rule of thumb with handbags is to go a shade lighter than the leather but its personal choice.

Finally, colours can vary from batch to batch so always ensure you’ve enough thread before you start and don’t forget to choose the correct needle. Happy stitching!