Can You Use Thick Thread in Sewing Machine? Top 10 Tips

Embarking on a creative sewing project often raises the question, Can You Use Thick Thread in Sewing Machine? This inquiry stems from the desire to explore diverse textures and styles in our stitching endeavors. Understanding the compatibility of thick threads with your machine is crucial for achieving impeccable results.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the art of sewing with thicker threads, providing insights, tips, and techniques to ensure a seamless experience. Discover how leveraging the right tools and techniques can elevate your sewing projects to new heights, all while using thick thread effortlessly.

Salient Points

  • Thick thread, usually up to 12wt, is suitable for most sewing machines.
  • Using thread thicker than 12wt can cause needle breakage and tension issues.
  • Thicker threads may lead to uneven stitching and bobbin jams due to improper tension settings.
  • Sticking to the recommended thread weight range ensures smooth operation and high-quality stitching.

Different Types of Sewing Threads

Below is a breakdown of Different Types of Sewing Threads commonly used in various sewing projects:

Type of ThreadDescriptionCommon Uses
Cotton ThreadMade from natural fibers, cotton thread is strong and durable. It’s ideal for sewing lightweight fabrics like cotton, linen, and rayon.Used in quilting, general sewing, and embroidery.
Polyester ThreadPolyester thread is synthetic and known for its strength and resistance to stretching and shrinking. It’s suitable for both hand and machine sewing.Great for sewing garments, upholstery, and outdoor gear.
Nylon ThreadNylon thread is also synthetic and incredibly strong. It’s resistant to abrasion and mildew, making it perfect for heavy-duty sewing projects.Used in leatherwork, shoe repair, and canvas sewing.
Silk ThreadMade from natural silk fibers, silk thread is smooth and delicate. It’s ideal for delicate fabrics like silk, satin, and chiffon.Commonly used in high-end fashion and couture sewing.
Rayon ThreadRayon thread is a synthetic thread with a silky appearance. It’s soft and lustrous, making it suitable for decorative stitching and embroidery.Used for decorative stitching, embellishments, and crafts.
Metallic ThreadMetallic thread is made with a core wrapped in metallic foil or polyester film. It’s best used in moderation as it can be challenging to work with due to its tendency to break or fray.It adds sparkle and shine to embroidery and decorative stitching.
Quilting ThreadQuilting thread is made from cotton or polyester and has a slightly thicker weight to withstand the stress of quilting layers of fabric. It comes in various colors to complement quilt designs.Quilting thread is specifically designed for quilting projects.

These thread types offer different characteristics suited for various sewing projects, ranging from lightweight fabrics to heavy-duty materials. Depending on the project’s requirements, choosing the appropriate thread ensures optimal results and longevity.

Is It Possible to Sew with Thick Thread?

When considering sewing with thick thread, it’s important to understand the implications it can have on your project. Thick thread, typically defined by its diameter, presents both challenges and opportunities in sewing. The thickness of the thread affects several aspects of the sewing process, including needle selection, tension settings, and seam appearance. While it is possible to sew with thick thread, it requires adjustments to accommodate its unique characteristics.

Firstly, needle selection is crucial when working with thick thread. Needles with larger eye sizes are needed to accommodate the thickness of the thread. Using a needle with too small an eye can cause friction and breakage. Additionally, adjusting the tension settings on your sewing machine is necessary to ensure proper stitch formation. Thick thread requires looser tension to allow it to flow smoothly through the machine without causing bunching or snapping.

Furthermore, seam appearance is impacted by thick thread. While it can create bold and decorative stitches, it may also result in bulkier seams, which could be undesirable depending on the project. For heavy-duty items like canvas bags or denim jeans, thick thread can provide extra durability. However, for finer fabrics or delicate garments, it might be too conspicuous.

Thus, sewing with thick thread is indeed possible, but it requires careful consideration and adjustments to equipment and technique. By selecting the appropriate needle, adjusting tension, and being mindful of seam appearance, one can effectively utilize thick thread to achieve desired results in their sewing projects.

Mastering Sewing Machines: Can You Use Thick Thread in Sewing Machine

Can You Use Thick Thread in Sewing Machine?

When considering using thick thread in a sewing machine, it’s crucial to understand the limitations of your machine. The heaviest thread typically suitable for most sewing machines is 12wt. This measurement indicates the thickness of the thread; lower numbers represent thicker threads.

Attempting to use thread thicker than 12wt can lead to various issues. Firstly, the needle may struggle to accommodate the thickness, leading to breakage or bending. Secondly, the tension settings may not be able to properly handle the thicker thread, resulting in uneven stitching or jamming.

Additionally, the bobbin thread may not feed smoothly, causing bobbin jams. Using an example, let’s say you try to use a 16wt thread in a machine designed for 12wt or lighter. The needle may have difficulty piercing through the fabric due to the thread’s thickness, leading to skipped stitches or damage to the fabric.

Thus, it’s essential to stick within the recommended thread weight range for your sewing machine to ensure smooth operation and high-quality stitching.

Mastering Sewing Machines: Can You Use Thick Thread in Sewing Machine

How to Use Thick Thread in Sewing Machine?

Using thick thread in a sewing machine requires some adjustments to ensure smooth stitching without damaging the machine or the fabric.

  • Choose the Right Needle: Use a needle suitable for thick thread. Look for needles labeled as “heavy-duty” or “denim” which have larger eyelets to accommodate thicker threads.
  • Thread Tension Adjustment: Adjust the tension on your sewing machine. Loosen the tension slightly to accommodate the thicker thread. Test the tension on a scrap piece of fabric before starting your project.
  • Select the Appropriate Stitch: Choose a stitch that is suitable for thick thread and the type of fabric you are sewing. Straight stitches or zigzag stitches are often good options for sewing with thick thread.
  • Check Bobbin Compatibility: Ensure your bobbin can accommodate the thick thread. Wind the bobbin slowly and evenly to prevent it from getting tangled or jammed in the machine.
  • Slow Sewing Speed: Sew at a slower speed when using thick thread to prevent the thread from breaking or causing tension issues.
  • Use Proper Thread Guides: Make sure the thread guides are properly aligned and that the thread is threading correctly through the machine. Improper threading can lead to stitching problems.
  • Practice on Scrap Fabric: Before starting your actual project, practice sewing with the thick thread on a scrap piece of fabric to familiarize yourself with how the machine handles it.
  • Regular Maintenance: Keep your sewing machine well-maintained by cleaning and oiling it regularly. This ensures smooth operation and prevents issues when sewing with thick thread.

By following these steps, you can effectively use thick thread in your sewing machine without encountering major issues.

How to Choose Sewing Machine Thread?

Selecting the right sewing machine thread is crucial for ensuring the quality and durability of your sewing projects. The thread you choose should match the fabric type, project requirements, and the capabilities of your sewing machine. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make the best choice.

1. Consider Thread Material

Thread material plays a significant role in determining the strength, appearance, and compatibility of the thread with your fabric. Common thread materials include cotton, polyester, silk, and nylon.

  • Cotton: Ideal for natural fibers like cotton and linen, offering a soft finish and good tension.
  • Polyester: Versatile and durable, suitable for most fabrics, including synthetic and blended materials.
  • Silk: Provides a luxurious finish, best for delicate fabrics and fine stitching.
  • Nylon: Known for its elasticity and strength, suitable for stretchy fabrics and heavy-duty projects.

2. Assess Thread Weight

Thread weight refers to its thickness, usually indicated by a number on the thread spool. Lower numbers denote thicker threads, while higher numbers represent finer threads.

  • Heavy-weight threads (lower numbers): Suitable for thick fabrics and decorative stitching.
  • Medium-weight threads (middle numbers): Versatile and commonly used for general sewing purposes.
  • Light-weight threads (higher numbers): Ideal for lightweight fabrics and delicate stitching.

3. Match Thread Color

Choosing the right thread color is essential for achieving seamless and professional-looking seams. Aim to match the thread color as closely as possible to your fabric color. If an exact match isn’t available, opt for a slightly darker shade rather than lighter, as it will blend in better.

  • Neutral colors (black, white, gray): Versatile options that work well with a variety of fabrics and projects.
  • Matching colors: Choose a thread color that closely resembles the main color of your fabric for discreet stitching.
  • Contrasting colors: Use contrasting thread for decorative stitching or to make certain elements stand out.

4. Evaluate Thread Quality

Thread quality significantly impacts the durability and performance of your sewing projects. Opt for high-quality threads from reputable brands to avoid issues like breakage, fraying, and uneven tension.

  • Check for consistency: Inspect the thread for uniform thickness and smooth texture.
  • Test strength: Pull the thread gently to ensure it doesn’t break easily.
  • Read reviews: Look for feedback from other sewers to gauge the quality and performance of the thread.

By considering factors such as material, weight, color, and quality, you can confidently choose the right sewing machine thread for your projects. Remember to test your chosen thread on a scrap of fabric before starting your project to ensure optimal results. With the right thread selection, you’ll achieve professional-looking stitches and long-lasting seams.

Pros and Cons of Using Thick Thread in Your Sewing Projects

Thick thread can be a game-changer in your sewing projects, but it also comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.


  • Thick thread provides stronger seams, making your stitches less likely to break.
    The larger size of thick thread can make your stitching more visible, adding a decorative element to your project.
    Since thick thread covers more surface area, you may need fewer stitches overall, saving you time.
    It can add dimension and texture to your sewing, enhancing the overall appearance of your project.


  • Thick thread can create bulkier seams, which may not be suitable for garments or projects requiring a finer finish.
    Not all sewing machines can accommodate thick thread, restricting its use to certain projects or requiring special adjustments.
    Compared to standard thread, thick thread may have a limited range of colors available, limiting your design options.
    Thick thread may pose challenges when sewing in tight corners or narrow spaces, leading to uneven stitches.

Troubleshooting Issues Arising from Using Thick Thread in Your Sewing Machine

When sewing machines encounter thick thread, several issues can arise, affecting the stitching quality and machine performance. Here’s a table outlining common problems, their causes, and solutions:

Thread BreakingInadequate tension adjustmentIncrease tension gradually until the thread holds
Incompatible needle sizeUse a needle appropriate for thick thread (e.g., 90/14)
Thread catching on rough surfacesSmooth out any rough areas on the machine or thread path
Uneven StitchingIncorrect thread pathRethread the machine, ensuring the thread follows the correct path
Incorrect bobbin tensionAdjust bobbin tension or replace the bobbin if necessary
Machine speed too highReduce machine speed to allow for smoother stitching
Skipped StitchesDull or damaged needleReplace with a new needle suitable for thick thread
Thread tension too tight or too looseAdjust tension according to the thickness of the thread
Insufficient presser foot pressureIncrease pressure to ensure proper fabric feeding
Fabric PuckeringIncorrect stitch length settingIncrease stitch length to reduce puckering
Inadequate fabric stabilizationUse stabilizers or interfacing to support the fabric
Incorrect presser foot choiceChoose a presser foot suitable for the fabric thickness

Tips for Sewing with Thick Thread

Sewing with thick thread can be challenging but with the right techniques, you can achieve neat and sturdy stitches. Here are some tips to help you sew effectively with thick thread:

  1. Use a Larger Needle Size: Opt for needles with larger eye sizes to accommodate the thickness of the thread. A needle with a bigger eye reduces friction and prevents the thread from fraying or breaking.
  2. Adjust Tension: Tension settings on your sewing machine may need to be adjusted when working with thick thread. Experiment with different tension settings to ensure the thread feeds smoothly without causing loops or snags.
  3. Lengthen Stitch Length: Increase the stitch length to accommodate the thickness of the thread. Longer stitches prevent the fabric from bunching up and create a more even appearance.
  4. Use a Walking Foot: When sewing thick fabrics or multiple layers, use a walking foot to help feed the fabric evenly through the machine. This prevents uneven stitching and puckering.
  5. Test on Scrap Fabric: Before starting your project, test the thread and tension settings on a scrap piece of fabric to ensure the stitches look even and the thread behaves as expected.
  6. Consider Thread Weight: Pay attention to the weight of the thread you’re using. Thicker threads have a higher weight number. Matching the thread weight to the fabric weight ensures balanced stitches and prevents tension issues.
  7. Hand Crank for Control: For intricate stitching or when sewing in tight spots, use the hand crank on your sewing machine instead of the foot pedal. This gives you more control over the stitching process.
  8. Use Proper Thread Guides: Make sure the thread is passing correctly through all the thread guides on your sewing machine. Incorrect threading can cause the thread to break or jam the machine.
  9. Consider Thread Thickness for Bobbin: If your sewing machine allows, use a bobbin that matches the thickness of the top thread. This ensures balanced tension and prevents thread bunching on the underside of the fabric.
  10. Practice Patience: Sewing with thick thread may require more patience and attention to detail. Take your time and make adjustments as needed to achieve the desired results.


In conclusion, the versatility of modern sewing machines allows for a wide array of creative possibilities, including working with thicker threads. Armed with the knowledge on Can You Use Thick Thread in a Sewing Machine, you can now confidently embark on projects that demand a robust, distinctive stitch.

By selecting the appropriate needle, adjusting tension settings, and employing the right techniques, you’ll breathe life into your creations with ease. So, don’t shy away from experimenting with thicker threads; let your imagination run wild and watch your sewing projects evolve into stunning, texturally rich masterpieces. Elevate your craft today!


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Thick Thread in My Hand Sewing Projects?

Using thick thread for decorative stitching or topstitching can add visual interest and durability to your hand sewing projects. It is also suitable for sewing leather or heavy-duty fabrics, providing strength and longevity to your creations.

What Are the Different Types of Thick Thread Available for Sewing Machines?

Thick thread can be used in sewing machines, but it is important to consider the pros and cons. Some types of thick thread include upholstery thread, topstitching thread, and heavy-duty thread. When choosing the right thickness for different sewing projects, consider the fabric type, needle size, and desired finished look.

Can I Use Thick Thread for Delicate Fabrics or Should I Stick to Regular Thread?

When considering the use of thick thread for delicate fabrics, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages. While thick thread can provide added strength and durability, it may also result in a less refined finish.

Are There Any Specific Sewing Machine Brands or Models That Are Better Suited for Sewing With Thick Thread?

When it comes to sewing machine compatibility for thick thread, there are certain brands and models that are better suited for this purpose. These machines offer benefits such as stronger stitches and the ability to handle thicker fabrics with ease.

Can I Use Thick Thread for Embroidery or Is It Only Suitable for Basic Sewing Stitches?

Thick thread can be used for embroidery, not just basic sewing stitches. It provides a bold, textured look and adds depth to designs. The benefits include enhanced visual impact and the ability to create intricate, decorative stitching.

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