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Exploring Polyester Thread: Varieties, Differences, & Where to Use Them

Exploring polyester thread varieties and how to use them

Have you ever noticed all the varieties of polyester thread on the market? While it all might be made from the same base material, polyester comes in all kinds of different treatments and finishes, giving them completely different uses and appearances. In this video we’ll go through a wide variety of polyester threads you’ll come across, as well as how you should use them and how they’ll look when stitched out.

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Trilobal Polyester
Trilobal polyester is a gorgeous and shiny thread that loves to show off. The word “tri” in trilobal refers to the shape of the thread which is actually triangular in shape. The flat sides of the thread reflect light much better than a round thread does, making it a shinier thread that is meant to stand out.

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Use trilobal polyester in the embroidery machine for gorgeous results. It’s also a popular quilting thread when you want your quilting to have a little pop of shine. Because this thread is made to stand out, it’s a great choice for outlining, thread painting, or appliquéing a design down, such as with a satin stitch.

WonderFil Trilobal Polyester Thread Lines:
FabuLux™ 40wt (variegated & neon colors)
Polyfast™ 40wt (solid colors)

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Monopoly or Monofilament Thread
This is a thread commonly used when you want to sew something without the thread showing. These threads usually come in clear or smoke and are semi-translucent to help them blend into the fabric. However due to the limited colour range of these threads, they can still be seen when sewn over contrasting patches in the fabric and under bright lights. They are also stiff and inflexible when sewn in the fabric, making it unideal for dense stitching, and are semi-reflective, showing up under bright lights. Many people use these threads for quilting, stitch in the ditch, appliqué, or couching.

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WonderFil does not manufacture monopoly thread as we consider a lightweight cottonized polyester to perform the same techniques at a consistently higher quality.

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Cottonized Polyester
Cottonized polyester is particularly unique because it undergoes a special treatment to take out most of the shine from the thread. This treatment also removes the stretch from it, making it incredibly easy to sew with and making it ideal for piecing and quilting when stretch in the thread is unwanted. While it might be called a cottonized polyester, there is actually zero cotton in the thread. This 100% polyester material is simply called this due to its matte finish and lack of stretch, meaning it looks similar to and sews easily in the machine like a cotton does.

Finer cottonized polyester threads keep their strength even at such a small size, which does wonders for piecing, especially foundation paper piecing and English paper piecing as the thread takes up significantly less bulk in the fabric, allowing seams to lay incredibly flat. And because the thread carries more of a matte finish, it hides in the fabric very easily, blending into the colours behind it with ease. This makes it an ideal replacement for monopoly threads that have an inflexible plastic feel and can still be seen under bright lights.

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Finer cottonized polyester threads are great for quilting when you just want the texture of the quilting to show and not the thread. It’s also perfect for stitch in the ditch, bobbin thread for any top weight thread, and can even be used in the embroidery machine with better results in digitized lace and highly detailed or shrunken designs. Cottonized polyester also comes in medium weights and is a hugely popular material for longarm and midarm quilting. This easy to sew thread is recommended for beginner quilters, or those that want a strong and reliable thread that can sew in multi-directions.

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WonderFil Cottonized Polyester Thread Lines:
InvisaFil™ 100wt
DecoBob™ 80wt
Master Quilter™ 40wt

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Wooly Poly
This fun thread is incredibly flexible, being able to stretch and shrink depending on if it’s relaxed or pulled taught. They’re designed to be used in the serger and its stretching properties make it universally adored for knits and stretch fabrics. Wooly poly thread is recommended for rolled hems, garments, dance wear, swim suits, fitness wear, napkins, and finishing the edges of stretch materials.

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WonderFil Wooly Poly Thread Lines:
SoftLoc™ tex 35

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Cotton Wrapped Poly Thread
Because polyester is such a strong and easy thread to sew with, it’s highly preferred by many sewists. However, what if you want to sew with the ease of a polyester thread, but prefer the look of cotton? Thread manufacturers have come up with thread that has a polyester core but is wrapped on the outside with cotton fibre. This hybrid thread combines both materials into an ideal sewing thread with the natural look and finish of cotton. These threads are most commonly used for quilting and general sewing, and are frequently used on longarm and midarm machines.

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WonderFil Cotton Wrapped Poly Thread Lines:
Ultima™ 40wt

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Enhanced Multi-Filament Polyester
An enhanced multi-filament polyester is designed for ultra-strength, best used for heavy-duty sewing on thicker materials such as leather, pleather, vinyl, cork, and upholstery fabrics. You’ll want to choose this thread when you want to give your projects more durability, such as when sewing wallets, bags, purses, or home décor. In a thicker weight, it also provides a beautiful decorative stitch on your projects.

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For best results, we recommend pairing any weight of an enhanced multi-filament polyester on the top with a 60wt of the same thread in the bobbin. Because this thread is so incredibly strong, it should be used with itself top and bottom, with the lighter 60wt in the bottom to help seams lay flatter and promote better machine tension for higher quality stitches.

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WonderFil Enhanced Multi-Filament Polyester Thread Lines:
HomeDec™ 30wt, 40wt, 60wt

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All-Purpose Polyester
This is the most generic and one of the most commonly found polyesters. It isn’t made to be used to show off, but rather behind the scenes in constructing garments, dresses and wedding gowns, and in sergers. This thread carries a little bit of stretch to it, which is great for clothing, as it has a little more give in the seams. No one wants to hear the dreaded “pop-popping” of stitches being snapped out. An all-purpose polyester tends to be lower in cost, versatile, and can be used for any general sewing.

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WonderFil All-Purpose Polyester Thread Lines:
Designer™ 40wt

Tell us how you like to use polyester threads in your own projects, or share something you made with us using WonderFil threads! Instagram @wonderfilspecialtythread or on Faceback @WonderFil, or use #wonderfil to tag us.


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