Thread for thought

- - Sewing

Take a quick break from your computer, and go grab your favorite jeans in addition to a garment made of a more delicate fabric to use as a reference as you read the rest of this blog. Go on – we will wait!

Jeans in hand? Silk dress ready to go? Great.

At this point in your design education/career, you most likely understand the numerous steps that go into constructing a garment. You’ve probably had a design dilemma or two where the fabric you selected was not the best choice for the garment you intended to make. Until this point you may have employed the “trial and error” technique when it comes to selecting fabric for a garment, never mind taking the time to select the appropriate thread for the fabric you will be sewing. Who has the time, right?

Well, we are about to save you some time spent on trials and errors by introducing you to our newest video, Introduction to Threads. From describing the difference between thread and yarn to tips on how to select the best color thread for your garment, this video is packed with useful information for designers of all levels.


Take a moment to look at your jeans. Did you know that traditional topstitching on a pair of jeans is stitched with a larger thread that is classified as a tex 60 or a metric ticket (No./Tkt.) size of 30? If this sounds like Greek to you, watch our newest video where you will learn industry classifications for threads in addition to how threads are created so that they can support varying weight of fabrics. Figure out once and for all which threads will support the construction of your designs so that you can take the guesswork out of construction, and hopefully save yourself a little time and money.

Now consider your more delicate garment. Inspect the inside seams and finishing. If you are looking at a silk garment, one might think that a silk thread would be the ideal choice for sewing, however, as a general guideline for basic garment construction, an all purpose thread made of 100% polyester or 100% mercerized cotton is suitable for garments made of linen, cotton, silk wool, blends and manufactured fabrics.

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In fact, in most cases, 100% silk thread would be too strong for basic garment construction because when a seam is stressed, the silk thread maybe much stronger than the fabric which will result in the fabric tearing rather than the thread breaking. Repairing a broken thread is much easier than repairing a torn fabric, and therefore learning these tricks of the trade before you construct your garment, should make for an easier sewing road ahead. For these and other tips on selecting the right thread for your garments, watch now. And for additional information on the qualities of fibers that make up the thread you are using watch below:

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Kara Laricks is a regular contributor to the University of Fashion. She’s also a New York based women's wear and accessories designer. As the first winner of NBC's Fashion Star, Kara has designed collections for H&M, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Her masculine meets feminine line, Kara Laricks, debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2012 and her S/S 2013 collection sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue. Kara's designs have been featured on the Today Show and HBO's True Blood as well as covered in Women's Wear Daily and on Kara holds Master's degrees in both Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas and in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. An educator turned designer, Kara is dedicated to supporting emerging designers and inspiring others to follow where dreams lead.