Over time, I’ve done quite some research on new tools, new techniques and different types of leather… but I seemed to be stuck in the same type of thread since the beginning. I know there are different kinds of threads but which ones… I don’t actually know. To enrich my knowledge of leathercraft and to give you a small overview the least I could do is look it up. I’ve only worked with two kinds of thread… so my experience with different types is limited. But maybe you could share your knowledge in the comments below!
Types of material
There are different materials your thread can be made of. The most common ones are probably the Nylon and polyester since they are synthetic types of thread. This makes it really strong but also less authentic. Besides these two materials, you can also buy linen or silk thread. Linen is made of the flax plant and is very strong and durable. It is used over centuries and is even a little bit stronger when it becomes wet. Silk is also a strong natural thread but stretches more easily. Which one is better, synthetic or natural is an endless debate on the internet and eventually, you will have to choose a type that suits your work and your preference.
Types of structure
Besides the materials, you have choices in different kinds of structure. You can choose from S- and Z-twisted thread (mainly Z – explained in this video) or go for a multi-filament braided thread which should un-raffle less easily. When they decided to braid it they also made difference between round braided or flat braided. Is it starting to become too much?? Now I remember why I stopped at a certain point in my research ;). The difference between the types of structure is mainly important if you stitch your leather projects by hand. The direction of the motion of hand-stitching will influence the direction of the twist of your thread and makes it twist around itself..
Types of thicknesses
Every company decided to make it even more easy to choose… to create their own scales of thicknesses. Ian Atkinson tried to come up with a conversion table to translate the different sizes to the scales of others. Check this page of his website out if you are curious. What I do know about the different thicknesses of a leather thread is when you choose a certain number stitches per inch (SPI) you can adjust the thickness of your thread as well. The closer the stitches are, the smaller your thickness usually is.
Types of finish
So now you have decided on the type of material, the type of structure and you’ve chosen the right thickness for your project… that means you are almost done! Last but not least you can choose if you would like your thread pre-waxed or unfinished. Usually, beeswax is used so it slides more easily through the stitching holes and it protects the thread of influences from outside such as dust, water or durt. Whether you wax your thread yourself or if you buy it pre-waxed does not matter that much ;). Again, it’s all about whatever you prefer.
Personally, I would like to try the Lin au Chinnos but at the moment it is still a little over my budget and would make my products even more expensive. Therefore I use mainly tiger thread; a polyester, braided, flat woven, and pre-waxed type of thread from Riza. It is available in multiple colors and I like the look of it. If I am looking for a thinner type, I use a 100% polyester ultra-strong one for the sewing machine from our local craft store which I wax manually. Further, I have little to no experience with other brands and look forward to your opinions about it! Which one is your personal favorite?