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  1. #1
    Senior Member WarmSoda's Avatar
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    Nylon upholstry thread, why not?

    So I found a used thread injector at a garage sale for $10 that looks like some kid's "my first sewing machine" which is perfect for me to learn on. I have some $1.50 ripstop from Walmart, and some camo ripstop on the way (thanks to sclittlefield and the group buy). I've got some really cool ideas for a top quilt and an Under quilt. I have 900 down on the way from another group buy. I've read just about everything I can get my hands on and I'm super excited to get started.


    My plan was to make a stuff sack first out of the Walmart ripstop to get the machine settings right. Then maybe a gear hammock to practice with longer seams.

    I have almost everything ready to go, but I don't have any thread. I went to the local sewing store looking for guterman 100% polyester, since that is what was recommended in my readings. When talking to the lady in the store, after hearing what I was using it for, she had recommended some heavy duty upholstery thread made of nylon. She knows a lot more about this than I do, so it made me pause. I paused so much that I didn't buy either one and came home to read some more. I couldn't find much more than "use guterman, it works for me".

    I know that there are some issues with rot and cotton thread is out of the question, but why not nylon thread? The fabric is nylon and would have some stretch presumably, so wouldn't it make sense to use nylon thread on nylon fabric? Anyway, I couldn't explain to the lady or myself why I needed 100% polyester guterman thread, so I recognized that I needed more information. Please help me clear this knowledge deficiency.

  2. #2
    Senior Member KerMegan's Avatar
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    your point is valid. a good qualitly nylon thread would be excellent for nylon fabric. upolstery thread might be a little too big for a best practices, considering it is designed for sturdy=heavy=thick fabrics expecting years of constant wear on furniture. lightweight nylon/ripstop gets occasional light use, and is thinner by far, so, only needs a thinner thread. G's poly thread has very little stretch, but the amount of stretch from hole to hole on the fabric is also very small- it only seems like a lot when you add it all together.
    (1000 holes x .01" expansion per hole=10" after all)
    Just buy the best you can get, and see how it goes. HTH, KM

  3. #3
    sclittlefield's Avatar
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    You can use Nylon thread for outdoor gear. Just no Cotton, like you said. However, you should know that some folks have had issues with nylon thread in their machines due to it's stretch.

    Upholstry thread is much more than you need for the projects you're talking about. I wouldn't use that unless I was making a backpack... or upholstry.
    DIY Gear Supply - Your source for DIY outdoor gear.

  4. #4
    Senior Member WarmSoda's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick replies. So would a v46 size be better or is that still overkill?

  5. #5
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    I personally would avoid nylon thread like the plague. Trying to get nylon thread through a sewing machine has never been successful for me because the stretch really throws off the tension adjustments. In my experience nylon thread is most often used for making "invisible" stitches by hand. For example, in upholstery there are places where it is helpful to sew overlapping layers of fabric for the sake of stability. Hand sewing with nylon thread works very nicely for that and the stitches really are almost invisible. But in a machine the tension plates and the nylon stretch simply don't mix. YMMV.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  6. #6
    Senior Member WarmSoda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    I personally would avoid nylon thread like the plague... because the stretch really throws off the tension adjustments.
    Ok, so it's a limitation of the machine/thread combination, not a limitation of the thread, like cotton. So the next best alternative is the polyester because as KM said ...

    Quote Originally Posted by KerMegan View Post
    G's poly thread has very little stretch, but the amount of stretch from hole to hole on the fabric is also very small- it only seems like a lot when you add it all together.
    (1000 holes x .01" expansion per hole=10" after all)
    Well that makes sense to me. It sounds like the difference between polyester and nylon in actual gear use isn't big enough for me to justify testing and potentially debugging nylon thread.

    But I still have a question about the size of the thread. Everything I've read about thread size has to due with matching the correct size needle to the size of thread you are using. I've read that v30 is good all around and that v46 is good for strength. Someone even recommended a v90 or v96 nylon thread, but that goes back to what was mentioned above. So what would be the differences between v30 and v46 for a tarp or quilt?

  7. #7
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarmSoda View Post
    But I still have a question about the size of the thread. Everything I've read about thread size has to due with matching the correct size needle to the size of thread you are using. I've read that v30 is good all around and that v46 is good for strength. Someone even recommended a v90 or v96 nylon thread, but that goes back to what was mentioned above. So what would be the differences between v30 and v46 for a tarp or quilt?
    There is a lot of discussion about this in other postings. Personally (and strictly personally) I think all the hoopla over thread weight is way too fussy for my tastes. I have never had any problem using a good decent easily available spool of thread no matter what size it is "supposed" to be. IMO the needle size is much more important as it relates to fabric weight. But thread size is simply too anal retentive for me to get concerned about it. But if you like that stuff... knock yourself out. There have been some charts posted before which cover thread weight in great detail.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  8. #8
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    I just bought my thread from Ed Speer. If it's good enough for Ed...
    Dave

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  9. #9
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    From Speer's site:

    Thread Excellent for making outdoor gear on home sewing machines. Same thread used by Speer Hammocks Inc for all our outdoor gear
    Synthetic (continuous filament polyester core wrapped with polyester fibers), TEX 30 (light/medium weight), Metric size M100
    High strength, excellent sew ability, very good chemical resistance, very good abrasion resistance, melts at 485 F
    Recommended needle: Universal style or Metallica style, size 80/12 or 90/14
    6,000 yd cone--enough for a lifetime of sewing! Requires separate thread stand--make your own (see below)
    3.5 lb breaking strength, black $10.19/cone
    Dave

    http://www.uark.edu/misc/xtimber/rna/pattonsbluff.html

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  10. #10
    Senior Member WarmSoda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldgringo View Post
    I just bought my thread from Ed Speer. If it's good enough for Ed...
    Well, I guess that the experts win on this one. Sounds like a good thread on thread. Speer hammocks, here I come.

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