If you want to sew with your kids but you’re not sure which thread to use then this post should help.
I’m going to talk about three different types of threads and their advantages and disadvantages. What thread you choose in the end comes down to a personal choice or simply deciding to make use of what you have on hand.
And the contenders for best thread to teach your kids to sew are:
Ordinary sewing thread
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Unlike the other threads, embroidery floss is made up of six strands wound loosely together. You can actually unwind and separate these strands to make the thread thinner and simply sew with one or two strands. Having said that, I wouldn’t recommend separating the strands when sewing with kids as they can become tangled. And I’m talking mind-bendingly crazily tangled!
Since six-stranded embroidery floss is a fairly thick thread, it gives a highly visible sewing line which can look great, especially when sewing features onto your softie. Being a thicker thread, however, also means that you need to use a needle with a larger eye. I use a chenille needle size 18 or 20 with embroidery floss. But remember, a larger eye means a larger thicker needle, which in turn means that when kids are sewing they’ll have to make a bit more effort to pull the needle through their fabric.
I use Aurifil aurifloss and DMC embroidery floss. Remember always check your materials before using them to check the quality. I once bought a cheap embroidery floss that kept on breaking while I was sewing with it. Not good!
Perle cotton (sometimes spelt: pearl cotton) comes in four commonly available thicknesses: size 3, size 5, size 8 and size 12. I personally find that size 8 is a really nice thickness to sew with. It’s thinner than embroidery floss, which means, you can use a smaller needle. A chenille size 22 works really well.
Size 8 perle cotton thread is also thin enough for you to double your thread over and knot it at its ends. When sewing with a group of kids, I will often get them to double over their thread and knot the two ends together to stop the needle slipping off the thread while they’re sewing. A needle that continually slips off the thread can make sewing a tad frustrating for kids. ven doubled over, size 8 perle cotton thread is still thin enough for kids to pull through the fabric with very little effort.
Ordinary sewing thread
If you’ve seen any of my videos or tutorials you’ll probably know that I like using ordinary sewing thread. Yep! Just your ordinary everyday garden variety thread! It’s not exotic but I love it!
Sewing thread is thinner again than perle cotton which means you can use a smaller needle like a chenille 24. Personally, I like chenille needles as they have a wider eye than other needles of a similar size. This makes threading something most kids can take on and succeed in! A chenille 24 needle also slips easily through fabrics so that kids don’t have to be tugging all the time to get that needle through.
Some companies do make a slightly thicker sewing thread which I also love. Aurifil’s ordinary thread is a Mako 28 – their slightly thicker thread – which I love using – is a Mako 12.
Wonderfil also make a 12 weight cotton.
So what thread should you use when you’re teaching kids to sew?
Which ever one you want!
Road test them all. It’s the only way to really know what works best for you and your kids.
I’ll almost always choose ordinary sewing thread to sew around the torso of my zenkis but sometimes I’ll choose a thicker thread to sew on features. And I might choose an embroidery thread or perle cotton when I’m sewing French knots for the pupils of my zenkis eyes because I want them to stand out.
Last but not least, if you prefer to have your info in a video, then here is the What thread should I use when I’m teaching kids to sew? video.
Happy sewing with your students and kids, Trixi