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You Don’t Have to Match Your Thread

Video: Jeff Roos, Cari Delahanty. Tech Editor: Carol Fresia

Despite what you may have been taught when you learned to sew, you don’t have to match your thread to your project’s fabric. Save time and storage space by not buying new thread for everything you sew. Instead, keep a range of neutral thread colors on hand.

Buy these colors

For most construction steps, the seaming stitches are concealed within the project. Therefore, all you need is a thread that comes close in value (darkness or lightness) to the color of the fabric. Gray and beige in middle tones are ideal for a gamut of colors. Use gray for cooler colors and beige for warmer hues. On dark-colored fabric, black, brown, and navy blend in well. If your fabric is a pastel tint, try white, off-white, or a pale pearl gray.

If you wear vibrant colors like saturated pinks, purples, oranges, red, and blues, add a spool of red and royal blue to your collection. You’ll be set for almost any situation. It’s even easier to camouflage neutral threads on printed fabrics.

Thread colors for a serger

The same approach applies to serger thread. It’s expensive to buy three or four large cones of thread to match each project. You can use neutral thread in the loopers. Then match only the seamline thread—the needle in a three-thread overlock stitch, or the left needle in a four-thread overlock.

Considerations for topstitching

Of course, if your project calls for topstitching, you may want to invest in thread that matches perfectly or that provides the kind of color contrast you want. In these cases, consider purchasing special topstitching thread, so the stitches stand out.



About This Video Series

In Threads Sewing Tips video series, we share clever tricks to help improve your sewing. Watch to learn how to make a wide seam allowance guide, how to color-code pleat markings, and other helpful tips. What makes this series special is that many of these easy-to-follow techniques have been submitted by Threads readers like you.

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