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As a beginner sewist, there are so many choices to make. What’s the best thread for a Brother sewing machine? Do you need a different thread for the bobbin and upper thread? What about needles? Presser feet? Fabric types? It can seem so overwhelming! When I first got my Brother sewing machine, I spent more time reading about how to set it up and use it rather than actually using it!
Luckily, choosing the best thread for your Brother sewing machine is very easy with a few tips. I’ll help walk you through the types of sewing thread that will work on a Brother sewing machine and show you how to pick which is going to be best for your project. We’ll talk about different thread fiber types and thread weights.
(Now, if you’re wondering about embroidery machine thread, head on over to how to choose an embroidery machine thread. Same for how to choose the best serger thread. There are subtle differences between sewing thread, embroidery thread, and serger thread. While there some overlap, choosing the most compatible thread for your machine and project can lead to professional rather than homemade results!)
What makes a good-quality sewing thread?
Good quality sewing machine thread will stitch smoothly, tangle infrequently, rarely break, and leave minimal lint.
To check if a thread is good-quality, first check for any imperfections along the thread that could prohibit even feeding. Then, check for excess fuzz. (This can cause build-up inside your machine faster.)
Sewing thread, especially thread used to create seams, needs to be durable to withstand wear and tear. Choosing decorative threads or even machine embroidery threads for seams won’t provide you the durability of a good, strong sewing thread. Thus, especially on older threads or low-quality brands, do a strength test before loading into your machine. Take a small piece of thread between your two hands and pull to see if it withstands the force. If it doesn’t, toss it. It’s not worth the hassle!
Do you have to use Brother thread on a Brother sewing machine?
The answer to this is a resounding NO! You do not need to use Brother thread on a sewing machine. In fact, I NEVER use Brother thread on my Brother sewing machine. (Sometimes I do use the Brother bobbin thread on my Brother embroidery machine, but that’s embroidery-related.)
There are hundreds of types of thread that will be compatible with your sewing machine! So, no need to feel like you’re stuck to just Brother.
Sewing Thread Weight Explained
All threads have what’s called a weight, or thickness. A larger weight number is a finer, or less thick, thread. A smaller number is a thicker thread.
It’s important to choose a lightweight thread for delicate, fine fabrics and a heavy-duty thread for very heavyweight fabrics.
Brother Sewing Machine Thread Types: Upper Thread
Sewing machines need both a bobbin thread (lower thread) and an upper thread to complete a single stitch. We’ll first talk about how to choose a thread for the upper thread. This is the thread that comes from the spool.
Now, every thread is made from a type of fiber. There are man-made fibers (ex: polyester) and natural fibers (ex: cotton).
As a general rule, use cotton thread when sewing woven, natural fabrics, and pick a synthetic thread when sewing man-made fabrics.
Here is a list (not entirely exhaustive) of the best threads for a Brother sewing machine. I’ve given a few recommendations for brands here and there to let you know my favorite brands that work well with the four Brother sewing machines I’ve owned (Brother CS6000i, Brother CS7000X, Brother SE625, and Brother SE1900.)
We’ll start with the two most common types of sewing thread first.
100% Cotton Sewing Thread
Cotton thread, a natural thread, is made from 100% cotton. It’s useful when sewing natural fibers like cotton and linen and is a favorite of quilters. It’s available in a variety of thicknesses and is durable, strong, and can be ironed. Since it does not stretch, you don’t want to use it on knit, stretchy fabrics. Some brands will have different finishes to allow it to be tailored to different applications.
Gutermann cotton sewing thread is my favorite natural thread brand.
100% Polyester Thread or Blended All-Purpose Thread (Cotton-Wrapped Polyester)
There are 100% polyester threads and then cotton-wrapped polyester all-purpose threads. Cotton-wrapped polyester can actually be used fairly well on synthetic and natural fiber fabrics because it combines the best qualities of polyester and cotton.
As a general rule, polyester thread works better than cotton with synthetic fabrics and stretchy, knit fabrics. It is stronger than cotton thread and has a bit of stretch to it, so it wears well at seams. It’s also more resistant to shrinkage and can have a slight sheen to it.
Unless I’m quilting, I stick to using polyester thread or blended thread. My favorite brands are Coats & Clark and Gutermann, because I almost never have issues. Of course, there are many other great brands, but I prefer to stick with what I know works. I don’t recommend buying generic thread online. I’ve tried to be cheap in the past, and the quality is just not there in most cases. It makes a mess of my machine and my projects!
Specialty Sewing Threads
Now, if you’re wanting to get fancy, there are several types of specialty threads that will work on your Brother sewing machine. As a beginner, take care when using decorative, specialty threads because many types are more finicky and require extra finesse.
Metallic threads have a durable core and a fun metallic coating to give a nice shine to your project. They’re notoriously difficult to master but worth the effort! Try loosening tension and changing to a metallic needle for the best results.
Also known as transparent thread, this monofilament nylon thread makes invisible stitches. It’s popular with quilting and applique and often causes me to pull out a lot of hair while trying to get it to work with my machines!
Quilting thread, specifically geared for hand or machine quilting, is heavier than sewing thread and can be waxed to prevent breakage. My favorites are mercerized cotton or cotton-wrapped polyester.
Machine Embroidery Thread
Machine embroidery thread is most commonly 40 wt, which is what embroidery designs are digitized for. It’s beautiful, lustrous, and yes, you can use embroidery machine thread in your Brother sewing machine! I wouldn’t recommend it for seams with high wear and tear, but it’s perfect for adding a decorative flair. Above is a picture of some of my metallic and variegated machine embroidery threads, which are fun to use!
There are two main types of embroidery machine thread: rayon and polyester. Rayon has a higher sheen, but polyester is stronger and more colorfast. Either one will work with Brother sewing machines.
Unless you have a heavy-duty Brother sewing machine, I’d be careful if sewing upholstery regularly with your Brother sewing machine. However, if you’re wanting to stitch upholstered creations occasionally, you can choose upholstery sewing thread.
This is heavier and stronger than all-purpose thread and works well for outdoor projects made with thick fabrics.
Instead of the usual 50 wt sewing thread, heavy-duty thread is often 40 wt, making it perfect for thicker fabrics like denim, canvas, and even upholstery.
If you plan to topstitch a project, you can use any thread, but a thicker, topstitching thread will give a more dramatic, decorative appearance. These thick, strong threads can also be used for making buttonholes and attaching buttons for projects with more wear and tear. I like to use gold jeans thread when altering jeans so they can still keep that nice, topstitched look.
Elastic thread is fun to use in the bobbin of your sewing machine to produce shirring or gathering in your fabric! You’ll need to wind it onto the bobbin by hand from the thread spool, though.
100% silk thread can be used to sew delicate fabrics and silk. It’s expensive and not as easy to find as other types of sewing thread. The only silk thread I use, in fact, comes wrapped on a cardboard paper, and I have to wind it on spools myself before stitching!
Bobbin Thread for a Brother Sewing Machine
While you can buy pre-wound bobbins, I prefer to wind my own bobbins when sewing. I simply wind Brother bobbins with the exact same thread I’m using for the upper thread. By matching the thread weights and fiber type, the automatic tension of my machine is much more often on par without needing to test first. That’s not to say you can’t use different weights or thread types on the upper thread and bobbin thread, but you might need to do some adjustments to get the best stitch quality!
One More Consideration
Buying huge spools of thread is a great way to save money! However, if you’re going to buy the huge spools of thread that won’t fit in your sewing machine spool holder (think serger cones), you’ll need to purchase a separate spool holder. I have a nice spool stand that holds around 20 spools that works great for my embroidery threads and sewing threads.
Where to Buy Thread for a Brother Sewing Machine
If you’re looking in person, try local sewing shops, craft stores, or local big box stores. I DO NOT recommend Walmart brand thread. Been there, trashed that early in my sewing experience. Picking a quality thread will save you SO MUCH hassle the first time around.
Online, you can buy a large selection of threads from Amazon, JoAnn, or any thread retailer for that matter!
Now, I hope this tutorial has helped you learn about the best thread types for your Brother sewing machine! Most threads will work in the machine, but make sure you pick your thread based on your project. And if you’re not sure about storage, check out my ideas for sewing thread storage and organization!