Best Sewing Thread for a Brother Machine – Types Explained

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As a sewing beginner, there are so many choices to make. What’s the best sewing thread for a Brother machine? Do you need a different thread for the bobbin and upper thread? What about needles? Presser feet? It can seem so overwhelming! 

Luckily, choosing the best thread for a Brother sewing machine is very easy with a few tips. I’ll 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. There are subtle differences between sewing thread, embroidery thread, and serger thread, and choosing the most compatible thread leads to professional rather than homemade results!)

best thread for brother sewing machine

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 hands and pull to see if it withstands the force. If it doesn’t, toss it.

Do you have to use Brother thread on a Brother sewing machine?

The answer to this is a resounding NO! 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 are 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. 

Best Brother Sewing Machine Thread Types: Upper Thread

thread for a brother sewing machine

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. 

Following is a list (not exhaustive) of the best thread for a Brother sewing machine. I’ve given a few recommendations for brands here and there to let you know my favorites 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 and go from there. 


1. 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 ironable. Since it does not stretch, don’t use it on knit, stretchy fabrics. Some brands do have different finishes to allow it to be tailored to different applications, though.

Gutermann cotton sewing thread is my favorite natural thread brand.

2. 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 be used effectively 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 has worked in the past. 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. 

Specialty Sewing Threads

Now, if you wanting to get fancy, there are several types of specialty threads that work on your Brother sewing machine. As a beginner, take care when using decorative threads because many are more finicky and require extra finesse.

1. Metallic Thread

COATS & CLARK Metallic Thread, 125-Yard, Silver

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.

2. Invisible Thread

Sulky Premium Invisible Thread for Sewing, 2200-Yard, Clear

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!

3. Quilting Thread

Gutermann Quilting Thread 200 M (220 Yds) - #5709

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.

4. Machine Embroidery Thread

machine embroidery threads for a brother sewing machine

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.

5. Upholstery Thread

COATS & CLARK Extra Strong Upholstery Thread, 150-Yard, Black

Unless you have a heavy-duty Brother sewing machine, 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.

6. Heavy-Weight Thread

4-PACK - Coats & Clark - Dual Duty XP Heavy Weight Thread - 4 Color Value Pack - (Black+White+Slate+Natural) 125yds Each

Heavy-duty thread is a thicker weight than regular sewing thread, making it perfect for thicker fabrics like denim, canvas, and even upholstery.

7. Topstitching Thread

Coats & Clark Dual Duty Plus Jeans Thread, 60-Yard, Red-Orange

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.

8. Elastic Thread

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.

9. Silk Thread

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 buy the huge spools of thread that won’t fit in your sewing machine spool holder (think serger cones), you 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!

what thread to use on a brother sewing machine

15 Comments

  1. DASHIN DON says:

    Wow!!!! Absolutely efficient, and thought provoking. I am much obliged, as well as humbled by the help, hacks, and tips. I am now 100% comfortable honing the skill of my craft, now that I know what, where, and how to look for exactly whats needed!!!

    1. Thank you. I have just bought a Singer 4452 and your answers are so consise and easily understood.

  2. Mary Schindler says:

    I just bought a new Brother 500. I sew infrequently and consider myself a beginner. I have been told by multiple people that I should only use cross wound threads and that the 50 or so spools of Coats and Clark that I have been using are junk that gummed up my Baby Lock causing my tension issues. Any advice?

    1. Sorry to hear about your issues! I’ve used Coats thread for many, many years with no problems. My grandmother even has a 40+-year-old Singer machine that’s been using old-school Coats thread all this time with no complaints! So, unless for some reason you are using a very old set of thread that has started to degrade or has some odd coating, I’m not sure why that would be gumming up your machine. Well, unless you’re running it through Sewer’s Aid or Thread Magic or some other material in excess first; that could do it, too.

      As for cross-wound threads, I use those on my horizontal spool holder on my machine. I have no issues with my stacked threads (wrapped parallel) if I put them on a separate vertical spool holder to help them unwind better. Hope that helps a bit!

  3. Patricia E Lowery says:

    Do the really large spools fit on a Brother CS7000X machine?

    1. Technically, because the thread stand is vertical, they will fit, but the metal rod doesn’t extend up enough to use a spool cap with them or support them very well during stitching. So, they get wiggly. In the case of big thread spools, I just use a standalone thread stand. I actually get better thread feeding using my stand anyway for many types of thread (esp metallic!)

  4. Kimberly Evans says:

    Thank you so much for the information on threads. I just bought a Brother cs6000i (I’m a beginner in the sewing field) and your review was very informative!

  5. Hi

    I just bought FS155 Brother machine , kindly advise which thread to use, also i regard my self as a beginner.

    1. My favorite thread brands for my machines are Gutermann and Coats & Clark. For most projects, I choose an all-purpose thread.

  6. Sandra Brandt says:

    Just put black, white, grey, and cream sew-all thread from Gutermann in my cart. Your blog is incredibly helpful.

    1. Thanks, I’m glad it’s helped!

  7. I have a brother XR 9000 machine and would like to use heavy duty thread to sew on canvas. I have not purchased any thread yet but I’m considering Coats & Clark outdoor. Do you have any suggestions?

  8. I forgot to add to my comment above that I’m also unsure of what needles to use in the machine.

    1. Coats & Clark is one of my favorite brands for my Brother machines, and I have several of the Outdoor ones; I think they’d work well for your canvas project. If you’re using a thick thread like this type, use a size 100/16 needle or larger.

      (If you’re confused about needles in general for your machine, this post (https://www.sewingmachinefun.com/sewing-machine-needle-chart/) may help!)

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