Sewing Tips Newsletter – Issue 9

Sewing Tips Newsletter
by Jenny T.

Thank you to all of you wishing me good health. That was super sweet and unexpected. It’s so nice to know that my readers are enjoying my newsletters and actually reading them! Ha! Yes, I’m feeling much better. Thank you! I am way behind on my videos, but I plan on getting caught up this week. I will let you know when some new stuff is posted.

In this issue:

1. What type of thread should you use?

2. Ask Jenny T. Now

3. What’s new in Simple Sewing Projects

4. Content Request

And now… on to this week’s sewing tip!


Sewing Tip #9: What type of thread should you use?

To make the perfect stitch, a few requirements need to be met. You need to have the right sewing machine needle. You need to have the right thread tension… and you need the right thread. The first 2 requirements have already been explained in previous issues of Sewing Tips. If you would like to read the back issues of Sewing Tips, visit

I’m going to share with you 10 different types of thread and explain when and how you should use the thread for your sewing projects.

The video for this lesson is at (** Ok, I was sick for almost 2 weeks, so there’s no video YET. Check back in about a week **)

1. All-Purpose Thread

You will this type of thread for most of your sewing projects. You can find it in 100% cotton, 100% polyester or a blend. If you are sewing stretchy material, use a polyester thread or a blend. For a stronger stitch, use cotton thread. If you’re sewing fine or delicate fabrics, use a fine/lingerie all purpose thread.

2. Denim / Jeans

This is a heavy-weight thread used for sewing denim. You can find this type of thread in the traditional jeans gold or in shades of blue. Use a topstitching needle with an elongated eye. There are Denim / Jeans needles available.

3. Elastic Thread

This is a stretchy thread that will create shirring. Put the elastic thread in the bobbin and use an all purpose thread in the top thread. It is recommended to only use this with light weight fabric.

4. Embroidery Thread

This thread is good for decorative stitching… and for machine embroidery. Embroidery thread comes in all kinds of weights, colors and materials. Make sure you use an embroider needle and embroidery bobbin thread.

5. Heavy-Duty / Upholstery / Outdoor

Use this thread for exactly what it says… heavy duty, upholstery like slipcovers and outdoor use. This thread is very durable and can withstand some abuse. Avoid cotton thread… and choose nylon or polyester.

6. Metallic Thread

This is a decorative thread made with metallic threads. You’ll find core-covered, twisted, flat and holographic types. Make sure you use a metallic needle… slow the machine speed… and reduce the thread tension. I recommend making some test samples with this thread before using it in your project. Metallic thread can be a bit tricky to use.

7. Silk Thread

Silk thread is available in several weights. Silk thread is a shiny thread and is typically used where you will see it… like on buttons, top stitching and decorative stitching.

8. Topstitching Thread

This is typically a thicker thread and is used to show off your stitch. Make sure you use a larger needle with a large eye and increase the stitch length.

9. Variegated Thread

These threads are a lot of fun and are designed to be seen. Use this thread for decorative stitching and quilting. You’ll find cotton, polyester, rayon and metallic in all kinds of sizes.

10. Wool / Acrylic

Use this thread when making blankets… and sewing wool. Because the thread is soft, you can use it for machine embroidery as well. Use a large needle. This thread creates a lot of lint, so make sure you’re dusting and cleaning your machine after each use.


In addition to choosing the type of thread, you need to check the thread size. Just like needles have different sizes, thread has different thicknesses. The sizes range from 12 to 100. The smaller the number the thicker the thread.

All purpose thread is 50.

Fine lingerie threads are 60 to 100.

Decorative threads are thicker and range from 12 to 40.

When sewing with thicker threads, increase the stitch length. Use a larger needle so that the thicker thread will fit through a larger needle eye.

Discover video and audio of even more sewing tips, how-to’s and resources by visiting You’ll even be able to subscribe to these weekly sewing tips and how-to’s and receive them through your iTunes or podcast player.


Ask Jenny T Now

While you wait for the next sewing tip, be sure to visit and submit your sewing question. Your question maybe answered in my next podcast or newsletter!

Question from Karlyn: Hi, I’ve just signed up for the $7 a month membership but cannot access the ‘custom curtain’ video which was promised for some reason. I wanted to view it instantly onloine and understood this would happen when I became a super sewer member. Please provide the link or URL for this video. Many thanks Karlyn

Answer: You can find your videos at

Question from Betty Ann: HELP..if I want a finished rod pocket drapery panel to be 80″ …how much of a rod pocket top do I give it…I gave it..1 1/4″ for the rod plus 1″ for easement and 1/2″ to turn under..with those measurements for the rod pocket top and my hem my panel is exactly 80″…I measured from the top of the rod to the floor and it is 80″…will my panel be too long?

Answer: Your finished drapery length should be the measurement from the top of the rod to the floor LESS 1/2″. This way the drape won’t drag on the carpet or floor. Your cut fabric length should be 79.5″ + the bottom hem + measurement around the pole + 1″ for ease + 1/2″.

What I like to do is sew the bottom hem first. Then measure up from the bottom the finished length. Fold down at that measurement and then fold under the raw edge 1/2″. Sew the rod pocket in place.

Question from Kim: On your video making roman shades you mentioned to reference how to estimate roman shade job. where can i find this?

Answer: I do? Ok… well, I don’t have a video for this. But I can recommend that you charge by the square foot or square yard for labor. This will help to easily charge more for large roman shades. I would start with $12 a square foot and then adjust your pricing as you become experienced with your time and clients. Remember, this is just for labor. Make sure you add on the cost of materials.

Question from Pat: Is there a special way to insert a zipper in a pillow? I’m thinking of putting it in just like I would on a dress and centering the zipper on the 5/8 inch seam allowance.

Answer: I have a complete video tutorial on sewing a centered zipper on a pillow at It’s the project of the month.

Question from Gloria: Everyone is going to think I’m stupid because I’ve been sewing for 100 years (almost) and can’t properly put a side zipper into a pair of slacks. I’ve read all of the books…ugh.

Answer: That is not a stupid question! Lots of us are still learning and sometimes struggling with sewing zippers and garments. Including myself. I do have a video on that shows you how to sew a lapped zipper. When sewing the side seam use a 5/8″ seam allowance. Baste where the zipper will go, and follow the video. It’s really very easy. There’s also a video for an invisible zipper.


Answer: You will need the Adobe Flash Player to watch most videos. This is free at Once you install the plugin, close your browser and reopen it. Let me know if this works for you.

Question from Veni: Hello, I enjoy your many helpful hunts and do plan on subscribing. Do you have a serger that you recommend? There are so many different ones and I am really interested in one as easy to use as possible. Thank you so much, Veni Hardy

Answer: This is the one are that I am weakest. I’ve played with my Mother-In-Law’s 5 thread serger (Viking) and it’s amazing. I am a huge fan of Husquervana Viking machines. READERS: Let’s start a discussion on recommended sergers to help out Veni and others. Visit and post your Serger recommendations in the forum.

Question from Colleen: Hi Jenny, thanks for the emails and greats tips and info. Its been so good. I am attempting my first set of Roman Shades. Where do you get a roman shade rod (for the top)? Thank you:-))

Answer: There’s really no readily available “roman shade rod”. If you want to make a rod pocket roman shade, you will get a drapery pole that you like. And then behind the shade you will install the hardware for raising and lowering the shade. I highly recommend you visit or join You’ll find a complete step by step tutorial, both illustrated and video for making and installing a roman shade.

Question from Valerie: I sure hope this finds you feeling better. Take Care! This is not a sewing question, but I have missed Sewing Tips Newsletter #1 & #5. I have gone all over the Web Sight, but I can’t find out how to get it. Can you help with this. I have all the rest, but I hate not having the ones I have missed. Thank You, And…thanks for your web sight. It is about the only one I go to now!

Answer: You can find the newsletter archives at: And thank you for your kind words. I’m feeling much better, thank you!

Question from Sandra: Hi Jenny, I made Roman Shades using battens and blackout lining. Now that they’re hanging, I can see sunlight coming through the stitches where I sew the rings. What can I do so that these little holes don’t get bigger? And, how can I avoid this in my next Roman Shade? Thanks, Sandra

Answer: Yeah, those little holes can cause light leak with blackout lining. On the back of your shade, dot some fabric glue over each hole. This will fill in the holes and help keep the light out.

Visit and submit your sewing question today.



What’s New This Month In

1. Project of the Month: How To Sew A Piped Box Cushion. (*For Super Sewer Members Only*)

2. Window Treatment of the Month: How To Sew A Slatted Roman Shade. (*For Super Sewer Members Only*)

3. The online class “How To Sew Swags and Drapes – A Live Case Study” is available for you to sign up! Please visit for more info and to sign up. Weeks 3 and 4 will be posted this week. I’ve been sick and behind schedule. I’m sorry!!

4. Jenny T.’s Sewing Review: Using a ruffler presser foot, a rolled hem foot and a binder foot

5. How To Sew… : How To Sew Custom Welt Cord (piping)

6. How To Sew Flat Lined, Sheer and Interlined Drapes

7. How To Sew Grommet Curtains ** Coming in August! **

Gain immediate access to all this exciting content plus to all of the archived sewing projects and how-to’s.

Here’s the link to subscribe to

I hope to see you in the member’s site!


Content Requests

Do you have a request of what you’d like to see in A window treatment, a project, a product reviewed, a sewing technique… anything?

What do you think of a 30 day sewing challenge?

How about a monthly quilt block?

Does a member’s photo gallery interest you?

I value your opinions and I would appreciate any feedback you can offer! Thank you!!!


Happy Sewing!

Jenny T.

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1 Comment on Sewing Tips Newsletter – Issue 9

  1. Mary Rooney
    September 13, 2009 at 3:51 pm (8 years ago)

    Hi Jenny

    Just signed up to your site a week ago. Thoroughly enjoying (once I actualy manage to get the time to browse through!) and ensuring to pass on your web-site to my sewing buddies!

    One thing I have noticed is the the video quality is poor in just certain areas. Eg. in your project of the month section on skirts -the last section (sewing hook bit) was pretty hazy (but all the rest was perfect!). Was just wondering is this because of poor software my end or did others also experiece?

    Something I’d love to see done some month is baby/infant sleep suits (i.e those fleecy things babies ware to bed/run around in before going to bed -but with the 2 legs). I am thinking of ordering pattern from McCalls web-site -but like most patterns, I am not very good at understanding (I only really started into sewing since the start of this year, so quite a beginner!). Would love to be able to make a couple for my nieces for Christmas present. But reckon I’d need to help…!!


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