Thread & Needle Recommendation Guide (PDF)

Item # X-HT-300032

When you’re shopping for the perfect fabric for your next project, it’s also important to make sure you have the right size thread and needle so your sewing project looks professional and polished. Different types of fabric pair with different thread and needle sizes. We’ve created a helpful chart that organizes the different options of thread type and needle size by fabric to take the guesswork out of figuring out which type of thread and needles you need for your DIY.

Schmetz sewing machine needles

We’ve organized our chart based on the type of fabric. We’ve separated the marine fabrics, outdoor and patio fabrics, and home and upholstery fabrics. As you follow along in the chart, you’ll notice we list all the fabric brands we carry at Sailrite®, along with the recommended needle point, needle sizes and thread sizes. For example, if sewing Sunbrella® Marine Grade fabric, we recommend a Sharp needle point (also known as a Round Point). For thread, we recommend either V-69, V-92, V-138 polyester thread and Heavy Tenara with a size #18 or #20 needle. If using Tenara® or Sailrite® Lifetime Thread (formerly Profilen®), sew your Sunbrella with a size #18 or #20 needle.

We also include an overview of the different types of thread and their prime uses. For example, polyester thread is the best choice for outdoor projects due to polyester’s high UV resistance and high strength resistance. Nylon thread is better for indoor upholstery projects due to its elasticity. And, of course, our Tenara and Sailrite Lifetime Threads are ideal for outdoor projects that will receive a lot of use and abrasion, intense sun, saltwater and weather extremes.

If you’re sewing canvas or upholstery projects on a home sewing machine, be aware that V-69 thread is the heaviest thread weight a home machine can handle. You risk damaging your sewing machine if you use a heavier thread weight, and some home machines won’t accommodate the appropriate size needle for thicker thread. If you want to sew thicker fabric assemblies with heavier thread than your domestic machine is capable of, consider upgrading to a Sailrite® Ultrafeed® Sewing Machine. This portable, heavy-duty, walking foot sewing machine can handle up to 10 layers of Sunbrella, up to V-92 thread and size #22 needle. For more information about the Ultrafeed and its capabilities, read our blog “Why Choose an Ultrafeed?” (300330XHT).

Want to learn more about thread? Check out this short video and become a thread expert!