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What is Cone Thread?

By Meagan Michi
Updated Feb 13, 2024
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Cone thread is a type of sewing thread that is intended specifically for use on a serger. A serger is a type of sewing machine that creates overcast stitches by cutting off the excess seam allowance and creating a strong seam at the same time. Serger thread, including cone thread, is specifically made to withstand the high-speed sewing speeds that are inherent in serger machines. The name of this type of thread is derived from the shape of the spool onto which the thread is wound. There are many types of this thread, including polyester, woolly nylon and rayon, for example.

A serger requires a lot more thread than a regular sewing machine. This is especially true for the two loopers, which are used to create the overcast stitch that wraps around the fabric in order to create a stable seam. Most serger machines require four spools of cone thread, although there are models that use three or five cones. The wider end of the cone faces down and the narrow end faces up, allowing the thread to be pulled off easily due to the shape of the cone. While regular sewing machine thread is usually placed horizontally on the machine, cone thread is used vertically.

This type of thread is generally cheaper overall than a regular spool of thread. For this reason, many seamstresses find it an appealing idea to use this thread on a regular sewing machine. While the size of the cone makes it virtually impossible to use on the machine itself, many people find that using a cone-shaped thread holder solves this dilemma. The multiple uses of this thread make it an even better bargain when compared to regular sewing machine thread.

One issue of which people should be aware when using cone thread on a regular sewing machine is the issue of Tex. Tex refers to the weight of the thread and is a unit of measurement used to distinguish different types of thread. Thicker threads, or those with a higher Tex number, are suggested for use in high-speed sewing machines such as serger machines. Tex 27 thread is common for use on regular sewing machines, while Tex 40 thread is most common in cone thread. Users should keep in mind that, although it is possible to use this thread on a regular sewing machine, the different Tex weights can make a difference in the seams that are created.

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Discussion Comments
By mitchell14 — On Oct 10, 2011

I would love a serger. I really want to start doing different DIY projects with old clothes, and sergers are so great with jersey fabric like t shirts. It's good to know that I would need totally different thread though; I know someone who uses the same thread from her sewing machine in her serger, and now I see why it sometimes gives her problems, the weight is just too different.

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