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Choosing A Top Stitch Thread

Updated: Jun 5

Because top stitching is so visible in your work, choosing the right thread is extra important. Keep reading below for our tips on selecting a top stitch thread, with a handy reference guide to help you along the way! Once you’re ready to shop, check out WAWAK’s selection of Top Stitch Threads to get started.

Top Stitch Thread | How To Choose Top Stitch Thread | Jean Thread
Because top stitching is so visible in your work, choosing the right thread is extra important.



Top stitch thread is used for top stitching, a decorative stitch visible on the front side of a project. It doesn’t have to be just decorative—in many cases, top stitching can double as a functional seam or reinforce a weak structural area. You’ve probably seen top stitching on jeans and denim, but it’s also commonly used in bag making, quilting, and other types of sewing to add a bit of decoration to a project.

Compared to all-purpose threads, top stitch threads are more durable to help maintain their appearance over time. Top Stitch threads are designed to withstand repeated washes and wear without losing color and luster, and they tend to be heavier-weight threads so the stitching really stands out. Your choice of a top stitch thread’s material, color, and weight affects its overall appearance in your design, so let's break those down!


Polyester is a great all-purpose choice for top stitching threads. Its flexibility and strength make it a good choice for top stitching on a variety of fabrics, and its slightly shiny finish is a good match for synthetic materials. Polyester Bonded Threads are stronger and have a special coating that prevents fraying and damage for working with tougher materials like leather and vinyl.

Cotton/Polyester threads contain a strong polyester core wrapped in a cotton covering. They're a popular choice for topstitching jeans and denim because they have the soft look and feel of cotton and will "wash down" with the denim without sacrificing strength. Cotton/polyester threads are also great for other applications where the feel and heat resistance of cotton might be desirable, like quilting.

Nylon is one of the strongest thread materials out there, and Nylon Bonded Threads take it one step further. These threads have a special coating that prevents fraying and wear even in very abrasive sewing applications. These are the threads you want for heavy leather, canvas, and other heavy-duty sewing.


This one’s up to you! Depending on your design, you might want to choose a thread that’s closer to your fabric color for a more subtle topstitch appearance. Or, for a bolder contrast, try a thread color that stands out against the fabric. Gold tones like this WAWAK Perform-X Thread are popular for denim sewing, but top stitch threads are available in a variety of colors so you can choose what’s best for your design.


Like any thread, the most important part of choosing a top stitch thread weight is that it works with the weight of your fabric. (For example, if you’re sewing leather, you need a thread strong enough to handle heavy-duty sewing.) With topstitching, however, you also have to consider its appearance since the thickness of your thread determines the overall look of your stitching. Lighter top stitch thread weights like a Tex 35, 40, or 45 thread will create thinner, more subtle topstitching. For a medium topstitch appearance, Tex 60-90 might be a good choice. Threads over Tex 100 are going to give you a very bold topstitch. We know it can be hard to visualize topstitch appearance without seeing it for yourself, so check out the chart below to get an idea of how it looks!

Check out the chart below to help visualize how top stitching looks for different thread weights.

Top Stitch Thread Weights | Top Stitch Thread Chart | Jean Thread
Our Topstitch Thread Tex Chart shows the thickness of different topstitch thread weights ranging from Tex 40-300.

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