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General Thread Terms Glossary

Wondering what a Zig Zag Lockstitch is? Are you baffled by long, unpronounceable names? Our General Thread Terms Glossary gives you the full A-Z on everything textile. A complete guide to seam types, stitches, thread science, retail solutions, technical support and resources.


A&E®: A registered trademark of American & Efird LLC

Abrasion: The act or result of surface rubbing during laundering or normal wear. Synthetic threads have superior abrasion resistance to cellulosic threads. Nylon threads like Anefil™ or
Anecord® have excellent abrasion resistant characteristics. Perma Core® has good abrasion resistance and chemical resistance needed in many pre-washed garments.

Acid Dyes: Dyes used to dye Nylon threads. There are two classes of Acid dyes that are used by A&E®, premetalized and regular acid dyes. Premetalized dyes have superior color fastness characteristics but can produce a limited color range. (See Thread Dyeing.)

Acrylic: A manufactured fiber in which the fiber forming substance is any long chain of synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of acroylnitrile units. The fiber is made in staple form only. Common trade names include Acrilan, Creslan, and Zefran. Acrylic fabrics are lightweight, soft and resilient. Some acrylic fabrics, particularly knits, approximate the hand of fine wool. Because of the composition and cross section of the fiber, fabrics made from acrylic have a high bulk to weight ratio. This is further enhanced with the so-called “high Bulk” spun yarns. End uses include floor coverings, blankets, and apparel such as tailored clothing, dresses and sweaters.

Aesthetics: Refers to the appearance of the thread in the finished seam that can be affected by contrast stitching, color matching, the sheen of the thread, the size of the thread.

Air Entangled: Threads that have been made from continuous filaments that have been entangled by high-pressure air as they run through an air jet. Air entangled threads can be made either with a “parallel” or “core & effect” construction. The core & effect construction thread has superior ply security minimizing thread breakage. A&E’s air entangled thread is called Magic® and it comes in a variety of sizes from T-21 to T-135. Same as “locked filament” thread. (See Thread Construction.)

Air Splice: A means of joining ends of yarn together using high pressure air. This produces a union not as thick as a weaver’s knot so a better quality product is produced. Air splices will sew through the needle of a lockstitch without causing a sewing interruption.

ANECALC®: A tool for calculating the thread consumption for a sewn product, the estimated number of cones required for a quantity of sewn items being produced, and the estimated thread cost per sewn Item. ANECALC® is a tool that can be used to compare the thread cost using different thread types and sizes. It is also used as a tool to show the value of using high performance sewing threads.

Anecord®: A&E’s brand name for a nylon monocord thread that is made from a number of nylon continuous filaments that have been brought together with a low degree of twist and then bonded together. Anecord threads are flat and ribbon-like providing a lower seam profile and excellent loop strength. Anecord Bobbins™ have more yardage than twisted multi-filament bobbins and they are available either sided or sideless. Registered trademark of A&E.

Anecord Poly® A&E’s brand name for a polyester monocord thread that is used in applications requiring good UV resistance including awnings, tents, covers, and boat tops. A registered trademark of A&E.

Anecot®, Anecot Plus®, Anecot® X-tra: A&E’s brand name for 100% CP cotton threads. Anecot Plus® is a CS cotton sewing threads that has a higher tenacity than Anecot® threads, allowing the use of smaller thread sizes. Anecot X-tra is designed to minimize seam failures during over-dyeing on regular, stretch denim and corduroy garments. Registered trademarks of A&E.

Anefil Nylon® and Anefil Poly®: A&E® Brand names for twisted multi-filament sewing threads used for sewing applications such as footwear, luggage, automobile applications, upholstered furniture, mattress, & bedding, etc. They are very strong for their size and very uniform in their physical properties. Both are available either “soft” or with an additional “bond” for better ply adhesion and abrasion resistance. Registered trademarks of A&E.
Anefil® Kevlar ®: A&E® thread of twisted multi-filament sewing threads used for sewing applications that require tremendous tensile strength and resistance to heat degradation. Also see Kevlar®.

Anti-wicking: Refers to a finish (Quarpel) put on the thread to minimize wicking. The wrapper on cotton wrapped, core threads or 100% cotton threads will sometimes swell after being sewn into the seam to minimize water migration. Polyester wrapped core threads are also used with very small needle sizes to minimize the size of the hole made in the fabric.

Aramid: Includes DuPont™ fibers like Kevlar® and Nomex®, which exhibit excellent flammability characteristics and will not melt or support combustion. DuPont™ Nomex® has better long-term heat resistance but is weaker than polyester threads and stretches easily. DuPont™ Kevlar® is very strong and had good short-term heat resistance but should not be recommended where the thread will be subjected to prolonged exposure to high temperatures. (DuPont™, Kevlar® and Nomex® are registered Trademarks of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and are used under license to A&E®.)


Backtacking: Refers to the reverse feed sewing at the beginning and ending of the seam to prevent the thread from unraveling. Most lockstitch machines purchased today will be capable of backtacking either automatically or with the pushing of a lever.

Bartack: A pattern of stitches sewn on cycle machines used to reinforce seams, attach belt loops, etc. Bartacking sewing machines are available either lockstitch or single-thread chainstitch.

Basting: Refers to temporary stitching used in tailored garments to hold garment pieces together until another operation is performed.

Best Stretch®: A&E’s brand-name for our textured nylon thread that is commonly used on high-stretch fabrics used in intimate apparel, foundations, sportswear, etc. Registered trademark of A&E.

Blindhemming: Refers to a 503 EFc-1 overedge hemming operation often sewn on knit garments. Many manufacturers are using either spun or textured polyester for these operations on the sleeve or bottom of garments.

Bobbin: A yarn package that single yarn is wound on in a textile mill. A bobbin is also a small metal spindle that is inserted into the hook of lockstitch sewing machines. Sewing machine bobbins can be wound at the sewing operators work station or pre-wound bobbins can be purchased. When ordering pre-wound bobbins, the following information is required: Thread type & size, color, bobbin style, and sided or sideless.

Bonded Finish: Refers to a finish applied to continuous filament nylon and polyester threads which coats the fibers giving the thread better ply security and abrasion resistance. Bonded threads include Anefil Polyester®, Anefil Nylon®, and Anecord®. (See Thread Finishing.)

Bottom Cover-thread Stitch: Refers most often to the two needle one looper 406 stitch used for 2-needle hemming knit garments, making belt loops for jeans, attaching elastic to panties, and binding operations on knits with a top edge folded binding.

Bottom Thread: Refers to the under thread in a stitch formation, usually called a bobbin thread on lockstitch machines or a looper thread on chainstitch, overedge and coverstitch machines.

Bottom Weights: Heavy weight fabrics used for jeans, coveralls, jackets, coats, etc. These fabrics usually require heavy thread sizes with good needle heat resistance.

Bound Seams (BS): One of four classes of seams in the Federal Specification – Stitches, Seams, and Stitchings. A seam where a binding or piping is sewn to the edge of one or more plies of fabric usually with the assistance of a folder on the sewing machine.

Breaking (Thread): Caused by a number of variables including: 1. Using wrong thread for application, 2. Thread defects including knots, slubs, etc., 3. Too much elongation or being sewn with too much tension, 4. Worn sewing machine parts, 5. Machine out of adjustment, and 6. Operator handling. (See Technical Bulletin, Minimizing Thread Breakage and Skipped Stitches.)

Busted Seam Construction: Seams that are sewn and then pressed flat after seaming. Used on tailored garments like coats, trousers, dresses, etc.

Button Holing: The sewing of buttonholes with either a single thread or lockstitch cycle machine. Buttonhole machines can be complicated and cause many sewing problems. Many manufacturers use a PW or CW core thread on these machines to minimize thread breakage and skipped stitches. Some eyelet buttonhole machines also use button gimp like our T-180 Anecot® Gimp that is inserted along the edge of the buttonhole to give the edge of the buttonhole stability.

Button Sewing: The sewing of buttons with cycle machines which can either use a single thread chainstitch or lockstitch to attach the button to the body. A lockstitch button sewing machine is recommended to minimize the possibility of the stitch unraveling and the button falling off.


Carding: A process used in the manufacture of staple yarn, which separates, cleans, aligns and delivers the fibers in a sliver form. The machine consists of a series of rollers, the surfaces of which are covered with many projecting wires or metal teeth.

Cellulosic Fiber: A fiber made from plants – a wood pulp by-product. Cellulosic fibers include Cotton, Rayon and Tencel® or Lyocell®. These fibers have similar physical properties in that they have a relatively low tenacity, a low elongation, and good heat resistance. They are not as durable to abrasion, laundering, and chemicals as polyester or nylon fibers.

Chain Tacking (”Latch Tacking”): Refers to the sewing of the overedge chain back into the stitch to prevent the seam from unraveling. This is usually performed at the beginning of the seam. The thread chain is pulled off the overedge stitch tongue and then aligned and sewn back into the beginning of the next seam.

Chaining-off: Refers to what sewing operators do when they sew on or off the fabric at the beginning or end of a seam without stopping. On some machines, chaining or sewing without fabric is more difficult than sewing on the fabric because the fabric helps in loop formation. On the other hand, overedge and coverstitch machines have needle plates with chaining fingers or stitch tongues to aid in chaining-off between pieces.

Chainstitch: Refers to a 401 multi-thread chainstitch where a needle thread is interlooped with a bottom looper thread on the underside of the seam. A looper thread 60% of the strength of the needle thread can be used and still maintain seam strength because a loop of looper thread holds the needle thread on the underside of the seam. Most main seams on woven apparel are seamed with this stitch formation.

Clearlon®: Refers to A&E’s brand name for its monofilament sewing thread. Clearlon is translucent and is available in either clear or smoke. Registered trademark of A&E.

Color Card or Palette: A&E® has regional color cards specifically designed to serve the needs of the regional market. These regional color cards include a Western Hemisphere card, a European card, and a Far East card. A&E® also has developed a Global Color Palette that was designed for global companies that would like to specify one color for thread regardless of where the sewn products will be produced in the world. Special color cards are also available for special products like Wildcat Plus® textured threads, Anecord®, Anefil Nylon® & Polyester™ threads, etc.

Color Matching: Refers to the selection of a thread that will match the sewn fabric. The best process is to match a color off the color card because: 1. The shade has been formulated; and, 2. There is a better chance that there is inventory available.

Colorfastness: The ability of the thread to retain its color during normal use, laundering, and /or when exposed to sunlight. Polyester threads exhibit the best colorfastness for most apparel applications. Colorfastness variables include wash fastness, crock fastness, sublimation, cold water migration and light fastness. Some thread types are relatively fast to some variables and only moderately fast to others. We recommend doing pre-production testing prior to going into production to assure quality results.

Combing: Refers to a step used when processing 100% cotton subsequent to carding, which straightens the fibers and extracts neps, foreign matter, and short fibers. Combing produces a stronger and more even, compact, finer, and smoother yarn.

Compatibility: Refers to the ability of a thread to follow another thread supplier, thread type, and/or thread color on the sewing floor with minimum machine adjustments. To minimize thread incompatibility, A&E® recommends using the minimum number of suppliers if possible.

Cones: Threads are wound on cones or spools with a precision wind. Most cones today are made of plastic that can be recycled. Industrial sewing threads are generally wound on larger put-ups or cones with 6,000 yds., 12,000 yds., etc.

Consumer Products: Refers to A&E® products for use in home sewing.

Continuous Filament: Refers to synthetic fibers of an indefinite length. Fibers used to manufacture sewing threads are either continuous filament or staple. We can use continuous filament nylon, polyester, and rayon to make various thread constructions. The five thread constructions produced from continuous filaments include monofilament, twisted multifilament, monocord, textured, and air entangled. Corespun threads use a combination of continuous filament polyester core and a staple cotton or polyester wrapper. The sizing system for continuous filaments is the denier system.

Contrast Stitching: Refers to the sewing of thread into fabric of a different color. Using 100% polyester thread will reduce the chance of color migration. Filament threads have a higher sheen and spun thread with a fibrous surface has a softer look.

Cord: Refers to the number of ply in the thread construction such as a 2-cord thread – 2-ply thread.

Cord Stoppers: Used on the ends of cords for items such as jackets and coats to prevent the cord from being pulled out of the item.

Core or Core Spun Thread: One of seven thread constructions made by wrapping a cotton or polyester staple wrapper around a continuous filament core of polyester fibers. Two or more of the core yarns are then plied to make a core spun sewing thread. When using a cotton wrapper, D-Core® has good needle heat resistance and will wash down in color during subsequent wash processes. When wrapped with a polyester wrapper, Perma Core® threads have excellent tenacity, chemical resistance, and color fastness. Core threads are recommended for tough sewing application such as sewing on automatic multi-directional sewing machines.

Coverstitch: Stitches used for seaming knit underwear, athletic wear, intimate apparel which provides excellent coverage on the top and bottom side of the seam. This allows very flat seam constructions. Below are the common coverstitch stitch formations:
602 2 needle, 1 looper & 1 top spreader thread
605 3 needle, 1 looper & 1 top spreader thread
606 4 needle, 4 loopers & 1 top spreader thread
607 4 needle, 1 looper & 1 top spreader thread
Usually spun polyester or texturized polyester/nylon threads are used on these machines.

CP Cotton: Refers to Combed Peeler cotton that comes from California. CP cotton is not as strong as CS cotton and is also less expensive. CP cotton has a lighter color when compared to CS cotton. CP cotton threads are available either soft, mercerized or glaced. See Anecot® and Fiber Science.

Crocking: Refers to the rubbing off of color. Crocking is checked both dry and wet using ASTM D-204 Test Method. Excessive crocking can be caused by poor dye penetration of the thread or a thread that has not been properly scoured and has residual dye on the surface.

CS Cotton: Refers to SAK cotton that has a longer staple length and is a superior grade of cotton compared to CP cotton. CS Cotton is stronger and recommended when replacing high tenacity spun polyester threads for garment dye programs. CS cotton threads are more expensive than CP cotton threads. CS cotton threads are available either soft, mercerized or glaced. See Anecot Plus® and Fiber Science.

Curing: Refers to a process that whereby post-cured piece goods are passed through an oven to activate the wrinkle-resistant finish.

Cut Stitches: Refers to the damage of threads where one seam crosses another seam, particularly on denim garments that are subjected to stone-washing, etc.

CW: Refers to cotton wrapped core thread, such as D-Core®. See Core Spun Thread.


Dacron®: DuPont’s brand name for polyester. (Registered trademark of DuPont.)

D-Core®: Refers to A&E’s thread of core spun thread with a cotton wrapped core. Registered trademark of A&E.

Decorative Stitching: The sewing of thread to accent a pocket, collar, or some other part of the garment. Usually, this thread is a different color than the body fabric. (See also contrast stitching).

Defect: Refers to a quality imperfection found in the thread. Thread defects include: slubs, knots, neps, slack twists, corkscrew twists, and singles kinks.

Denier: Refers to a sizing system used for continuous filaments. Denier is the gram weight of 9000 meters of sewing thread. Denier is 9 times the Tex Size. Common continuous filament polyester sizes are 55d, 70d, 90d, 110d, 125d, 140d, 230d and 250d. Common continuous filament nylon sizes are 70d, 100d, 140d, and 210d.

Dennison Swiftach Systems: Patented molded nlyon fasteners by Swiftach Systems and distributed by A&E. (Registered trademark of Swiftach Systems.)

Design A-Core®: Refers to an A&E’s thread of core spun thread with a cotton wrapped core. Used for thread topstitching on denim garments Trademark of A&E.

Direct Dyes: Refers to a type of dye used on cellulosic thread like cotton and the dyestuffs that can be applied directly to fibers in a neutral or alkaline bath without preliminary treatment. They generally do not have as good color fastness as vat dyes. (See Thread Dyeing.)

Disperse Dyes: Refers to a type of dye used for dyeing polyester threads. Polyester threads are dyed with disperse dyes at temperatures of from 245° to 265°F and they generally have very good laundry and wash fastness. Disperse dyes are available to produce a whole spectrum of shades. (See Thread Dyeing.)

DuPont™: A Trademark of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.


Edge Finish: Refers to one of two classes of stitching where a single ply of fabric is folded on the edge (hemmed) or serged. Hemming can be done by hand or with a hemming folder attached to the sewing machine.

Elastics: Latex rubber ends covered with polyester yarns that are used in products such as swimsuits, waistbands, and cuffs.

Elasticity: Refers to how much a seam will stretch before the thread ruptures or “cracks”. Usually, threads with higher elongation will give greater seam elasticity. Also, stitch formations that use more thread will have greater seam elasticity like overedge and coverstitch seam constructions. The number of stitches per inch and the stitch balance can also affect seam elasticity.

Elongation: Refers to the amount that a thread stretches before it breaks. Threads with high elongation provide greater seam elasticity but can cause poor loop formation leading to excessive skipped stitches and thread breakage. The elongation of a sewing thread is determined by the fiber type used but can also be controlled by drawing and heat setting of synthetic sewing threads like polyester and nylon. (See Technical Bulletin, Minimizing Thread Breakage and Skipped Stitches.)

Embroidery (Industrial): The sewing of thread in a small area with numerous stitches. If a high sheen is desired, either a filament rayon or tri-lobal polyester thread is recommended. A&E’s brand name for its tri-lobal polyester embroidery thread is No. 40 Signature®. If a high sheen is not necessary, we have customers that are using Perma Core® and Perma Spun® threads for embroidery. Regardless of the embroidery thread used, the color fastness should be tested prior to full production runs. Polyester threads have better color fastness than cellulosic threads.

Endurance™: Refers to A&E’s thread of spun staple from Lyocell® used for sewing Tencel® fabrics that are overdyed and enzyme washed. Registered trademark of A&E

Excell®: Refers to A&E’s thread of spun polyester used for sewing anything from light weight garments like blouses & dresses to heavy weight garments like jeans, gloves, mattresses, etc. Registered trademark of A&E.


Fadeometer: A lab resting machine used to test long-term effects of light on sewing thread color and strength.

Fiber Glass: A very fine denier glass fiber that is used for sewing filtration devises. Fiber glass is very brittle and has poor loop strength, however it is very resistant to many chemicals and toxins. A&E® does not have a fiberglass sewing thread.

Filtrane™: Refers to a PTFE monocord thread used for outdoor application that require excellent chemical and mildew resistance.

Finishes: Refers to various treatments of cotton threads including soft, mercerized, and glaced. “Soft” refers to thread that is simply spun or twisted and then dyed and wound on a cone. “Mercerized” refers to the process where cotton is submerged in a caustic soda bath under tension and then neutralized in an acid bath. The end result is a greater affinity for dyes and a higher tenacity thread. “Glaced” is a process whereby cotton threads are passed through a solution of starches and waxes and then polished between brushes to give a very uniform surface. Continuous filament threads are also available in various finishes including “soft” and “bonded”. “Soft” again refers to thread that is simply twisted together, dyed and wound on cones with a thread lubricant. “Bonded” refers to an additional process where a coating is put on the continuous filament thread to give it better ply security and abrasion resistance. Finish also refers to the thread lubricant applied to the thread to give the thread good lubricity characteristics and needle heat resistance. Two methods are commonly used to apply finish to sewing threads: the “kiss-roll” method and the “in-bath” method.

Flagging: Refers to a sewing problem caused by the fabric moving up with the needle as the needle rises from the bottom of its travel causing poor loop formation and leading to skipped stitches or thread breakage. (See Technical Bulletin, Minimizing Thread Breakage and Skipped Stitches.)


Garment Dyeing: Refers to a process where garments made from 100% cotton or Tencel® are dyed after they are assembled. The same type sewing thread must be used as the fabric to optimize shade continuity between the fabric and the sewing thread.

Gassing: Refers to a finishing process where 100% cotton thread is passed through a flame at high speed to reduce its fuzz and have a greater sheen. (See Thread Finishing.)

Gimp: Refers to buttonhole Gimp, which is used in eyelet buttonhole machines to give the buttonhole greater strength and a more defined appearance. T-180 Anecot® Gimp is available for this application.

Glaze Finish: Refers to a finish put on 100% cotton threads made from starches, waxes and other additives. This coating is then brushed to give the thread surface a smooth surface. Glace protects the thread during sewing giving better ply security and abrasion resistance. (See Thread Finishing.)

Greige Yarn: Refers to thread before it has been finished with dye, lube, or other finishes. Greige Yarn dye tubes are sent to our Finishing Plants for dyeing and winding.


Hook (Shuttle): The stitch-forming device used in lockstitch machines to hold the bobbin and picks up the needle loop off the needle to form the stitch. On rotary hook machines, the hook makes two revolutions for every rotation of the handwheel.

Hook & Loop: Fastening tape.

Hue: The characteristic of color described by the terms red, blue, yellow and green, etc. (White, gray, and black have no hues and are referred to as neutrals.)


IAF (International Apparel Federation): Organization of world’s clothing manufacturers whose mission is to provide a means of global exchange of information on apparel manufacturing, merchandising, and trade.

Industrial Thread Products: Refers to A&E® thread products for the apparel, automotive, upholstery, home furnishings, and footwear manufacturers.

Initial Modulus: A thread property that refers to the initial resistance to stretching when stress or tension is applied to the thread. The higher the initial modulus, the better loop formation characteristics the thread will have minimizing skipped stitches and thread breakage. (See Technical Bulletin, Minimizing Thread Breakage and Skipped Stitches.)


Jet Clips® Mfg. by Jet-Clip Co.: Clips used in packaging of shirts, slacks, jeans, blouses, knit slacks, infants wear, knits, jackets, and heavy weight garments. (Registered trademark of Jet-Clip.)


Kevlar® (DuPont™ Kevlar®): Spun thread of aramid fiber from DuPont™. Kevlar has very good heat resistant properties and exceptionally high tensile strength. Kevlar is used in protective clothing used by fire fighters and police. Kevlar is not recommended for applications that required prolonged exposure to very high temperatures. Also see Anefil® DuPont™ Kevlar®. (DuPont™ and Kevlar® are registered Trademarks of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and are used under license to A&E®.)

King Spool: A thread cone that has a vertical tube with a horizontal base that is used for filament polyester and nylon threads and glaced cotton threads. King spools prevent the thread from sloughing under the cone base.

Knits: Fabrics that are constructed by interlooping adjacent yarns to form the fabric. Some common types of knit fabrics include: jersey, ribbed, tricot. (See Thread Application Guide on Knits.)

Knots: Used to join ends of yarn or thread together. Most textile companies used “weavers” knots, which are only three thicknesses. On most of A&E® threads, we have replaced knots with air spices which are less than two thickness. Most knots will cause the thread to break but most air splices will sew through the needle without breaking.

Kodel®: Refers to a polyester staple fiber produced by Eastman Kodak®.


Lapping: A process used in the manufacturing of 100% cotton yarn where a number of ends of sliver are made into a lap or sheet for the combing process.

Laserbrite®: A&E® brand name for a multi-ply polyester thread. Laserbrite threads are used for machine quilting, embroidery, and decorative applications. (See Signature® Specialty Threads.)

Latch Tracking: See chain tacking.

Lockstitch (301 Stitch): A stitch that is formed with a needle thread and a bobbin thread that are inter-locked in the center of the seam being sewn. Even though the same amounts of needle and bobbin thread are consumed, the needle thread requires 5 to 7 times more tension than the bobbin thread. Some of the advantages of using a lockstitch in a seam include: the stitch is reversible, produces the tightest of all seams, uses the least amount of thread, can be used on multi-directional automated sewing machines, has a low seam profile.
Loop Strength: The strength when one strand of thread is looped with another strand and then broken. This strength test gives an indication of the brittleness of the fiber being tested. Most polyester sewing threads will have a loop strength of approximately 1.5 times the single-end breaking strength.

Looper: A stitch-forming device used on chainstitch, overedge and coverstitch sewing machines to form a stitch.

Looper Thread: Refers to the bottom thread used on chainstitch and coverstitch machines; and the threads that cover the edge of an overedge seam. Looper threads feed directly off the cone into the sewing machine eliminating bobbin changes.

Lubricity: Refers to the frictional characteristics of thread as it passes through the sewing machine and into the seam. Good lubricity characteristics will minimize thread breakage and enhance sewability. A thread with a fibrous or fuzzy surface will have superior lubricity characteristics.

Ludlow®: Refers to a registered trademark of A&E. See Specialty Engineered Yarn.

Lyocell®: Refers to a regenerated cellulosic fiber developed for sewing Tencel® fabrics that are usually overdyed and enzyme washed.


Magic®: Refers to A&E’s air entangled sewing thread that is made by blowing a continuous filament “effect” yarn into a continuous filament “core” with high pressure air to form the thread. The thread is then stretched and heat set to achieve the desired modulus and entanglement. Magic is flat and ribbon like giving it a low seam profile and very good loop strength. Magic is less expensive that corespun threads and is ideal as a looper thread on jeanswear to minimize thread cost. Registered trademark of A&E.

Maxi-Lock® Serging Thread: Refers to A&E’s brand of serging thread for consumer use. Registered trademark of A&E.

Mercerizing: Refers to a process where 100% cotton thread is treated under tension in a solution of caustic soda, which removes some of the sugars and makes the cotton fibers more uniform. This allows the fibers to accept dyes more readily, enhances luster, and increases the thread strength or tenacity. Mercerization was originally done to make 100% cotton threads look more like silk threads. (See Thread Finishing.)

Merrowing: A term sometimes used for overedge stitching that is primarily used in the northeast portion of the United States.

Mildew Resistent Finish: Refers to a special finish put on 100% cotton threads to enhance its mildew resistance. At A&E®, this finish is the MRT finish and it must be specially requested for our customers. Synthetic threads naturally are very resistant to mildew.

Modulus: See initial modulus.

Monocord Thread Construction: Refers to a thread construction made from continuous filaments of nylon, which have been bonded together. They have very little twist so that they look like a single cord of yarn. Because of the way these threads are made, they appear to be flat and ribbon-like which provides a high degree of resistance to abrasion. Monocord threads are exceptionally strong for their size so they are used in the manufacturing of furniture, shoes, and other heavy-duty applications. A&E’s Nylon monocord thread brand is Anecord®. A&E’s polyester monocord thread used for blindstitching is Teryl B™.

Monofilament Thread Construction: Refers to a thread construction produced from a single nylon continuous filament resembling fishing line. Usually, monofilament threads are used because the thread is translucent and blends in with many colors. Because it has a tendency to be stiffer than other filament products, it is not recommended for seams that may lay adjacent to the skin. Also, because it is a single filament, it may unravel easily if the thread is not locked in the seam adequately. Monofilament threads have been used in quilting operations on quilts and bedspreads, as well as, in blindstitch operations on drapery and apparel. A&E’s monofilament thread brand is Clearlon®.

Multifilament Thread Construction: Refers to a thread construction produced from continuous filaments of polyester or nylon, which are twisted together into a cohesive bundle and then plied to make the thread. They are then dyed, stretched, and heat set to achieve the desired physical characteristics. Twisted Multifilament threads are available either soft or with an additional bond for better ply security and abrasion resistance. They are exceptionally strong for their size and they have excellent resistance and durability. These threads are used for seaming everything from bathing suits and intimate apparel to automobile upholstery. A&E’s multifilament brand is Anefil Nylon® and Anefil Poly®.


Natural Fibers: Fibers whose origin is from plants or animals. The most common natural fibers used for sewing thread include cotton, rayon & Tencel® /Lyocell®. Other natural fibers that are sometimes used for seaming include silk, wool, linen, and jute. (See Fiber Science.)

Needle: The primary stitch-forming device used on all sewing machines to carry thread through a seam. Needles have nine basic parts including butt, shank, shoulder, blade, groove, scarf, eye, point, and tip. Needles come in a variety of types and sizes depending on the type of sewing machines and the sewing application.

Needle Cooler: Refers to a device used to direct compressed air on to the needle to reduce needle heat. Needle coolers may be necessary on high-speed sewing machines.

Needle Cutting: Refers to the damage of the fabric by the needle. This is usually more of a problem when sewing knit fabrics. (See Technical Bulletin, Reducing Needle Cutting.)

Needle Heat: A problem that can cause synthetic threads to break when the needle temperature exceeds the melting point of the thread. Needle heat is generated by the friction between the fabric and the needle blade as the needle moves up and down during sewing. The prime contributors to needle heat include the thickness of the seam, the density of the fabric, and the machine speed. Synthetic threads are wound with thread lubricants to help protect the thread against needle heat. The larger the thread size, the more lubricant that is wound on the thread. Cellulosic threads are not affected by needle heat. A cotton wrapped core thread has superior needle heat resistance to poly wrapped core threads. (See Technical Bulletin, Minimizing Needle Heat.)

Needle Size: Refers to the diameter of the needle measured at the needle eye. Today the most common needle sizing system used around the world is the metric system. The metric number represents the percent of a millimeter. Common needle size application are as follows. (See Thread Selection Guide, Needle Applications.)
Light weight, 60 – 70, shirts, blouses, tops
Medium weight, 75 – 110, pants, jackets
Heavy weight, 120 – 160, jeans, overalls, parkas

Needle Spacing: A term that refers to the distance between the needles or the distance between the rows of stitch where more than one row of stitch is being produced simultaneously.

Neps: Small yarn imperfections caused by immature fibers or fibers that have not been straightened properly. Neps do not cause thread breakage but detract from the appearance of the thread.

Nomex® (DuPont™ Nomex®): Spun thread of Aramid material from DuPont™. Has excellent long-term resistance to heat. Common applications include fireman uniforms and military applications. (DuPont™ and Nomex® are registered Trademarks of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and are used under license to A&E®.)

Nominal Weight Package: Refers to packages of yarn or cones of thread that are sold by their actual weight. If the price for the yarn or thread is $10.00 per lb. and the yarn or thread weights .9 lbs., excluding the weight of the cone, then the price for the yarn or thread on the cone would be $9.00. The purpose of having nominal weight packages is to minimize knots and waste.

Non-migrating Finish: Refers to a silicone-free finish that is applied to sewing thread to minimize migration of the sewing lubricant along the seam line that might cause a stained appearance. This “NT” or “Part 555? finish does not have the superior frictional characteristics of a silicone lubricant, but minimizes migration. (See Thread Finishing.)

Non-wicking Finish: Refers to a finish that can be put on thread to impede liquids from migrating through the seam. Quarpel is the name of one of these finishes that can be put on thread. However, Quarpel will adversely affect the frictional characteristics of the thread, particularly when sewing fabrics that require minimum thread tension. (See Thread Finishing.)

Non-woven Fabric: Non-woven fabrics are extruded fabrics that are not produced on knitting or weaving machines. They can include homogeneous type fabrics like vinyl or leather, or they can be produced from other synthetic materials.

NWT: Refers to new wash technology. Applied to Perma Core® thread that is designed to minimize repairs after harsh finishing processes like enzyme and stone-washing, hand sanding, and sand blasting on denim and twill garments.

Nylon: A synthetic fiber that has good strength and excellent abrasion resistant properties. A&E® uses Type 6.6 Nylon from DuPont™ and Solutia (Monsanto) because of its superior heat resistance and tenacity. A&E® brand names for Nylon threads include: Anefil™, Anecord® , and Best Stretch®.


Overdyed Garments: See garment dyeing.

Overedge: Refers to stitch formations where the stitch forms a triangle of thread around the edge of the seam.The three categories of stitches found in the 500 Stitch Class include those below. Most manufacturers are using spun or texturized threads on overedge operations.

Single Needle Overedge Stitch:501, 502, 503, 504 & 505 (Odd number stitches) are for serging, even numbered stitches are for seaming. 504 is the most common stitch.

Two Needle Overedge Stitch:512, 514 & 521 512 & 514 are for seaming.Generally, 514 is preferred because it chains-off better.

Safety Stitch: 515 & 516 combines 401 chainstitch & overedge stitches.

Overlock: See overedge above.


SAK or Supima: An extra long staple cotton with fiber lengths varying in length from 1 1/4 to 1 9/16 inches. SAK quality cotton has a higher tenacity than CP Cotton, allowing the use of a smaller thread size and still maintains seam strength. A&E’s brand name for SAK quality cotton is Anecot Plus®. (See Fiber Science.)

SBT: Refers to a finishing process on Anefil Poly® that enables this thread to sew like a bonded thread without a bond application. SBT is recommended for continuous automatic sewing applications like sewing flags, filters, etc. Other finishes available on Anefil Polyester® include BT, ST, and STX.

Seam: According to Federal Spec 751a entitled “Stitches, Seams & Stitchings”, a seam is a series of stitches used to join two or more plies of fabric together. (Download English .PDF Version of Seam Types.)

Seam Failure: Caused by either fabric failure or thread failure. (See Technical Bulletin, Common Seam Quality Defects.)

Seam Grinning: The opening up of a seam when stress is applied across it. Seam grinning is usually caused by too loose of a stitch balance. Lockstitch seams grin less than seams made with other stitch types because a lockstitch is the tightest of all stitches. (See Technical Bulletin, Common Seam Quality Defects.)

Seam Margin: The distance from the stitch-line to the edge of the fabric or the fabric “fold”. Usually sewing machines are equipped with edge guides (seam guides) or trimming knives to maintain a proper seam margin.

Seaming Puckering: A common problem on woven fabrics and can be caused by one or all of the following: 1. Yarn Displacement; 2.excessive Tension; and 3. Feed Puckering. (See Technical Bulletin, Seam Puckering.)

Seam Slippage: The slippage of yarns in the fabric along a seam when stress is applied. The result is that the yarns pull out but the thread and the stitch doesn’t rupture. Seam slippage is usually caused by poor fabric design (too loose of a weave) or too narrow of a seam margin. Not using enough stitches per inch and a poor stitch balance can also contribute to seam slippage. (See Technical Bulletin, Common Seam Quality Defects.)

Seam Strength: A measurement of the load required to rupture a seam. Wovens are tested using a “jaws” method and knits are tested using a “ball-burst” test method. The five major contributors to seam strength include 1. Fabric type and weight; 2. Thread type and size; 3. Stitch and seam construction; 4. Stitches per inch; and 5. Stitch balance. Estimating seam strength on woven fabrics using an SSa seam construction:
Lockstitch seam = S.P.I X S.E.B. of thread X 1.5
Chainstitch seam = S.P.I. X S.E.B. of thread X 1.7

S.E.B. (Single End Break): Refers to the single-end breaking strength of the thread or tensile strength when stress is applied across a single strand of thread until it ruptures. S.E.B. is usually measured in pounds, ounces, or grams.

Selvedge: Refers to the edge of woven fabrics running along the warp direction of woven fabrics that will not unravel.

Serging: Refers to the overedging of a single ply of fabric to prevent the fabric from unraveling. The most common serging stitch types include the 503, 504 and 505 stitches. Many manufacturers are serging with Perma Spun® or Wildcat Plus®.

Sewability: Ability to sew without skipped stitches or having the thread break. Several factors affect sewability, for example, improper needle size, wrong thread size, excessive tension, needle heat, worn or defective sewing machine parts, and improper machine settings. Thread likewise plays a key role in sewability. Factors in thread sewability include elongation, uniformity, ply security, lubrication, strength, and twist construction. (See Thread Construction or Thread Selection Guide, Sewability, Performance, and Appearance.)

Sewing Machine: Any machine that uses a needle or needles to form a stitch by interlocking or interlooping threads through the fabric. Lockstitch sewing machines use a hook and a bobbin thread to form the stitch. Chainstitch, overedge, and safety stitch machines use a looper to form stitches. Blindstitch and some buttonsewers and buttonhole machines use a spreader to form stitches.

Shade Machining: Refers to the selection of a thread color that is close to the fabric color it is being sewn into but not necessarily a color match. Shade matching reduces the number SKU required and also allows the ordering of stock colors; or is done to use up excess inventory.

Shrinkage: Refers to the dimensional stability of a thread when it is subjected to boiling water or heat. ASTM Test Method D204 describes the standard test procedures for sewing thread using either the boiling water (BW) or dry heat (DH) method. Dry heat shrinkage at 350°F is more severe than boiling water shrinkage. During this test, the thread is subjected to 350°F for 30 minutes with a weight attached equal to one gram per Tex Size.

Signature® Plus: An A&E® thread product of trilobal polyester. Used in topstitching denim products. Registered trademark of A&E.

Signature® Thread: An A&E® brand of high quality sewing thread. Both divisions in A&E® offer products under the Signature® brand:
The Industrial Division offers a tri-lobal polyester thread used for embroidery applications on all types of products from knit shirts to ball caps. (The Signature® thread comes in three sizes for most industrial embroidery applications. Also see Signature Plus™).The Consumer Division offers a variety of threads for consumer use in embroidery, quilting (hand and machine), garment, and home decorating and craft products (see Consumer Products). Registered trademark of A&E.

Singles Equivalent Size: Refers to the yarn size divided by the number of ply. (Example: 40/2 yarn has a 20 equivalent size, 60/3 yarn has a 20 equivalent size.)

Singles Yarn: Refers to the individual yarn that is spun prior to twisting. Most threads are formed by taking two or more singles yarns and twisting them together.

Skipped Stitches: Refers to malformed stitches that are caused when a stitch-forming device misses its appropriate loop. On chainstitch and overedge machines, skipped stitches can unravel allowing the seam to fail.

Slack Twist: Refers to a yarn imperfection where insufficient twist is applied to the thread so it has very poor ply security.

Slubs: Refers to yarn imperfections found in spun or corespun threads that resemble cocoons. They are caused by fibers in the air getting caught into the yarn as it is being spun.

SN Metallic™: A&E’ brand name for a metallic thread. SN Metallic threads are used for machine quilting, embroidery, and decorative applications. (See Signature® Specialty Threads.)

Soft Finish: Refers to thread that receives no further processing to change its general physical characteristics. It is dyed to the proper shade and wound with a thread lubricant on a cone. (See Thread Finishing.)

Spectrophotometer: A color-testing instrument used to measure the reflectance of light as a function of wave length. A&E® currently uses the Datacolor system for shade matching and shade approval.

Spinneret: A showerhead looking device used in the melt-spinning process for making polyester or nylon that helps determine the size of the filaments.

Spinning: The process used to produce singles yarns where staple fibers are drafted down to their final size and twisted together. Most singles yarns are applied in the “S” direction. (See Thread Construction.)

Spreader: Refers to a stitch formation device used in overedge, coverstitch, blindstitch, and buttonsewing machines. Spreaders carry another thread to a position so it can be entered by another stitch forming device. Except for coverstitch machines, a spreader does not have its own source of thread.

Spun Kool®: Refers to a spun polyester thread with a flame-retardant finish specifically designed for sewing Children’s Sleepwear. For a Textured Polyester thread with the FR Finish, see Tex Kool®.

Spun Thread Construction: Thread made from cotton or polyester staple fibers that are spun into single yarns and then two or more of these yarns are plied to make a sewing thread. Spun threads have a fibrous surface giving them a soft hand and good lubricity characteristics. Spun threads are used in everything from women’s intimate apparel to heavy leather gloves. These threads will pull apart if the twist is backed out of the thread. See Perma Spun®, Anecot®, Anecot Plus®.
Spun Polyester: Refers to a thermoplastic thread made from staple polyester fibers, which are spun into singles yarns and then plied into a thread. A&E’s brand name is Perma Spun®. (See Thread Construction.)

Solarane®: Refers to a PTFE monocord thread used for outdoor application that require excellent UV and chemical and mildew resistance.

Statimat: A stress-strain testing machine used to evaluate the strength, elongation, modulus and tenacity of a thread.

Staple: Small fibers approximately 1-1/2 inches in length with crimp in them used to spin yarn or sewing thread. When twisted together, the crimp locks the fibers together increasing the strength of the thread. We spin the following staple fibers into sewing threads: CS & CP Cotton, Polyester, Lyocell®, Kevlar®, and Nomex®. Spun threads have the following characteristics: 1. Fibrous or fuzzy surface contributing to a soft hand, low sheen and good lubricity characteristics; 2. Lower tenacity than continuous filament constructions; and, 3. Produce lower cost thread constructions. (See Fiber Science.)

Static Electricity: Refers to an electrical charge, which may affect synthetic thread during sewing. An Anti-stat is usually added to the thread lubricant to minimize the effect of static.

Stitches Per Inch: Refers to the number of the stitches made in one inch of seam, starting at a needle penetration and measuring the lengths of thread between needle penetrations.

Stitching: According to Federal Spec 751a entitled “Stitches, Seams & Stitchings”, a stitching consists of a series of stitches used to decorative stitch or hem a single ply of fabric. (Download English .PDF Version of Stitch Types.)

Stitch Balance: Refers to the balancing the sewing machine tension systems so that a proper stitch is formed. Generally, it is desirable to balance the stitch with minimum sewing machine thread tension. A 301 lockstitch is properly balanced when the same amount of needle thread as bobbin thread is consumed in the seam and the two threads are interlocked in the center of the seam being sewn. A 401 chainstitch is properly balanced when the needle thread from the previous needle penetration will lay over almost half way to the next needle penetration. This should be checked by unraveling the looper thread on the bottom of the seam and observing the stitch formation. A 504 three thread overedge seam is properly balanced when the needle thread is pulled up tight on the underside of the seam to minimize seam grinning and the looper threads or “purl” meets on the edge of the seam.

Stretch Polyester: See Textured Thread Construction or Wildcat Plus®.

Stretch Nylon: See Textured Thread Construction or Best Stretch®.

Sublimation: A term relating to the loss or migration of color due to heat. Certain dyes when exposed to high heat will change from a solid to a gas and then redeposit somewhere else.

Synthetic Fibers: Are made from various chemicals or regenerated from cellulose such as wood pulp and cotton waste. Examples are polyester and nylon, which are synthesized from petro-chemicals and then melt-spun into either continuous filment or staple fibers. (See Fiber Science.)


Tenacity: A term relating to the strength per size of a thread and is generally measured in grams per denier. The following fibers are ranked according to their tenacity from strongest to weakest: Kevlar® Nylon, Polyester, Nomex®, Lyocell®, Rayon, CS Cotton, CP Cotton. Threads made from continuous filament fibers are stronger and have a higher tenacity than threads made from staple fibers.

Tencel®: A registered trademark of Courtaulds Fibres Ltd. for a cellulosic fiber that exhibits a very soft hand and good drape characteristics. Tencel® fiber, which is used for sewing thread, is called Lyocell®. A&E’s brand name is Endurance™. For more information, see:

Teryl B™: A very fine (T-14) polyester monocord thread designed specifically for blindstitch operations on tailored garments. The thread comes is various colors that are ideal for the Career and Tailored Clothing manufacturers.

Tex Kool®: Refers to a textured polyester thread with a flame-retardant finish specifically designed for sewing Children’s Sleepwear. For a Spun Polyester thread with the FR Finish, see Spun Kool®.

Tex Size: Refers to a ticket size of sewing thread that is based on the gram weight of 1000 meters of greige (undyed) thread. Tex sizes are bracketed or rounded off to a smaller size. (Example: a Tex 42 thread would be labeled a Tex 40 thread.) The Tex size is 1/9 the denier size. To convert singles equivalent yarn size to Tex Size, divide 590.6 by the singles equivalent size. (See Worldwide Thread Size Comparison.) General Guide for Thread Size Selection:
Light Weight T-18, T-21, T-24, T-30 Shirts, Blouses, Dresses, Tops, Tee Shirts
Med. Weight T-30, T-35, T-40, T-45 Pants, Chinos, Slacks, Jackets, etc.
Heavy Weight T-60, T-70, T-80, T-105, T-120 Jeans, Hvy. Jackets, Coats, etc.

Textured Thread Construction: Refers to threads that have been textured to entangle the parallel continuous filaments. The textured filaments are then twisted slightly and wound on dye tubes for dyeing. After the thread is dyed, it is then wound on cones with a low friction thread lubricant. Textured or “fluff” threads provide excellent seam overedge when used on overedge or coverstitch seams. Textured sewing threads are NOT recommended for sewing on 301 lockstitch machines. A&E® brand threads are:
Textured Polyester – Wildcat Plus®
Textured Nylon – Best Stretch®

Thread Breakage: Usually refers to when the thread fails during sewing and can be caused by a number of factors. (See Technical Bulletin, Minimizing Thread Breakage.)

Thread Size: Many different thread size systems are used in the world for sewing threads. Generally, the thread size refers to the diameter or thickness of the thread. A&E® uses the Tex Size universally for all of its thread products. Other thread ticket size systems used include the Cotton Count System (60/3), the Metric System (120’s), the Denier System (100d X 3) and the Silk System used for both Silk and Mercerized Cotton threads (000/3). Larger thread sizes are generally used on heavier fabrics. They are usually stronger and provide greater seam strength. Heavier sizes are more expensive and will cause more bobbin changes on lockstitch machines. (See World Wide Thread Size Comparison.)

Threaducation®: Refers to a series of workshops on thread. See Technical Information.

Torque: When twist is applied to thread, torque is created. These torque forces are balanced by using opposite twist in the singles and ply twist. Heat setting the thread during dyeing or autoclaving will also minimize the torque forces in the thread. Excessive torque can cause the thread to “french-knot” or kink excessively.

TQM: Total Quality Management. A comprehensive collection of commitments focused on the needs and desires of Customers. A&E’s TQM commitments include: 1. Commitment to Customer requirements; 2. Commitment to Continuous Process Improvement; 3. Commitment to Total Employee Involvement; and, 4. Commitment to Measurement and Feedback. The inputs to the

TQM Process include: Training; TQM Culture & Language; Quality Infrastructure; TQM Analytical Tools; Recognition & Rewards; and, Partnerships with both Customers & Vendors.

Trevira®: Hoechst/Celanese®’s brand name for polyester.

Twist: In thread construction, twist refers to the number of turns around the axis. The direction of the twist can be an “S” or “Z” direction. Most of our sewing threads are ply twisted with a “left” or “Z” twist. Generally, sewing threads are made with a “Z” twist because most sewing machine stitch forming devices enter the needle loop from the right-hand side and this reduces the unplying of the thread during sewing.

Twist Balance: The absence of torque in sewing thread. See torque.

Twist Per Inch (TPI): Refers to the turns per inch used to spin the singles yarn and ply twist. Usually the twist is determined by a twist multiple. Constructing a thread with the right amount of singles and ply twist enhances sewability and seam appearance.

Twisted Multifilament Thread Construction: Thread made from continuous filaments of polyester or nylon that are twisted together into a cohesive bundle and then plied to make the thread. See Anefil Nylon® or Anefil Polyester®.

Two Needle Coverstitch Hem: Refers to a 406 stitch – 2 needle bottom coverstitch turned down hem used on knit goods. Common needle spacings include 1/4?, 3/16? and 1/8?. A wide needle spacing provides greater seam elasticity.

Tyvek®: Registered trademark of DuPont™. Refers to a brand of durable sheet products of polyethylene fibers.


Ultraviolet Light (UV) Resistance: Refers to the light rays that can affect the durability and color fastness of a thread. Sometimes an UV inhibitor is used to reduce the amount of harmful rays absorbed by the thread. Some fibers react differently if they are exposed under glass versus direct sunlight. Solution dyed polyester has superior UV resistance compared to vat dyed polyester.


Variegated: Generally, refers to thread that is dyed in multiple colors in sequence so that the thread will uniformly change colors (from two to six different colors) every three to seven inches. This thread is used for decorative stitching or embroidery applications. For Industrial thread, we offer variegated thread that can be special ordered in Signature®, Perma Spun®, and Perma Core®. For Consumer thread, we offer variegated thread in Signature® Mercerized Cotton, Machine Quilting Thread.

Vat Dyes: A class of dyestuffs generally used for cotton threads with a high degree of fastness to light and washing. (See Thread Dyeing.)

Vectran™: A trademark of Kuraray, a fiber manufacturing company. Vectran™ is a high-performance multifilament yarn spun from liquid crystal polymer. See Technical Textiles.


Washfastness: The ability to resist color change after laundering.

Weatherometer: A testing machine used to expose thread to accelerated weathering conditions and measure its affect on color fastness, strength and other physical characteristics.

Webbing: Heavily woven fabric used for handles on various items such as luggage, backpacks, and briefcases.

Wicking: Refers to a problem with moisture passing through the thread by capillary action. Many manufacturers are using CW Core or 100% Cotton to minimize wicking because the cotton swells when it is wet and fills the seam. Sometimes a special anti-wicking finish is applied to the thread to minimize wicking; however, this finish also can have an adverse affect on the frictional characteristic of the thread.

Wildcat Plus®: A&E’s brand name for textured polyester sewing threads generally wound with high performance lubes to optimize sewing performance when seaming knit goods and serging operations on woven apparel. Registered trademark of A&E.

Wooly Nylon: Generally, refers to a textured sewing thread like Wildcat Plus® or Best Stretch® that is sewn on overedge and coverstitch operations. Textured sewing threads provide excellent seam coverage and seam elasticity when sewing knits.

Wovens: Refers to fabrics that are formed with warp and filling yarns which are interwoven together to form the fabric. Wovens generally have a tighter more rigid construction than knits and are susceptible to seam puckering. The length of the fabric is referred to as the “warp”, the width is referred to as the “fill”, and any angle across the fabric is referred to as the “bias”. On most woven fabrics, the “warp” direction of the fabric has the least amount of stretch. (See Thread Application Guide, Wovens.)


Yarn Imperfections: Refers to yarn defects that usually either cause thick or thin places in the thread that can cause sewing problems. Some of these yarn imperfections include: knots, slubs, neps, dropped ply, dropped filament, singles kinks, etc.

Yarn Size: Yarn size is equal to the equivalent size times the number of ply (20/1 equivalent size = 40/2 or 60/3 yarn size). The cotton count system is used on most spun and corespun sewing threads. This is an indirect numbering system where the larger the number, the smaller the size. (45/2 is finer than a 28/2 yarn size).

Yield: Refers to the yards per pound, which is computed by multiplying the equivalent size times 840 yards. (28/2 yarn size = 14 singles equivalent; 14 singles equivalent X 840 = 11,760 yds/lb. – therefore, approximately two 6,000 yd cones can be wound from one pound of 28/2 yarn.) Yield is important when thread is sold by the pound rather than by a fixed yardage. The higher the yield, the lower the thread cost per yard.

YKK® Zippers: Zippers manufactured by YKK and distributed by A&E® for consumer use. (Registered trademark of YKK. Other registered trademarks include YKK Beulon®, YKK Fastrak®, YKK Vislon®, and YKK Ziplon®.)


Zig-Zag Effect: Refers to the factors that effect the elasticity of a seam. On a zig-zag stitched seam, the factors that have the greatest effect on the seam elasticity include: 1. The width of the zig or zag; 2. The stitches per inch; 3. The stitch balance; and, 4. The elasticity of the thread being used. The zig-zag effect also applies to overedge and coverstitched seams, as well.


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