Thread Measurement Explained

Thread Measurement Explained

Crafting Time:
  • Varies
Skill Level:
  • Beginner
Project Courtesy of: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

Additional Information

Weight measurement, designated as “wt”, uses a fixed weight system. The “weight” of the thread is actually a length measurement, determined by measuring the length of 1 gram of thread. The higher the weight number, the lighter the thread. For example, a thread labeled 60 wt. means that 60 meters of the thread weigh 1 gram. A 40 wt thread only takes 40 meters to weigh 1 gram, so it is heavier. This may seem confusing, but just remember: smaller weight number, heavier thread.

Denier measures weight in grams of of fixed length of 9000 meters of thread. For instance,  if 9000 meters of thread weights 150 grams, it is called a 150-denier thread, or simply 150d. This is the opposite of the weight measurement method, so remember: bigger denier number = heavier thread.

Tex is the most widely used method of thread measurement. It uses a fixed length of 1000 meters of thread to determine weight. For example, if 1000 meters of thread weighs 20 grams, it is called tex 20. Tex is similar to denier, but will have smaller numbers. Just like denier, larger numbers mean heavier threads.

Commercial Sizes:
These are used for heavy-duty sewing, such as webbing or upholstery. They have set sizes of 30, 46, 69, 92, 138, 207, 277, 346, 415, and 554. These measurements are derived by dividing the thread’s denier by 10.