Glendon

Rule Of Thumb For Thread Length?

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone. I am getting started in sewing leather, and sewing in general. I have a basic question that I just can't seem to find an answer to. Simply put, with a given length that needs to be sewn, how much thread do I need. There has to be a simple rule that you can use to put in the length to be sewn, stitches per inch, and maybe a rough thread size and get a good estimate of thread needed. But no one seems to have this information online. How do you figure this out please?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A minimum of 2.5 times the linear length to be sewn, maybe more. Thread is cheap, use some extra and cut it off. If you DO run short, leave yourself at least 6 inches of thread for back stitching, and start with another piece. If you're going to be sewing a LONG way, like a belt, it's probably better to use pieces of thread no longer than 3 feet. This is because the needle ends of the thread end up going through every hole on the way to the end, and that many passages through the stitch holes will leave the thread looking ratty. It's really simple to tie in more thread and keep it fresh looking....a whole lot simpler than pulling the stitches back out because they're ugly...then adding fresh thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have scene mentioned on here and use it as a rule of thumb for my hand sewing is to use a length from your outstretched hands across your chest. No longer. As twinoaks mentioned about the wearing out, also it makes it a ton easier to handle at this length or shorter. For shorter runs or smaller projects you kind of learn how to getstimate the right length that will be atleast long enough with a little extra.

Sorry I dont know the proper equation for figuring out the length. Never really needed to do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone. I am getting started in sewing leather, and sewing in general. I have a basic question that I just can't seem to find an answer to. Simply put, with a given length that needs to be sewn, how much thread do I need. There has to be a simple rule that you can use to put in the length to be sewn, stitches per inch, and maybe a rough thread size and get a good estimate of thread needed. But no one seems to have this information online. How do you figure this out please?

It really depends on what lace or stitch style you are doing. For instance, I think it is the double loop stitch that uses 8 or 8-1/2 times the length of the area to be laced but the saddle stitch may only need 1.5 times. Tandy has this book for about $3 right now, and others that indicate how much lace and thread to use.

Lacing & Stitching For Leathercraft Book Item #61906-00

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At 6 stitches per inch through two layers of 8oz, I have found 4x the length to be sewn to be about right to still leave me a decent length to work with towards the end. any less and the last several stitches start to get short on the thread. Bear in mind I only do holsters so I have never done anything needing a length of thread longer than my outstretched arms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much everyone. Not as clear cut as I was hoping for, but still very helpful. This should get me on the right track until I can get a feel for my own stitching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get a copy of Stohlmans, "The Art of Hand Sewing Leather". It has all kinds of great info. Once you've been through it you'll realize that it's not a problem to add more thread as you need to. Use the length of thread that is comfortable to sew. You can always add more or re-use thread that is left over. The book recommends about 8 feet, but that is a bit long for me and I tend to get it tangled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was hand sewing, I would outline the stitch line with my thread, then add about 3 inches. Then double it, twice. So I would end up with 4x the length of the stitch line, plus 12 inches. This worked fine for saddle stitching holsters. I never had a piece longer than my arms spread side to side, and always had about a foot of thread left when finished stitching. This method is very easy to do without a measuring tape or anything that fancy. Just pull it off the spool and trace the stitch line with the thread, add 3 inches, bend the thread over and pull off more until it is double, then do it again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I "measure" the stitch length with the thread. What I do after that depends on the thickness of the leather I'm working with.

Double thickness of 8/9 oz - 4X

Double thickness of 6/7 oz - 3.5X

4/5 oz + 2/3 oz - 3X

I generally end up with a little extra, but I prefer that to coming up short.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

excellent thread. i've found that i'm averaging about 4x the length of the project as stated a couple of times here.

if you use too long of a thread at once, it gets a bit too hard to handle - along with it getting ratty looking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In case someone is still looking for the answer, I wrote this Android application to calculate the thread length based on the project thickness, seam length and number of stitches per inch. You can use it in inches and oz or switch to millimeters: 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=saddle.stitch.thread.length.calculator

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now